Oocytes (or eggs) provide the majority of cellular building blocks required by embryos. Oocyte quality is therefore integral for a healthy pregnancy but the quality declines with ageing. With women embarking on pregnancy later and later in life, poor oocyte quality has become the biggest stumbling block for pregnancy success. In spite of the importance of oocytes, surprisingly little is known about “what makes a good egg”. 

Professor Homer’s lab is the first lab in Queensland with extensive expertise in studying oocytes, made possible by the Professor Christopher Chen Chair in Reproductive Medicine. 

Furthermore, at present, there are no available approaches for improving oocyte quality in the clinic. 

Professor Homer’s lab is one of only a handful of labs in the world applying state-of-the-art techniques including high-resolution imaging to study oocytes and embryos. The work seeks to develop novel technologies for reversing poor oocyte quality. The lab is also investigating innovative approaches for protecting oocytes from the damaging effects of chemotherapy during cancer treatment. This research has major implications for the success and safety of assisted reproductive treatments and for fertility preservation in women.