Given that one in six couples face infertility, often caused by female factors, women’s reproductive health is a significant medical and socio-economical challenge. Herein, while addressing this issue, the Estonian research on female reproductive health and medicine has rapidly developed with the lead of University of Tartu (UT). Nevertheless, the UT’s capacity and expertise still falls short of the leading institutions. At the same time, also the most competitive research groups face significant barriers to perform world-class science due to substantial networking gaps that still exist between previously non-linked research teams. TWINNING funding scheme is designed to overcome these aforementioned shortcomings. Thus UT has formed a WIDENLIFE consortium with its world-renowned partners: University of Oxford and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and altogether we have set two ambitious objectives to address. Firstly, for the UT: to become one of the leading research and teaching centres for reproductive and fetal medicine in Eastern and Northern Europe. Secondly, for all members of consortia: to intensify trilateral synergies between the research groups in the areas of female reproductive health and medicine. Our specific goals are to highlight the associations between female metabolic health and infertility, provide deeper understating for embryonal development, and offer new tools for infertility treatment and prenatal diagnostics. In order to resolve these objectives, exchange of know-how, ideas and information between the partners will be enhanced, creating the novel clinically valuable information through pooling the expertise and synergy of resources, interests and commitments by universities from Estonia, UK and Belgium. This could also mean a significant contribution to the scientific capacity of the Estonian research community as well as the health technology industry, which is one of the main focus areas for Estonian Smart Specialisation Strategy.

Recent Submissions

  • The genetic architecture of sporadic and multiple consecutive miscarriage 

    Laisk, Triin; Soares, Ana Luiza G.; Lindgren, Cecilia M.; Ferreira, Teresa; Painter, Jodie N.; Censin, Jenny C.; Laber, Samantha; Bacelis, Jonas; Chen, Chia-Yen; Lepamets, Maarja; Lawlor, Deborah A.; Mägi, Reedik; Medland, Sarah E.; Granne, Ingrid; Walters, Robin G.; Nielsen, Rasmus; Neale, Benjamin M.; Martin, Nicholas G.; Li, Liming; Jacobsson, Bo; Conrad, Donald F.; Chen, Zhengming; Werge, Thomas; Zondervan, Krina; Snieder, Harold; Salumets, Andres; Seminara, Stephanie; Lippincott, Margaret; Nyholt, Dale R.; Nordentoft, Merete; Njølstad, Pål R.; Mortensen, Preben B.; Mors, Ole; Morris, Andrew P.; Montgomery, Grant W.; Metspalu, Andres; Lind, Penelope A.; Kukushkina, Viktorija; Kartsonaki, Christiana; Juodakis, Julius; Johansson, Stefan; Jin, Xin; Hougaard, David M.; Helgeland, Øyvind; Bybjerg-Grauholm, Jonas; Gordon, Scott D.; Børglum, Anders D.; Becker, Christian M.; Yang, Ling; Andersen, Marianne S.; Southcombe, Jennifer; Ramu, Avinash; Millwood, Iona Y.; Liu, Siyang; Lin, Kuang (Nature Communications, 2020-11-25)
    Miscarriage is a common, complex trait affecting ~15% of clinically confirmed pregnancies. Here we present the results of large-scale genetic association analyses with 69,054 cases from five different ancestries for sporadic ...
  • Understanding the mechanisms of endometrial receptivity through integration of ‘omics’ data layers 

    Kukuškina, Viktorija (2020-05-28)
    Maailma Terviseorganisatsiooni statistika väidab, et umbes 10% püsisuhetes olevatest naistest on ühel või teisel põhjusel viljatud. Naise viljakust mõjutab välja palju erinevaid faktoreid ning setõttu on viljatuse põhjuste ...
  • Utilising FGF2, IGF2 and FSH in serum-free protocol for long-term in vitro cultivation of primary human granulosa cells 

