Graduate Student Researcher, Texas Tech University
With Lubbock so well situated in cattle and horse country, Sossi Iacovides hopes her TED Talk on cryopreservation and her live demonstration of a new hands-on technique for use with horses will draw an interested audience.
Iacovides said she jumped at the opportunity to speak at TEDxTexasTechUniversity because it would benefit not only her area of research interest by so many other areas of science as well. She is a graduate student researcher at Texas Tech involved in the development of a new technique for cryopreservation of equine semen that may mean big changes for the breeding industry.
The multi-faceted device was adapted from use in cattle for use in horses because the two species represent the largest demand for semen freezing in the industry. In addition, the cattle and horse industries are in full swing in the area around Tech.
“It facilitates a new technology that provides the option of freezing onsite at a reduced cost,” Iacovides said of the machine, explaining that current methods are extremely expensive.
“This would be much more field-relevant,” she said of the Tech method, adding it does not require an electrical source or large chemical tanks.
Her group is testing the post-thaw motility and morphology counts – that is the viability – of the frozen semen to compare it with that provided by current methods.
“If it is comparable with electric freezing, if it is competitive, then we will have the wherewithal to change the industry or at least greatly impact it,” she said.
Iacovides hopes her audience will enjoy the live demonstration during her TED Talk and gets a chance to see how much more hands-on the entire process could be. For herself, she is looking to use her audience reaction as a benchmark to see how interested the local community is in the technology, knowing there is a wider interest in it nationally.