Skip to main content

Epigenetic Risk Assesment of Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ERAofART (Epigenetic Risk Assesment of Assisted Reproductive Technologies)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-12-31

This TWINNING project aims at strengthening the consortium capacity in Epigenetic Risk Assessment of Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ERAofART). We propose to create link between IGHZ PAN, having long-standing experience in experimental embryology in mouse with UNI WUE, leader in epigenetic assessment of ART derived gametes/embryos, with UNITE, having long-standing expertise in ART and UJ, having long-standing expertise in human genetics.
The project contributes to increase current knowledge on ART effects with significant impact on Society and Science.
• Science – Notwithstanding difficulties encountered at the beginning of the project, the mitigation strategy defined during review meeting in Bruxelles has allowed to reach all planned objectives. In 2017, Prof. Ptak moved to work at UJ where she established the Developmental Biology Laboratory. Researchers from IGHZ PAN (dr Federica Zacchini, mgr Simona Bisogno, mgr Roberta Arena, mgr Monika Fluks) as well as other Polish institutions (dr Michal Bochenek, National Research Institute of Animal Production, Balice) decided to join Prof. Ptak’s team at UJ. ERAofART team activity includes studies on long term effect of ART, preparation of national and international projects (list available in full report), dissemination in form of articles and conference proceeding, trainings to increase scientific potentials of young researchers (i.e. twinning visits, workshops, conferences).
• Society – outcome of the project 1) increases awareness about potential risk associated with the use of ART (i.e. through leaflet, conferences, publication, social media, meetings with SMEs and politicians) and 2) lay the basis for ongoing debate on regulation of ART in Poland (please see
The activities carried out included:
• Two international conferences organized first, in Teramo (Italy) by UNITE and second, in Cracow (Poland) by UJ
• Three workshops (2 at UNITE and 1 at UJ) and the joint UJ-UNIWUE summer school provided to the involved junior scientists new sets of knowledge and skills
• Participation to 14 international and national conferences and/or workshops.
• Twinning exchange visits of 9 researchers from IGHZ PAN and UJ. A total of 4 ESRs were hosted at UNIWUE and 5 ESRs at UNITE.
• Dissemination of results in form of full papers and conference proceedings. In total 13 papers were published in the second reporting period.
• One focused meeting for SMEs and brokerage event organized by UJ.
The above mentioned activities allowed 1) to increase scientific potential of researchers working under the supervision of Prof. Ptak (project coordinator) in term of knowledge and skills to assess epigenetic risk of ART, preparation of project applications, dissemination of results for both scientific and general audience; 2) to create new scientific cooperation and 3) to increase awareness concerning potential risk associated with ART within general public, SMEs and politicians. Of relevance, the ERAofART conference organized in Cracow has contributed to lay the basis for ongoing debates on ART issues.
During second reporting period four new projects from IGHZ PAN submitted to international and national calls related to the topics covered by the Twinning exercise were funded (H2020 – 1 project, Polish National Science Centre – 3 projects).
• Prof Ptak – Coordinator of the project established the “Developmental Biology Laboratory” at Malopolskie Centrum Biotechnologii of Jagiellonian University (beneficiary 4) and has created the research team studying the influence of ART on life-long health status of the offspring. In 2018, Prof Ptak team at UJ have applied for 8 research grants from international funds (Marie-Curie Fellowship, bilateral German-Poland grant “Beethoven Life”, bilateral Italy-Poland project “CANALETTO”) and national funds. 4 research grants to Polish National Science Center and 1 project for infrastructure to Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Currently 2 projects (PRELUDIUM to Roberta Arena, PhD student; MSCA-individual fellowship to dr Federica Zacchini) have been already funded, 2 projects were not funded and 4 projects are under evaluation. In addition, 4 projects are under preparation (MSCA-RISE - European Union, ETIUDA - Polish National Science Centre, LIDER –National Centre for Research and Development, DIALOG - Ministry of Science and Higher Education).
Scientific Impact
Thanks to the implementation of ERAofART project, involved scientists acquire new skills and know-how to asses safety and risk of ART, increased their scientific potential (e.g. increased number of publications, funded grants and joint projects/activities with international research institution, signature of cooperation agreement with SMEs) and their visibility in the widening country and at international level.
Socio-Economic Impact
Project coordinator has been involved in several activities with high socio-economic impact related to research, improvement of current regulations for research and Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Poland.
For her outstanding involvement several organizational activities, Prof. Ptak has been awarded by the Minister of Science and Higher Education (Poland) with: Individual 1st Grade Award for Organizational Achievements.
During the project duration until now Prof Ptak has been nominated:
• 2016-2017 Member of the National Congress of Science ( Prof. Ptak was involved in the preparation of the new law regulation called “Constitution for Science and Higher Education” (entered into force on 1-10-2018).;
• 2019 Member of Advisory Board for the monitoring and surveillance of the application of the new law regulations for Science and Higher Education in Poland: “Constitution for Science and Higher Education”
• 2016-2020 Member of the Council of the National Centre for Research and Development ( main polish funding agency
• 2018-2020 Member of the Steering Committee “Biostrateg” - strategic program for biosciences, established by National Centre for Research and Development
• 2017- 2026 Member of n 5 ministerial committees for evaluation and monitoring of scientific research, PhD programmes in applied research, scientific journals evaluations, quality teaching and tutoring ect.
• 2019 Invited expert on current discussion on the new regulation for Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Poland. Meetings covers scientific aspects of ART and ethical issues
• 2019 Expert of Foundation for Polish Science ( founded by European Union
Logo of the ERAofART Project