    Hensen, Kati; Pook, Martin; Sikut, Anu; Org, Tõnis; Maimets, Toivo; Salumets, Andres; Kurg, Ants (2020)
    Human granulosa cells acquired as leftover from IVF treatment can be used to study infertility problems and area valuable tool in the research of follicle maturation and ovulation. There is a need for more defined and ...
  • Creating basis for introducing non‐invasive prenatal testing in the Estonian public health setting 

    Žilina, Olga; Rekker, Kadri; Kaplinski, Lauris; Sauk, Martin; Paluoja, Priit; Teder, Hindrek; Ustav, Eva‐Liina; Tõnisson, Neeme; Reimand, Tiia; Ridnõi, Konstantin; Palta, Priit; Vermeesch, Joris Robert; Krjutškov, Kaarel; Kurg, Ants; Salumet, Andres (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2019-11)
    Objective The study aimed to validate a whole‐genome sequencing‐based NIPT laboratory method and our recently developed NIPTmer aneuploidy detection software with the potential to integrate the pipeline into prenatal ...
  • In vitro fertilization does not increase the incidence of de novo copy number alterations in fetal and placental lineages 

    Esteki, Masoud Zamani; Viltrop, Triin; Tšuiko, Olga; Tiirats, Airi; Koel, Mariann; Nõukas, Margit; Žilina, Olga; Teearu, Katre; Marjonen, Heidi; Kahila, Hanna; Meekels, Jeroen; Söderström-Anttila, Viveca; Suikkari, Anne-Maria; Tiitinen, Aila; Mägi, Reedik; Kõks, Sulev; Kaminen-Ahola, Nina; Kurg, Ants; Voet, Thierry; Vermeesch, Joris Robert; Salumets, Andres (Nature Medicine, 2019-11-04)
    Although chromosomal instability (CIN) is a common phenomenon in cleavage-stage embryogenesis following in vitro fertilization (IVF)1,2,3, its rate in naturally conceived human embryos is unknown. CIN leads to mosaic embryos ...
  • A molecular tool for menstrual cycle phase dating of endometrial samples in endometriosis transcriptome studies 

    Saare, Merli; Merli, Triin; Teder, Hindrek; Paluoja, Priit; Palta, Priit; Koel, Mariann; Kirss, Fred; Karro, Helle; Sõritsa, Deniss; Salumets, Andres; Krjutškov, Kaarel; Peters, Maire (2019)
    Transcriptome profiling of 57 endometrial receptivity genes specifies the menstrual cycle phase of endometrial samples.
  • A dual colour FISH method for routine validation of sexed Bos taurus semen 

    Reinsalu, Olavi; Mikelsaar, Ruth; Mikelsaar, Aavo-Valdur; Hallap, Triin; Jaakma, Ülle; Padrik, Peeter; Kavak, Ants; Salumets, Andres; Kurg, Ants (BMC Veterinary Research, 2019)
    Background Usage of sexed semen that allows to choose the gender of the calves, is commonly practiced in livestock industry as a profitable breeding alternative, especially in dairy farming. The flow cytometric cell sorting ...
  • GWAS Identifies Risk Locus for Erectile Dysfunction and Implicates Hypothalamic Neurobiology and Diabetes in Etiology 

    Bovijn, J; Jackson, L; Censin, J; Chen, CY; Laisk, T; Laber, S; Ferreira, T; Pulit, SL; Glastonbury, CA; Smoller, JW; Harrison, JW; Ruth, KS; Beaumont, RN; Jones, SE; Tyrrell, J; Wood, AR; Weedon, MN; Mägi, R; Neale, B; Lindgren, CM; Murray, A; Holmes, MV (2019)
  • Genome-wide haplotyping embryos developing from 0PN and 1PN zygotes increases transferrable embryos in PGT-M. 

