Dr. Jens Karlsson, Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, was the lead author of a research paper published in Molecular Reproduction and Development and featured on the cover of the April 2009 issue of the journal. The paper, titled “Permeability of the Rhesus Monkey Oocyte Membrane to Water and Common Cryoprotectants,” describes work done in collaboration with scientists at the Medical College of Georgia and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University to measure key biophysical properties of the eggs of rhesus macaque monkeys.
The goal of this research project was to develop techniques for preparation of macaque oocytes for freezing in liquid nitrogen, thus providing a stepping stone toward the successful cryopreservation of eggs from endangered primates. Dr. Karlsson analyzed experimental data that had been collected at the Medical College of Georgia and derived estimates of cell membrane permeability. He then was able to use these values in computer simulations that predicted optimal procedures for infusion of cryoprotectant chemicals into the egg cells. The cover art of the journal shows a “response surface,” a 3D graph that permits visualization of the computer simulation predictions.
Molecular Reproduction and Development is a scientific journal in the area of reproductive and developmental biology, which focuses on fundamental advances made through the convergence of diverse disciplines, including systems biology, computational modeling, nanoscience, organic chemistry, bioengineering, and evolutionary and synthetic biology.
Dr. Karlsson’s research is in the biothermal sciences, with a particular focus on cryobiology and biotransport phenomena. Dr. Karlsson joined Villanova’s College of Engineering in 2008. He previously held faculty positions at the Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Illinois at Chicago. He earned his SB, SM, and PhD degrees at MIT, where he worked with some of the pioneering engineers in the field of cryobiology. Dr. Karlsson is playing an instrumental role in Villanova’s new bioengineering minor.