Betty White

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Linda Penfold gave a SEZARC update presentation to patron Ms. Betty White.

Betty White will be sponsoring our new post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Shiho Sumigama, who started this month, and will donate funds allowing the purchase of an ultrasound to conduct critical exams in multiple species, such as white rhinos, elephants, and stingrays.

Dr. Shiho Sumigama's research has focused on the cryopreservation of semen and specifically on understanding sperm capacitation and the acrosome reaction in the rhesus macaque. Specific methods of semen preservation can be effective in conserving genetic resources of non-human primates in laboratory settings and for the preservation of endangered species. A clearer understanding of the cellular events leading up to the fertilization of an oocyte (sperm capacitation and acrosome reaction), and the required physical and chemical changes involved, informs our understanding of all mammalian species. Dr. Sumigama's studies have also provided more understanding on sperm survival post-thaw and the fertilization process in non-human sperm.

Having just completed a PhD program at the University of California, Davis, Dr. Sumigama is undertaking post doctoral studies in the reproduction of endangered species at Michigan State University in the Agnew-Mackenzie One Health laboratory, followed by additional work at the St. Louis Zoo and a two-year program involving sperm preservation at White Oak Holdings in Yulee, FL, with the goal to become a specialist in reproductive physiology, clinical reproduction, and reproductive pathology in endangered species.