Ted Chauvin working in lab

Sperm Maturation and Function

Spermatozoa are produced in the testis but do not have the ability to swim or fertilize an egg until they have transited the epididymis. The process by which sperm gain these functions in the epididymis is called sperm maturation. Failure of successful sperm maturation is a cause of male infertility. On the other hand, an understanding of the maturation process at the molecular level may lead to the development of male contraceptive interventions that have little to no systemic side effects. Ted Chauvin, PhD, is focused on understanding the molecular changes that give rise to functionally mature sperm. It is known that the maturation process is accompanied by dramatic changes in the composition of sperm phospholipids. Chauvin’s lab has conducted a deep analysis of the mouse sperm proteome and determined that sperm harbor the necessary enzymes for phospholipid synthesis and membrane maintenance. His work is focused on understanding how these changes occur and how they are regulated to improve outcomes for infertile patients and possibly identify targets for contraceptive intervention.