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


Dear Friends and Colleagues

I am delighted to announce that the next Alpha Conference will be held in the beautiful city of Seville, Spain, on April 23rd to 26th, 2020.

As always, we have worked hard to put together an innovative and interactive program, which covers many facets of human IVF. The program is designed to be engaging, and to promote interaction and much discussion around the hottest topics in our field.

We have invited scientific leaders from around the world to bring together their collective expertise, and we also encourage you to submit your own work for presentation during the meeting at our evening poster event, where we can gather to discuss new innovations.

For those of you who have experienced an Alpha Conference before, you know that you will have an exceptional few days with us, and will enjoy the collegiality associated with Alpha events. For those of you who have not attended one of our meetings before, please consider joining us is Spain for what promises to be a most enjoyable and highly educational experience!

On behalf of the Executive and Organising Committees, we look forward to meeting you in Seville next April!


David Gardner
President of Alpha


Sharon Mortimer
Vice President of Alpha


John D Biggers, PhD, DSc Professor Emeritus, Harvard Medical School died peacefully on Saturday, April 7th, 2018 at Brookhaven in Lexington, Massachusetts, USA.

The Vienna Consensus Report

In association with ESHRE Special Interest Group Embryology, Alpha Scientists in Reproductive Medicine conducted an international workshop in Vienna in September 2016, designed to establish consensus on definitions and recommended values for ART Laboratory Performance Indicators. The report of this meeting is now published in Reproductive Biomedicine Online, presenting 19 Indicators, including 12 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), 5 Performance Indicators (PIs), and 2 Reference Indicators (RIs).

You can download the full publication by clicking the link below:

The Vienna consensus: report of an expert meeting on the development of ART laboratory performance indicators

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