    Destouni, Aspasia; Dimitriadou, Eftychia; Masset, Heleen; Debrock, Sophie; Melotte, Cindy; Bogaert, Kris Van Den; Esteki, Masoud Zamani; Ding, Jia; Voet, Thiery; Denayer, Ellen; de Ravel, Thomy; Legius, Eric; Meuleman, Christel; Peeraer, Karen; Vermeesch, Joris R (2018)
    STUDY QUESTION Can genome-wide haplotyping increase success following preimplantation genetic testing for a monogenic disorder (PGT-M) by including zygotes with absence of pronuclei (0PN) or the presence of only one ...
  • TAC-seq: targeted DNA and RNA sequencing for precise biomarker molecule counting 

    Teder, Hindrek; Koel, Mariann; Paluoja, Priit; Jatsenko, Tatjana; Rekker, Kadri; Laisk-Podar, Triin; Kukuškina, Viktorija; Velthut-Meikas, Agne; Fjodorova, Olga; Peters, Maire; Kere, Juha; Salumets, Andres; Palta, Priit; Krjutškov, Kaarel (2018)
    Targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) methods have become essential in medical research and diagnostics. In addition to NGS sensitivity and high-throughput capacity, precise biomolecule counting based on unique molecular ...
  • Large-scale genome-wide meta-analysis of polycystic ovary syndrome suggests shared genetic architecture for different diagnosis criteria 

    Day, Felix; Karaderi, Tugce; Jones, Michelle R; Meun, Cindy; He, Chunyan; Drong, Alex; Kraft, Peter; Lin, Nan; Huang, Hongyan; Broer, Linda; Magi, Reedik; Saxena, Richa; Laisk-Podar, Triin; Urbanek, Margrit; Welt, Corrine K; Lindgren, Cecilia M; Franks, Steve; Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur; Stefansson, Kari; Ong, Ken; Anttila, Verneri; Neale, Benjamin M; Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta; Hayes, Geoffrey M; Thorleifsson, Gudmar; Fernandez-Tajes, Juan; Mahajan, Anubha; Mullin, Benjamin H; Stuckey, Bronwyn G.A; Spector, Timothy D.; Wilson, Scott G; Goodarzi, Mark O; Davis, Lea; Obermeyer-Pietsch, Barbara; Uitterlinden, Andre G; Fauser, Bart; Kowalska, Irina; Visser, Jenny A; Anderson, Marianne; McCarthy, Mark I; Morin-Papunen, Laure; Salumets, Andres; Stener-Victorin, Elisabet; Ehrmann, David; Legro, Richard S; Styrkarsdottir, Unnur; Perry, John; Dunaif, Andrea; Laven, Joop S.E. (2018)
    Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder characterized by hyperandrogenism, ovulatory dysfunction and polycystic ovarian morphology. Affected women frequently have metabolic disturbances including insulin resistance ...
  • Differentially-Expressed miRNAs in Ectopic Stromal Cells Contribute to Endometriosis Development: The Plausible Role of miR-139-5p and miR-375 

    Rekker, Kadri; Tasa, Tõnis; Saare, Merli; Samuel, Külli; Kadastik, Ülle; Karro, Helle; Götte, Martin; Salumets, Andres; Peters, Maire (2018)
    microRNA (miRNA) expression level alterations between endometrial tissue and endometriotic lesions indicate their involvement in endometriosis pathogenesis. However, as both endometrium and endometriotic lesions consist ...
  • A Two-Cohort RNA-seq Study Reveals Changes in Endometrial and Blood miRNome in Fertile and Infertile Women 

    Rekker, Kadri; Altmäe, Signe; Suhorutshenko, Marina; Peters, Maire; Martinez-Blanch, Juan F.; Codoñer, Francisco M.; Vilella, Felipe; Simón, Carlos; Salumets, Andres; Velthut-Meikas, Agne (2018)
    The endometrium undergoes extensive changes to prepare for embryo implantation and microRNAs (miRNAs) have been described as playing a significant role in the regulation of endometrial receptivity. However, there is no ...
  • Endometrial receptivity revisited: endometrial transcriptome adjusted for tissue cellular heterogeneity 

