3.5M euros for research into embryonic implantation

How does the embryo implant into the uterus? 11 researchers, including reNEW Leiden PI Susana Chuva de Sousa Lopes, receive a MSCA Doctoral Networks Grant worth 3.5M euros to investigate this understudied and poorly understood process. New knowledge obtained in the study will lead to an improved understanding of reproductive biology and help innovations in infertility treatment.

Implantation of the embryo into the uterus is one of the first steps required for a successful pregnancy and a major contributor to lost pregnancies. Up to two-thirds of pregnancies end prematurely as a result of unsuccessful implantation.

“For ethical and practical reasons, studying this crucial process in humans and animal models has thus far been challenging,” says Prof. Susana Chuva de Sousa Lopes. IMPLANTEU, as the international community is called, will now aim to obtain new knowledge om embryo implantation. For this, they will develop a molecular blueprint of human implantation in health and disease. In addition, an advanced toolkit for implantation research will be developed in the research. Chuva de Sousa Lopes: “Our expertise in stem cell biology and models of embryonic development will contribute to reaching these goals and facilitate the study of embryo implantation in the future.”

Interdiscliplinary team & broad impact
IMPLANTEU will train 13 doctoral candidates in 11 research institutes. Together, they bring expertise in multiple areas of research related to reproducibility.  Results from this interdisciplinary network will thus not only benefit healthcare and its goals reach beyond the human situation. Chuva de Sousa Lopes: “The knowledge we will obtain in IMPLANTEU is not only crucial for the development of novel human infertility treatments, but is for instance also essential to improve implantation in livestock. This could have huge impact on the efficiency, profitability and environmental sustainability of the food industry. The financial support from MSCA Doctoral Networks will therefore help to make an impact on a large variety of topics related to reproduction.”