Dr Dagan Wells

BRC Scientific Leadership Fellow
Wells Group
Molecular genetic processes underlying gametogenesis and preimplantation development

Group Members

  • Dr Elpida Fragouli, Laboratory Director, Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Maria Encisco, Visiting Post-doctoral Scientist
  • Dr Souraya Jaroudi, Molecular Diagnostic Specialist
  • Mr Samer Alfarawati, D Phil Student & Research Technician
  • Mr Jonas Sara, PGD specialist
  • Mr Maurizio Poli, D Phil student
  • Mr Michalis Konstantinidis, D Phil student
  • Ms Lorna MacLeod, D Phil student
  • Ms Katharina Spath MSc, D Phil student
Contact address Institute of Reproductive Sciences, Oxford Business Park, North Park, Cowley, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 2HW, United Kingdom
Department Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Dr Dagan Wells

Dr Dagan Wells

Dr Wells’ current research programme is focused on increasing understanding of the molecular genetic processes underlying gametogenesis and preimplantation development. His laboratory has a strong translational emphasis and is actively involved in the development of new PGD methods that are more comprehensive and more reliable than those in current use. Dr Wells’ research also aims to create novel techniques for improving the success rates of IVF treatment.

Sources of Funding

  • NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Programme 2008-
  • Grant for Fertility Innovation (Merck Serono) 2010- 2013
  • Oxford Gene Technology 2008- 2011
  • Gema Diagnostics 2008- 2011

Biography

Dagan Wells has been involved in preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and the study of human gametes and embryos for almost two decades. He began his career at the University College London, where he supervised molecular diagnostics at the UCL Centre for PGD. During his time in London, Dr Wells was responsible for the first application of whole genome amplification to human embryonic cells and was involved in the first PGD case for a cancer predisposition syndrome. He was also responsible for developing the first method for reliably screening the entire chromosome complement in embryos and oocytes.

In 2000 Dr Wells moved to the United States and joined Reprogenetics LLC, one of the largest providers of PGD services in the USA. Shortly after his arrival he initiated Reprogenetics’ highly successful single gene PGD program, which has grown exponentially since its inception.

In 2003, Dr Wells’ moved to Yale University, where he spent four years as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. While at Yale Dr Wells and his group began clinical trials of comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), a comprehensive chromosome screening method, aimed at revealing which of the embryos produced during an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment cycle has the greatest potential for producing a child. The clinical application of this approach has been associated with some of the highest IVF pregnancy rates ever recorded and, in the form of microarray-CGH, is now widely practiced worldwide.

Dr Wells’ relocated to the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Oxford at the end of 2007 and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists the following year. The current focus of his research team is increasing understanding of the molecular genetic processes underlying gametogenesis and preimplantation development. The group has attracted funding from multiple private enterprises and public bodies, including the National Institutes of Health (USA) and Medical Research Council (UK). Additionally, their work has been recognized with the award of many prizes, including the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) General Program Prize, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Basic Science Prize and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) Prize.

Dr Wells research work has been noted for its novelty and has frequently produced advances that have been translated from the research lab into clinical practice. The research has led to the publication of more than 100 peer-review papers and book chapters and has generated a great deal of media interest, frequently receiving coverage in print, online and broadcast media. Dr Wells has a keen interest in the promotion of science and medical education and has assisted on the faculties or organizing committees of many congresses and conferences around the World. He currently serves on the Editorial Boards of several international medical journals, including Molecular Human Reproduction, Reproductive Biomedicine Online and Prenatal Diagnosis.

Biopsy of cells from a blastocyst stage embryo