Embryo Transfer at ATARC and DZARC

Today we had a great day of training at both Adami Tulu and Debre Zeyit.  We arrived at Adami Tulu Animal Research Center (ATARC) at 8:30am and went straight to work. We spent time training them how to use the ultrasound. We looked at the ovaries of the cow that we had flushed the day before and saw that she had many non-ovulated follicles, which may explain why we did not get very many embryos from her. We were able to show some great pictures of her ovaries to the group.  The follicles show up as large black circles on the ovary so they are easy to identify, especially when there are so many of them. We returned to the lab and implanted the one fresh embryo into a donor cow, and we also implanted five frozen embryos into very carefully selected recipient heifers.

We traveled to Debre Zeyit this afternoon, snacking on crackers and jerky along the way.  We bought some banana cream cookies and some Maria cookies, both of which had very little flavor. The Ethiopians don’t use a lot of salt or sugar in their cooking, so imagine cookies or crackers without much salt or sugar and that describes it: bland. It got us by.

They were prepared for us at Debre Zeyit Animal Research Center (DZARC) and had the cow in the stall and ready. Since they had been at the training at ATARC earlier, I told them to go ahead and try to do the work on their own. They did really well, only needing help when they ran into a road block in placing the catheter correctly. This can be very difficult, but will come with more practice. I went ahead and finished the flushing, and let Dr. Tamrat go search for embryos under the microscope while I cleaned up. The teams have been very cooperative and excited about learning.  These are the type of people that are going to make a difference in Ethiopia!

We scheduled an early start for tomorrow morning. Shimelis said that all of the hotels in Addis were booked because of a celebration for Gebisa Ejeta, an Ethiopian agronomist who is currently a professor at Purdue University. He developed a drought- and weed-resistant form of the grain sorghum that also yields 5 to 10 times the harvest of traditional sorghum. He won this year's $250,000 World Food Prize. So, instead of driving to Addis, we just stayed the night in Debre Zeyit at the Tomy International Hotel. We had a nice chicken dinner with our usual fruit drink, esprice, to wash it down. 

I am very pleased with the excitement of the staff, and the progress we are making. Now I  just hope that we can start getting technical results that we match with our enthusiasm!