Australian scientist scoops top award for fertility research

Australian scientist scoops top award for fertility research

Welcome news for millions of infertile couples around the world will be the release in 2012 of technology that will contribute to quicker, more efficient and safer (less DNA damage) IVF procedures.

Having successfully completed its first clinical trials and on track for release next year, the CS10 technology is a sperm separating device created by Laureate Professor John Aitken at the University of Newcastle in conjunction with life sciences company NuSep.

Professor Aitken’s significant body of research into reproductive biology, including his work that led to the development of the sperm separator, has also been recognized by the International Congress of Animal Reproduction (ICAR) with the awarding of the €50,000 Simmet Prize.

The award recognises an active research scientist for outstanding basic and applied research in the area of assisted reproduction of animals and is considered the world’s most prestigious prize in this area. ICAR recognised that the research conducted by Professor Aitken and his colleagues in the Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science at the University of Newcastle had provided theoretical underpinnings driving global advances in animal reproduction.

“One of the most pressing challenges for reproductive scientists today is understanding the causes of male infertility and how the qualities of the male and female gamete collude to influence the health and wellbeing of the offspring, regardless of which species we are dealing with, human or animal,” Professor Aitken said.

“My research into the basic biology of spermatozoa, oocytes and the process of fertilization has significantly increased our understanding of infertility in mammals and this knowledge has had great practical value for livestock producers with an interest in assisted conception.”

The CS10 was developed following Professor Aitken’s breakthrough in selecting the best sperm from ejaculate, which makes the process of sperm separation for IVF faster and more efficient.

“I believe the research carried out by our team at the University of Newcastle is of vital global importance, and I am deeply honoured by the recognition from ICAR through the Simmet Prize.”

Established by the Simmet family in memory of Dr. Ludwig Simmet to foster and recognise excellence in assisted reproduction, the Simmet Prize is awarded every four years.

Professor Aitken works in the University’s Faculty of Science and Information Technology and leads a research team of more than 150 people at the University’s Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science.

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