Spermatozoa navigation in complex environments

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

Overview:
Artificial reproduction technologies have been utilized to overcome fertility problems. There are, however, many bottlenecks regarding the use and handling of many of these techniques specifically regarding sperm configuration and sorting before the IVF cycles (Samuel et al., 2018). Advancements in microfluidic technologies and biochemical assays allow for faster sperm selection based on motility and morphology. With the use of microscopy and live imaging, new techniques can be developed to assess and select candidate spermatozoa (Segerink et al., 2012). Furthermore, the incorporation of microfluidics allows for less sample handling mimicking a more natural selection environment, arguably improving the fertilization rates (Vaughan and Sakkas, 2019).

Hypothesis and Aims:
The objective of this project is to utilize microchannel based devices for sperm selection based on motility and other potential parameters such as morphology, chemotaxis, rheotaxis and thermotaxis. Furthermore, possible molecular variants within different spermatozoa and their biochemical behavior will be assessed to find the correlation of the selected gamete and their genetic profile.
It is hypothesized that the spermatozoa are influenced by many factors both genetic and environmental. Many of these are bypassed by techniques that can potentially play a negative role in the future development. With the use of microfluidics there is the possibility on naturally selecting the best candidate spermatozoa without the use of density gradient or swim up which are selection techniques purely based on motility.
The aim of this project is the development of microfluidic sperm sorting devices that can assist Artificial Reproductive Technologies giving higher fertilization rates while maintaining the integrity of the spermatozoa.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513374/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2454125 Studentship EP/R513374/1 07/10/2019 06/04/2023 Elerstefan Katundi