research investigation is focused on developing a microsystem for biological cell manipulation to assist the
procedure in reproduction therapy: Intracytoplastmic
Sperm Injection, (ICSI).
In cases of
severe male factor infertility there is an absence of active spermatozoa in
ejaculate samples that can be used for the ICSI process. However, considerable
success has been achieved using cells harvested directly from the testis via
samples contain a wide variety of structural cells and germ cells. ICSI
techniques require the use of mature germ cells that need to be sorted from
other cellular debris.
project has applied semiconductor microfabrication
manufacturing techniques to develop advanced micro-scale tools for automatically
collecting the useful cells. This will reduce the skill and time required to
locate, identify and prepare the germ cells for the ICSI
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provided a more repeatable procedure for assisted fertilisation therapy in cases of male factor infertility.
Much research has been conducted on the quality of the germ cells used and how
their treatment impacts on the result of the fertilisation process. However, there is a need to improve
the technologies for germ cell preparation.
exploitation of fluid interfacial properties on a micro-scale, it is possible to
induce spontaneous fluid imbibitions into complex capillary structures without
the use of external pumping mechanisms. Using such a method, micro-fluidic
sample processing can be achieved on a single micro-fabricated chip with
structures of the same order of magnitude as the cells suspended within the
Micro-fabrication tools and techniques
facilitate the rapid mass product of micron scale features in bulk silicon,
which when oxidized is biologically inert. Applying this to the cell separation
array returns an inexpensive device that is disposable, biocompatible and has
the advantage of requiring no extra equipment besides that found in a standard
reproduction therapy clinic.
is intended to rapidly increase the density of cell types in specific areas of
the chip thereby increasing the probability of locating the desired cell types
more quickly and with fewer processing stages than conventional centrifugation