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Spermatozoa navigation in complex environments

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The project will undertake research on mammalian spermatozoa motility in a complex microfluidic environment. One of the major puzzles in biology is how mammalian sperm navigates its way through the complex environment female reproductive tract. The journey of the sperm cells takes thousands of their body length, while the question of which cues guide spermatozoa on towards the egg remains open. The suggested mechanisms range from peristaltic pumping and response to fluid flow (rheotaxis) to navigation in temperature (thermotaxis), viscosity (viscotaxis) and chemical (chemotaxis) gradients, however little is known about them. Another aspect is spermatozoa interaction with a complex surface topography of the fertility tract (surfotaxis).

Recent advances in the theoretical and experimental study of micro-swimmer motility and flagella dynamics, provide the approach and methods to tackle the spermatozoa navigation problem in-vitro. The availability of microfluidic technologies, advanced optical microscopy, high-speed imaging, and image processing tools now allow a quantitative study of this problem. For instance, characterisation of spermatozoa interaction with convex surfaces has led to the development of technology for the conditioning of samples to improve IVF procedures.

This technology is the foundation for our spin-out company Cytoswim Ltd (co-funding body). Cytoswim ltd. is now heavily involved in further improving the methods for efficient separation of motile spermatozoa, and this project will combine fundamental biophysics research into spermatozoa navigation with the R&D goals of Cytoswim ltd.

For further information please contact Dr. V. Kantsler at .

Funding Notes

A full 3.5 year studentship for UK or exceptional EU students (fees and maintenance) is available. Candidates should hold or expect to hold a high 2.1 or 1st (or equivalent) in Physics or related subject area (including Applied Mathematics and Biology). See View Website for further details.

The Physics department is proud to be an IOP Juno Champion and a winner of an Athena Swan Silver Award, reflecting our commitment to equal opportunity and to fostering an environment in which all can excel.

How good is research at University of Warwick in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 54.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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