ART Lab SIG
To view the ART Lab SIG Guidance document pertaining to IVF Labs and the COVID-19 Pandemic, click here.
The ART Scientists Group was formed on September 28, 2002 at the CFAS meeting in Quebec, and an interim committee (Sharon Mortimer, Rod Bycroft and Marie-Claude Léveillé) was appointed to investigate whether the Group would become a CFAS Special Interest Group. At its next meeting on November 8, 2003, the Group voted unanimously to form a SIG. The aim of the ART Lab SIG is to foster consistent improvement in assisted conception outcomes in Canada by promoting the ongoing education of all ART laboratory scientists, and by encouraging practical cooperation between ART Laboratories. Membership Benefits Joining the ART Lab SIG gives you the opportunity to:
- influence the direction of your profession in Canada
- network with other ART lab scientists from across Canada
- stay up to date with issues and events that affect ART lab scientists across Canada and the world
The ART Lab hosts an exam every year in early June, to verify Andrologists and Embryologists are up to CFAS standards. For more information about this exam and the related log book, click here.
Jason Au, BSc, MSc - Chair
Jason Au is the Laboratory Supervisor at PCRM Burnaby. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Chemistry from the University of British Columbia and his Masters in Clinical Embryology from the University of Leeds. Jason has a special interest in embryo morphokinetics and the application of artificial intelligence in the laboratory setting. With a strong focus on research, he is currently pursuing his PhD in Reproductive Clinical Science at Eastern Virginia Medical School. He is an enthusiastic and energetic person who is eager to contribute to CFAS in order to foster and encourage a new generation of embryologists and andrologists.
Siamak Bashar, MLT, MSc, PhD - Secretary
Siamak Bashar currently works as a Senior Embryologist, Researcher, and PGS specialist at the CReATe Fertility Centre in Toronto, Canada since 2006. He graduated with a Master of Science (M.Sc), majoring in Reproductive Immunology and Endocrinology from the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph (2004). Prior to this, he completed the Assisted Reproductive Technology Post Graduate program from The Michener Institute in 2001. Since 2005, he has been a member of the CFAS ART Lab SIG and he was also an Executive member of ART Lab SIG for two years (2014-2016).
Dr. Bashar has tremendous experience performing the following assisted reproductive techniques: retrieval, embryo culture, embryo assessment, embryo transfer, media preparation, embryo and sperm cryopreservation, oocyte, Day 3 and blastocyst vitrification, assisted hatching, ICSI, conventional IVF, TESA, PESA, quality assurance, and quality control. In addition, he is participating in various research projects which focus on Andrology, Embryology and Molecular Biology of reproduction. On top of this, he also trains IVF laboratory staff and medical students. As a Senior Embryologist, he is involved in preparing the laboratory for CFAS certification, Health Canada regulations, quality control and quality assurance implementation.
Pat Chronis-Brown, MSc - SIG Executive Member
Pat Chronis-Brown has been a clinical embryologist since 1997. Prior to that, she worked in andrology, cord blood banking, and as a Research Technician with the Ministry of Environment and with Drs. Armand Keating and John Trachtenberg at Toronto General Hospital conducting prostate cancer research. Pat holds a BSc degree from Ryerson Polytechnical University and a M.Sc. in Clinical Embryology with distinction from the University of Leeds. Pat joined the Reproductive Biology Unit at Toronto General Hospital in 1989, performing phlebotomy and endocrine assays. From 1990 to 1997 she worked as an Andrology Technologist and started her IVF training by freezing embryos in 1993. In 1997 she transferred to the Embryology Lab full-time and has since remained in the field of reproductive technology until present, becoming a Senior Embryologist in 2010 and Laboratory Manager in 2014. She has over 25 years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproductive Technologies and has been instrumental in the development and implementation of new techniques in the lab and the training and mentoring of new trainees. She has received numerous awards and recogntions in oocyte cryopreservation and warming techniques. She has co-authored abstracts that have been presented nationally and internationally, reviewed abstracts, and serves on the Mount Sinai Fertility Ethics and Embryo Donation Committee. Pat is a long-standing member of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS), and was certified as an Embryologist by the CFAS in 2014.
Anam Ovais - SIG Executive Member
Anam Ovais completed her bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (2009 Gold Medalist) from the University of Waterloo (UW), and her Masters’ degree in Clinical Embryology from the University of Oxford in 2011. Ms. Ovais’ Master’s research in the assessment of nano particles as a novel delivery system for gametes furthered her interest in infertility.
Unique opportunities like professional development through the co-op program at UW, and cross-continent exposure to a multitude of areas such as fertility preservation, ethics surrounding ART, scientific critique, as well as exposure to few of the global experts in ART, has not only humbled her, but also fueled her appetite for learning. Ms. Ovais has a special interest in the development of a more holistic program for new lab professionals.
Kayla Perkel - SIG Executive Member
Kayla Perkel is a Clinical Embryologist and Laboratory Director at KARMA Fertility. She has been working in the field of ART since 2012. Prior to this, Kayla was studying her PhD at the University of Guelph, specializing in bovine metabolomics and morphokinetics. Kayla inherently understands that providing the highest standard of patient care begins with quality management, safety, and a research-based approach. Teaching newcomers has been a particularly exciting avenue for Kayla as demand for embryologists grows. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends (physically distanced of course) and exploring the great outdoors.
Christine Yeh - SIG Executive Member
Christine S Yeh is a clinical embryologist who has a diverse and multi-faceted background in fertility and reproductive biology. She is passionate about evidence-based research and integrating laboratory and clinical best practices to provide the best care and experience to patients undergoing IVF.
Her reproductive journey started with a Master’s degree from McGill University where she studied key genetic factors of embryo implantation. Following her thesis work, Christine started working in human assisted reproduction in 2011 as a clinical embryologist and over the course of her career has been on the teams at Procrea Clinique, TCART and TRIO.
Building upon her experiences in embryology, Christine joined Igenomix, a leading genetic testing service provider specialized in fertility and reproductive health. Over the course of her tenure at Igenomix, Christine set up two laboratory sites and was responsible for overseeing Canadian operations, as well as advising physicians across the US and Canada on genetic services, including endometrial receptivity and microbiome testing.
Christine is now the Laboratory Director at Twig Fertility, a member of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS), the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC). A mother to two young kids and a dog, Christine is also an avid backpacking camper and a certified yoga instructor and PADI certified SCUBA diver.