John Garrisi Ph.D.

Dr. Garrisi is Director of the Embryology Laboratory and Director of Andrology Services. At the Institute since 1995, Dr. Garrisi derives enormous satisfaction from a scientific career at IRMS that allows him to directly contribute to the treatment of thousands of IVF patients.

Image of embryology laboratory director, Dr. Garrisi and a member of his team at work in the lab.
It’s a fairly unique job in the sciences. I am a scientist with a number of opportunities to perform research to advance our understanding of critical processes that occur in the early embryo, and at the same time am in a position to make a very real difference in the lives of our patients with the ability to deliver the highest level of embryologic care.

An accomplished and experienced embryology laboratory director, Dr. Garrisi was responsible for oversight of laboratory services in the early years of the IVF program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in the 1980’s, when it was the largest infertility clinic in the New York area. During his 8-year tenure as Director there, Dr. Garrisi was part of the team that first successfully applied the techniques of micromanipulation to assist fertilization in humans. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a technique that has led to successful IVF for human couples diagnosed with male factor infertility, was later derived from this work.

A well-known figure in the field of reproductive science, Dr. Garrisi has published numerous scientific and medical research papers, and has lectured extensively within the United States and abroad. During a career that has spanned more than three decades and several eras in the history of IVF, Dr. Garrisi has also had the opportunity to develop and mentor a couple of generations of embryologists, a critical function in a field where the highest level of accomplishment is still attained via an extensive period of apprenticeship.

His areas of interest include cryopreservation (freezing) of oocytes and embryos, oocyte biology and ICSI, and the effect of genetics on preimplantation embryonic development. Dr. Garrisi notes that his work, while highly technical, also involves a unique aspect of human contact:

I focus on the needs of the embryos, and on what they are expressing in their own, each on their own unique way. Every egg or embryo is different, and each is treated very much as an individual.

Dr. Garrisi holds a Masters degree in Biology from Boston College and a PH.D in Developmental Genetics from Cornell University Medical College.

He explains that his position has enabled him to enjoy rewards unique to the field of Reproductive Medicine:

The ability to help people have families, to share in the joy of the parents and especially the delight of the children that result from our work, that is a gratification that most scientists never experience.