In Memory of Michelle Lane

In Memory of Michelle Lane

On Feb 4th, 2020, one of the world’s bright stars in reproductive biology was taken from us all too soon. After fighting a brave battle with illness, we lost Michelle Lane. She was just 49.

Michelle’s career spanned 29 years and her contributions to our field can only be described as Herculean. Her basic research helped to lay the foundations of modern embryology, while her clinical translation helped millions of couples worldwide achieve their dream of having a family.

On a personal note, I had known Michelle since she was a 20-year-old undergraduate, who undertook a project on the effects of embryo group size in culture, which culminated in her first paper (Lane and Gardner 1992). Michelle went on to do her PhD under my supervision, and then on to work with Barry Bavister in 1996. In her 3 years with Barry she generated the data for 13 papers on the hamster embryo, which reflects her incredible work ethic and ability to generate data, especially as the hamster is a notoriously difficult species to work with! Our working paths crossed one more time as she joined my team in Denver at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, where she was the first in the world to successfully vitrify the human blastocyst using a technology she had pioneered, the Cryoloop (Lane et al., 1999).

Michelle returned to Australia to set up her own laboratory in Adelaide in 2003. During her time there she continued her work on embryo physiology and established models of obesity and its effects on reproduction. In turn she trained many of her own graduate students. In terms of clinical work, Michelle contributed enormously to the success of the Repromed IVF program in Adelaide. In recognition of her academic excellence, she was appointed to the level of Professor by the University of Adelaide.

It’s hard to convey the magnitude and influence of her works, but looking at the vast number of publications and citations is a good means of assessing her impact (Michelle Lane Google Scholar). Without doubt, her excellent scientific contributed significantly to increases in human IVF pregnancy rates.

She will be greatly missed.

David K. Gardner

 

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