Mike Levanduski received his Master of Science degree from the University of Idaho in 1987, where he studied embryology and IVF.
Subsequently, he was a key research scientist in research and development for Granada Biosciences, Inc., one of the premier biotech companies of that era. His work there embodied a broad range of IVF research in a variety of species, as well as the development of complex nuclear transfer (cloning) procedures.
Mr Levanduski first performed intracytoplasmic sperm injevtion (ICSI) and embryo biopsy (PGD) on research animals in 1985, years before this technique was even considered for use on humans.
With over three decades of embryology experience, Mr. Levanduski provides the expertise and skills required to maintain the highest possible standards in our IVF laboratory. Mike also consults for other IVF labs worldwide to insure high standards and quality assurance.
He was certified by the American Board of Bioanalysis in 1997 and is a longstanding member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the New York Embryology Society.
Additionally, Mr. Levanduski has invented and authored a key stem cell technology, which is patent pending. Recently he has published a series of research articles in conjunction with famed embryologist Dr. Karl Illmensee with the objective of splitting embryos to purposefully produce identical twin embryos in order to improve pregnancy rates in specific patient populations.
Mike speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese.
Behind the Scenes in the Embryology Laboratory with Mike Levanduski
One of our bloggers shadowed embryologist Mike Levanduski for the morning, She is certain that he has one of the most awesome jobs on the planet. How else can you describe the act of creating embryos?
The IVF process is a roller coaster from start to finish. After weeks of preparation, medications and ultrasounds, egg retrieval finally arrives. Dr. Blotner skillfully retrieves every egg he can. The patient wakes up drugged and slightly confused, but always with the question, “How many eggs did you get Dr. Blotner?” After retrieval, the process is out of the patients control and the waiting game begins. Mike the embryologist is now in control. He looks at all of the retrieved eggs and determines which ones are mature and have the best chance at fertilizing. He checks out the sperm under a high powered microscope and figures out which sperm look the healthiest and have the best chance at fertilizing the egg. He then injects the sperm into the egg. Mike single handedly picks the genetic building blocks of each IVF patient’s future offspring and has been doing this work for over 20 years.
Mike grew up always being interested in science and medicine. He was fortunate enough to find a mentor in college who encouraged his study of biological reproduction. His college mentor also connected him with his next mentor at the University of Idaho, who was doing incredible research and work with embryology. Mike went on to get his Masters at the University of Idaho and spent his time there immersing himself in this field and participating in every research project and study he could get his hands on to learn all aspects of embryology and IVF. His diverse and vast knowledge that he acquired in his Master’s Program gained him at job at a prestigious genetics company where he worked for many years pioneering the field of genetics and reproduction in animals.
Mike eventually traded his job in the research side of embryology to work directly with couples struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss. He has found this work quite rewarding, particularly in continuing to apply new technologies to help patients. For example, for more than 15 years he has utilized embryo biopsy and preimplantation genetic diagnostics to help patients achieve pregnancies while avoiding debilitating hereditary diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, Progeria and Hemophilia. Through IVF and PGD, Mike continues to help many couples have healthy children. He also helps many patients who have to undergo cancer treatments freeze their eggs to preserve their fertility for future use.
It seems what excites Mike the most is new technology and new tools to help patients have healthy embryos and successful pregnancies. Westchester Fertility just acquired a brand new advanced laser that is changing the way he works with embryos. With this new laser, Mike does not have to use chemicals to burn a hole in the embryo when performing techniques like assisted hatching. This technique is much easier on the embryo. With the advanced laser system, he is now able do biopsies on a day 5 or 6 blastocyst, which gives our patients additional treatment options.
Mike admits that the job has its’ ups and downs and he wishes that he could help every single patient. He divulges that some of the newer procedures he is doing with infertility patients, he was actually doing in animals decades ago! He hopes that as science and society evolve, more cutting edge techniques will be available to patients. He stresses the more tools a clinic can offer a fertility patient, the better shot they will have at a successful pregnancy.
During egg retrieval and transfer weeks, you can find Mike Levanduski on the first floor of Westchester Fertility, listening to music as he is handling your embryos with care!