    Suhorutshenko, Marina; Kukushkina, Viktorija; Velthut-Meikas, Agne; Altmäe, Signe; Peters, Maire; Mägi, Reedik; Krjutškov, Kaarel; Koel, Mariann; Codoñer, Francisco M; Martinez-Blanch, Juan Fco; Vilella, Felipe; Simón, Carlos; Salumets, Andres; Laisk, Triin (2018)
    STUDY QUESTION Does cellular composition of the endometrial biopsy affect the gene expression profile of endometrial whole-tissue samples? SUMMARY ANSWER The differences in epithelial and stromal cell proportions in ...
  • rs10732516 polymorphism at the IGF2/H19 locus associates with genotype-specific effects on placental DNA methylation and birth weight of newborns conceived by assisted reproductive technology 

    Marjonen, Heidi; Auvinen, Pauliina; Kahila, Hanna; Tšuiko, Olga; Kõks, Sulev; Tiirats, Airi; Viltrop, Triin; Tuuri, Timo; Söderström-Anttila, Viveca; Suikkari, Anne-Maria; Salumets, Andres; Tiitinen, Aila; Kaminen-Ahola, Nina (2018)
    Background Assisted reproductive technology (ART) has been associated with low birth weight of fresh embryo transfer (FRESH) derived and increased birth weight of frozen embryo transfer (FET)-derived newborns. Owing to ...
  • Aberrant expression of genes associated with stemness and cancer in endometria and endometrioma in a subset of women with endometriosis 

    Ponandai-Srinivasan, Sakthivignesh; Andersson, Karin L; Nister, Monica; Saare, Merli; Hassan, Halima A; Varghese, Suby J; Peters, Maire; Salumets, Andres; Gemzell-Danielsson, Kristina; Lalitkumar, Parameswaran Grace Luther (2018)
    STUDY QUESTION Is there molecular evidence for a link between endometriosis and endometriosis-associated ovarian cancers (EAOC)? STUDY ANSWER We identified aberrant gene expression signatures associated with malignant ...
  • Thinning and drilling laser-assisted hatching in thawed embryo transfer: A randomized controlled trial 

    Le, Minh Tam; Nguyen, Thi Tam An; Nguyen, Thi Thai Thanh; Nguyen, Van Trung; Le, Dinh Duong; Nguyen, Vu Quoc Huy; Cao, Ngoc Thanh; Aints, Alar; Salumets, Andres (2018)
    Objective In frozen and thawed embryos, the zona pellucida (ZP) can be damaged due to hardening. Laser-assisted hatching (LAH) of embryos can increase the pregnancy rate. This study compared thinning and drilling of the ...
  • Genetic profiling could improve IVF success 

    "European Union (EU)" and "Horizon 2020"; Vermeeschm, Joris; Klotz, Frieda (Horizon, The EU Research&Innovation Magazine, 2018-03-29)
  • Ranking and characterization of established BMI and lipid associated loci as candidates for gene-environment interactions 

    Shungin, Dmitry; Deng, Wei Q.; Varga, Tibor V.; Luan, Jian'an; Mihailov, Evelin; Metspalu, Andres; GIANT Consortium; Morris, Andrew P.; Forouhi, Nita G.; Lindgren, Cecilia; Magnusson, Patrik K. E.; Pedersen, Nancy L.; Hallmans, Göran; Chu, Audrey Y.; Justice, Anne E.; Graff, Mariaelisa; Winkler, Thomas W.; Rose, Lynda M.; Langenberg, Claudia; Cupples, L. Adrienne; Kilpeläinen, Tuomas O.; Scott, Robert A.; Mägi, Reedik; Paré, Guillaume; Franks, Paul W.; Ridker, Paul M.; Wareham, Nicholas J.; Ong, Ken K.; Loos, Ruth J. F.; Chasman, Daniel I.; Ingelsson, Erik (2017)
    Phenotypic variance heterogeneity across genotypes at a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) may reflect underlying gene-environment (G×E) or gene-gene interactions. We modeled variance heterogeneity for blood lipids and ...

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