× Entry passes are now required to visit the Zoo. Please review the new COVID-19 safety policies and exhibit closures before booking your trip.

Share this page:

Marcia de Almeida Monteiro Melo Ferraz, Ph.D., D.V.M.

Postdoctoral Fellow
D.V.M., University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; M.S., Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain; Ph.D., Utrecht University, Netherlands

Marcia Ferraz is a postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institutes' Center for Species Survival. Ferraz joined SCBI in 2017, and her research focus is to use organs-on-a-chip to study reproductive biology of domestic and wild carnivores. Her current focus is to create a canid and felid oviduct and ovary in vitro, to better understand mechanisms related to oocyte maturation, sperm capacitation and embryo development in these species. Her main emphasis with this research is to develop novel tools to improve assisted reproductive technologies, and create models for rescuing valuable genetics from wild canids and felids.

Ferraz's projects include:

  • Developing female reproductive tract-on-a-chip for domestic and wild carnivores to understand mechanisms related to oocyte maturation and sperm capacitation
  • Investigating oviduct factors that can be useful for nonsurgical sterilization
Ferraz earned her D.V.M. at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2010 and her master’s in animal breeding and reproductive technologies at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, in 2013. During her Ph.D, at Utrecht University (Netherlands), Ferraz's focused on becoming an expert on 3-D reproductive organs-on-a-chip to advance the knowledge of reproductive biology. She was the first to develop a microfluidics oviduct-on-a-chip, using the cow as a model. Ferraz is also an active member of the International Embryo Technology Society (and has been governor of their trainee group for 3 years), a member of the Domestic Animal Biomedical Embryology IETS subcommittee and a member of the Society for the Study of Reproduction.
At a young age, Ferraz became curious about reproduction after learning that a test-tube baby was born in her town. This curiosity, coupled with her passion for veterinary sciences, drove her to get her D.V.M., always focusing on animal reproduction. Her fascination for traveling and learning new cultures, directed her to perform research in different institutions: Royal Veterinary College, U.K.; Mississippi State University, U.S.; Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain and Utrecht University, Netherlands. This research experience made her an expert in female reproductive tract organs-on-a-chip, knowledge that she is excited to use at SCBI to improve the preservation of carnivores at risk of extinction.
Recent Publications: 
Ferraz, M.A.M.M.; Henning, H.H.W.; Costa, P.F.; Malda, J.; Vos, P.L.A.M., Stout, T.A.E.; Gadella, B.M.. 2017. Improved bovine embryo production in an oviduct-on-a-chip system: Prevention of poly-spermic fertilization and parthenogenic activation. Lab on a Chip: 17, 905 – 916.
Ferraz, M.A.M.M.; Henning, H.H.W.; Stout, T.A.E.; Vos, P.L.A.M., Gadella, B.M. 2016. 3-dimensional in vitro oviduct culture designing for studying mammalian fertilization and producing embryos. Ann Biomed Eng. doi:10.1007/s10439-016-1760-x.
Ferraz, M.A.M.M.; Morató, R.; Yeste, M.; Arcarons, N.; Pena, A.I.; Tamargo, C.; Hidalgo, C.O.; Muiño, R.; Mogas, T. 2014. Evaluation of sperm subpopulation structure in relation to in vitro sperm-oocyte interaction of frozen-thawed semen from Holstein bulls. Theriogenology, v. 81, p. 1067-1072.