Elodie Pillet- Michelland PhD Biochemistry - Molecular and Cell Biology

Course and current status

- Two-year diploma from a university institute of technology in bioengineering, Lyon, France
- College of higher education at VetAgro Sup equivalent to Master professional (agriculture, multidisciplinary, animal science), Clermont Ferrand, France
- Master research in animal physiology, pathology at Agrocampus Ouest, Rennes, France
- PhD in Biochemistry - Molecular and Cell Biology at INRA, in partership with IMV-Technologies, the industrial leader in reproductive biotechnologies, (CIFRE grant) Tours, France
→ Development of INRA-Freeze®, a new freezing extender for equine semen Patent (PCT/FR2008/001822)
- Project manager at UNCEIA (Union Nationale des Coopératives d'Elevage et d'Insémination Animale), Chateauvillain, France
→ In charge of 5 projects on bovine embryo technology : mobilization of the different stakeholders, data managment, statistical analysis, return of deliverables to partners
- Co-creator of GENIMAL Biotechnologies, a start-up that carries out DNA sexing and detection of diseases in birds, using molecular biology tools, Biol, France
→ Development of a web site (www.genimal.com), of a mySQL database, of a commercial activity

Scientific summary

Milk and egg yolk are classical components of freezing extenders. However their use is empirical. The aim was 1) to develop an extender to freeze stallion  semen, ready to use and of optimized composition; 2) to acquire knowledge in gametes’ cryobiology.
The cryoprotective ability of an extender based on native phosphocaseinate (purified from milk) supplemented with phospholipids (purified from egg yolk) and glycerol was studied both in vitro and in vivo. Post-thaw quality parameters of spermatozoa  were analysed by imaging analyses, spectrofluorimetry and flow cytometry. Focus was placed on membrane integrity and phospholipids liposomes were a strong tool to study the interactions between cryoprotectants and cells.

Chemically defined extenders are also an important issue in embryo technology. At UNCEIA I work on maturation and culture systems for bovine oocytes and embryos. The projects I am in charge of can also deal with maternal-embryo exchanges at implantation, cryobiology, or hormonal assays for example.

As a co-creator of a start-up that carries on DNA sexing and diseases detection in birds, I also practise DNA extraction techniques, PCR (nested, multiplex, touchdown) electrophoresis and other biology molecular tools.

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