Dr Michael Bertoldo
After completing his PhD in 2010 at the University of Sydney on oocyte developmental competence in pigs, Dr Bertoldo completed two post-doctoral positions in France at the French National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA). Here he established an ovarian tissue culture system to better understand primordial follicle activation and preantral follicle development. This work showed the JNK and BMP signalling pathways to be interesting targets for manipulation to improve culture conditions of ovarian tissue for fertility preservation. During his second postdoctoral tenure in France he worked on genetic knockout mouse models to assess the role of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) during gametogenesis. He found that AMPK has some previously unobserved roles during sperm and oocyte maturation and that deletion of AMPK in both males and females causes subfertility. These results could provide a mechanism by which metabolic disturbances reduce fertility in mammals. Now a Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Women’s & Children’s Health, UNSW, Dr Bertoldo is developing novel fertility preservation technologies for cancer survivors and investigating means to enhance oocyte developmental competence by manipulating NAD+ metabolism.