Universiteit Leiden

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PhD defence

Decoding the molecular makeup of the human ovary through single-cell transcriptomics

  • X. Fan
Thursday 14 September 2023
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof.dr. M.C. de Ruiter
  • Prof.dr. S.M. Chuva de Sousa Lopes


The human ovary is responsible for producing eggs and steroid hormones necessary for reproduction. Ovarian factors, such as anovulation, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and decreased egg quality, can lead to female infertility. Although advances have been made in assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and fertility preservation approaches, there is still a demand for new treatments and approaches for ovarian diseases and female infertility. The main obstacle to developing effective approaches is the lack of knowledge about the human ovary, especially the cellular development and molecular basis of oogenesis and folliculogenesis processes. The advances in single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) techniques have opened up opportunities for studying the transcriptomes of human ovarian cells, decoding cell types and sub-populations, and identifying signature genes during oogenesis and folliculogenesis. In my research, we utilized the scRNA-seq technique to provide valuable transcriptomic datasets of human ovarian cells, contributing to the establishment of the molecular landscape of human oogenesis and folliculogenesis. We identified cellular populations and key cellular features of the human adult ovary. This work provides a foundation for studying the development of germ cells and ovarian follicles, as well as investigating ovarian diseases and infertility on a cellular basis. Moreover, our transcriptome datasets of human ovarian cells serve as a valuable resource for investigating the molecular regulation of oogenesis and folliculogenesis, which could lead to the development of innovative interventions and assisting approaches for improving female reproductive health.

PhD dissertations

Approximately one week after the defence, PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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