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Dr. Leticia Vivani
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Dr. Leticia Vivani Receives Zemjanis Grant from

Theriogenology Foundation

Dr.  Leticia Vivani visited the United States for a six-month period from September 2011 to March 2012 to participate in research projects as a visiting scientist/veterinarian in the Theriogenology Section within the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Texas A&M University.  Dr. Vivani is a veterinarian from Argentina, and she received her Veterinary Degree from La Plata National University in 2001. In 2010, she completed a Master-of-Science degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she has been working with Drs. Visconti, Fissore and Gradil on the regulation of capacitation in stallion sperm. Data obtained during her program at Amherst was presented at the 2010 International Symposium on Equine Reproduction which was held in Lexington, Kentucky.

While at Texas A&M University, Dr. Vivani worked directly with Dr. Dickson Varner and other faculty members within the Theriogenology Section. She conducted collaborative research on stallion sperm capacitation. Dr. Vivani described her experience, "Our goal was to continue trying to better understand the molecular regulation of sperm capacitation in order to develop the best suitable conditions to attain this process in vitro. Our long term goal has always been to apply this knowledge in reproductive biotechnologies that are increasingly being used within the equine industry. During my visit I was able to improve the use of the techniques that I had learned during my Master program while studying biochemical markers of stallion sperm capacitation. I am extremely thankful to the leaders and staff of all the laboratories within the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University.   They always kindly opened the doors when I needed advice. I was always amazed by the willingness to help from everyone at Texas A&M University.”

Data obtained by Dr. Vivani during her stay as a visiting researcher was accepted for oral presentation at the 6th International Symposium of Stallion Reproduction in Vienna, Austria, in 2012. The abstract of this presentation was published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science under the title of "Effect of atmospheric conditions on protein tyrosine phosphorylation in stallion sperm”.

In addition to her experience within the laboratory research environment, Dr. Vivani had the opportunity to observe and discuss clinical reproductive cases with faculty members such as Drs. Dickson Varner, Charles Love, Steven Brinsko, and Terry Blanchard, and also with other graduate students and residents within the Department. She also had the chance to observe procedures being performed at the Equine Embryo Laboratory which is directed by Dr. Katrin Hinrichs at Texas A&M University. She was able to learn about techniques such as transvaginal and transcutaneous follicular aspiration of oocytes. She expressed her gratitude, "It has been such an honor to interact with those experts whom for me are the most knowledgeable specialists in the field of equine reproduction in the world.  From the moment I arrived at Dr. Varner’s Lab I was amazed not only by how much I learned every single day, but also by how much I enjoyed working with  a wonderful group of people, not just on a professional, but also on a personal level, which is most important to me.  As a result, I expressed my desire with Dr. Varner to continue working with him and he invited me to pursue a PhD degree.”

Dr. Vivani began her PhD program within the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University in May 2012.  She concluded saying, "I will continue conducting research under Dr Varner’s supervision on stallion sperm physiology, mainly focusing in the molecular aspects. This area has always been my strongest passion and there are still so many things that we do not know and need to be studied. I also intend to prepare for the board examination of the American College of Theriogenologists. Through this report, I want to express my infinite gratitude to the Theriogenology Foundation for financial support for part of my visit as a visiting researcher at Texas A&M University. Without that support, it would have been almost impossible to do this type of work at this institution. I also had the great opportunity to present my data at the most important meeting on stallion reproduction, which was an unforgettable experience. Furthermore, thanks to this short visit in 2011-2012, now I have the opportunity to enjoy the biggest dream of my life since my graduation as a veterinarian. I have long aspired to study with Dr. Varner and colleagues at Texas A&M University, and now this dream has become reality.” 




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