Tallinn University of Technology

Associate professor Agne Velthut-Meikas from the Reproductive biology research group was invited to Berlin last week in order to present the results of her research collaboration with the EASI-Genomics consortium at the final summit event.

EASI-Genomics was a 4-year-long project (2019-2023) with an aim to increase the access to the competence of modern sequencing infrastructure and data analysis in Europe. During these 4 years 5 funding calls were announced, one of which focussed solely on the COVID-related projects. For the remaining calls there was no pre-requisite for the field of study.

Agne Velthut-Meikas EASI-Genomics konsortsiumi tippkohtumisel
Agne Velthut-Meikas at the EASI-Genomics summit

The Reproductive biology group participated successfully in the first call in 2019 opening the opportunity for collaboration with the core facility Genomics Core Leuven operating in Belgium. In the course of the collaboration, ovarian somatic cell samples collected at the infertility clinic Nova Vita in Estonia were shipped to Leuven for bulk and single cell RNA sequencing. The acquired data was analysed at TalTech. By integrating the RNA sequencing datasets at the tissue and single cell level, it became evident that the ovarian stimulation efficiency correlated with the proportions of certain granulosa and theca cell populations in the ovarian follicle.  As these cells are responsible for steroid hormone synthesis, the results help to explain, why the IVF results remain modest for women with poor response to stimulation as well as understand the aetiology of their infertility.

The researchers presenting their work at the final summit agreed that the collaboration opportunities offered by EASI-Genomics gave a rise to novel experimental and data analysis methods as well as to new knowledge in different health-related research fields.

EASI-Genomics was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824110. More information on the project can be found HERE.

The results of the collaboration between the Reproductive biology research group at TalTech and EASI-Genomics were published in the Frontiers in Endocrinology and are accessible HERE.