Oncofertility Consortium

Ariella Shikanov, PhD

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My name is Ariella Shikanov and I am a biomaterials scientist in the Shea-Woodruff collaboratory for the Oncofertility Consortium. I received my PhD in Medicinal Chemistry, developing a biodegradable polymeric carrier (a synthetic material that is broken down when put in the body and a drug is released as a result) for anti-cancer drugs for local treatment of solid tumors.

The main idea of my graduate research was to generate a high local concentration of the chemotherapeutic agent at the tumor site, while avoiding high systemic concentrations that cause toxicity. Currently I am working in a completely different area, which makes it interesting and challenging at the same time.

My knowledge in biomaterials allows me to develop new three-dimensional systems (using new materials that mimic the 3-D environment in the body versus a flat surface) for ovarian follicle culture and ovarian transplantation to preserve fertility. A matrix (a material, environment or gel) for follicle culture must have mild gelation, support and allow follicle growth. I will be blogging about potential biomaterials that can be used for fertility preservation research.

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