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ICS-3 Group Seminar:
Microfluidics and micro-swimmers for the life science: challenges in clinical and industrial applications

Prof. Dr. Verónica I. Marconi, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina

12 Jun 2018 10:30
12 Jun 2018 11:30
Seminarraum A1-3, Building 04.6, Entrance E1


Microfluidics is starting to contribute significantly in life science:  biology [Hol et. al. Science2014], genetic, medicine, neuroscience. Indeed it has already addressed   potentials applications in human reproductive medicine [Nosrati et al, Nature Review 2017]. In particular, we have contributed to reach non-invasive sperm micro-rectifiers [Guidobaldi et. al. PRE2014] and fertility analysis improvements for clinical applications [Guidobaldi et. al. Biomicrofluidics 2015].  In this talk I will present recent experiments and modelling of human sperm cells under ultra-confinement as a key step to achieve efficient labs on a chip for human assisted reproductive technologies (ART). The ultra flat devices depth is h=25um <  flagellum  beating amplitude.  Our aim is to contribute with the advantages of miniaturization and high-throughput analysis to the design of low-cost and efficient micro-devices, since this a social relevant problem at present when 70% of the couples should repeat the ART for a successful pregnancy.

To achieve our goals, one key was to make predictions using very simple but real models, thanks to using only “measured motility parameters”. But several bumps appeared in the road.  Biologist in general use small amount of cells´ tracks to extract those values, using free softs as ImageJ or paid soft as Cell Track.  And our interdisciplinary approach from statistics and physics aims to improve the data analysis: analysing larger data amounts and with a reliable automatic extraction of parameters.  This task is very hard having many Tera data of coordinates. In addition we have detected many errors on several softs widely used. These points are increasingly becoming a major concern for labs across Life Science.  The time, cost and complexity of data management have overtaken the cost and speed of data generation. All those points pose significant challenges for scientists which job is to make sense of it all.

In order to contribute to those problems we have developed a new tracking modular algorithm, which is better than 14 softs compared in (Chenouardet. al., Nature Methods, 2014) and is better for our particular goal on obtaining reliable motility parameters of large micro-swimmers´ populations (Sanchez et al, 2016 and Reyes Master Thesis 2017). But still there are many open issues regarding the motility close to surfaces to be discussed in this talk. In addition we have applied our ideas to other micro-swimmers already in the market, used in the sustainable agriculture industry (Quelas et al, Sci.Rep. 2016, S. Montagna Master Thesis 2018).


Prof. Dr. Gerhard Naegele
Phone: +49 2461 61-2504
Fax: +49 2461 61-2280
email: g.naegele@fz-juelich.de