Microfluidics tools for sperm selection and diagnostics

Year of award: 2017


  • Dr Vasily Kantsler

    University of Warwick

Project summary

We will aim to improve male fertility assessment and assisted reproductive technology (ART) by developing novel microfluidic methods of selecting motile sperm. Research into spermatozoa boundary-following navigation by spermatozoa and migration against an external flow and along ratcheted boundaries will enable us to design efficient methods of sperm selection. We will also integrate additional stages of eliminating premature and apoptotic sperm, and develop microfluidic platforms and protocols to analyse motility of human sperm in correlation with the chromatin integrity in-situ via an on-chip integrated chromatin structure assay.

We will design methods that use the swimming behaviour of spermatozoa to sort them in accordance with chromatin integrity, which is associated with the probability of successful conception. The chromatin integrity assay based on a microfluidic chip will also serve as an easy-to-use tool to assess male fertility.

These results will form the basis of the next stage of our research on mechanisms and physiology of sperm visco- and thermotaxis.