Biology of Reproduction (Ferraz)

Department / Institute
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Subject area
Biology of Reproduction
Project title
Creating a testis-on-a-chip to investigate the effects of microplastics on male fertility
Name of supervisor
Prof. Dr. Marcia Ferraz
Number of open positions
1
Language requirements
Proficiency in English
Academic requirements
4-year Bachelor's plus Master's Degree; at the time of application, the last final exam should have taken place during the past 4 years.
Project time plan
Full Doctoral Study Model: 36 or 48 months

Project description

Reproduction is central to the capacity for species to maintain stable, healthy populations. Simply, if life can not reproduce, it will cease to exist. Over the past several decades, there has been a shift towards a “throw-away society” that is characterised by the excessive consumption of short-lived and single-use products, and a concomitant accumulation of environmental pollution and toxicants. Over this same timespan, there has been an alarming increase in the rates of reproductive dysfunctions and gamete abnormalities, reductions in gamete production, and altered embryo development in humans, animals and plants. This poor reproductive health not only reduces individual fecundity but, if widespread, species survival. While humans have introduced numerous pollutants that can impair reproductive systems, the potential impacts of microplastics (MPs) are of particular concern. Emerging studies are showing that MPs represent a potentially serious threat to the reproductive health of terrestrial species. Our lab has recently discovered the presence of MPs in seminal plasma and follicular fluid, and that MPs impact both female and male gametes in vitro. To better understand the impact of MPs on male fertility, this project will combine bio-printing with microfluidics to develop an in vitro testis-on-a-chip model to study the effects of different microplastics particles on spermatogenesis and sperm function. Please contact Prof. Ferraz for more information.

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