Unique pump in sperm cells makes a difficult journey possible

In his PhD work, Michael Jakob Voldsgaard Clausen made a detailed study of a molecular pump that is essential for sperm cells and is not found in other types of cells.

2012.05.01 | Lisbeth Heilesen

Michael Jakob Voldsgaard Clausen

The job of a sperm cell is to carry genetic information from a male to a female. In order to carry out this project, the cell has to travel from the testicle to the ovary, where both the pH value and salt concentrations are drastically altered. His results show that this pump is specific to sperm cells and is adapted to be able to maintain stable activity in conditions in which there are changes to the salt concentrations and the membrane potential of the cell. In time, it is possible that his results could be used in developing a birth control pill for men.

The PhD degree was completed at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark; the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University, USA; and the Department of Physiology, University of Montreal, Canada.

Michael Clausen defended his doctoral on 23 April 2012. PhD supervisors: Professor Poul Nissen and Postdoctoral Research Associate Hanne Poulsen.

Listen to the interview with Michael Clausen on Radio24syv (in Danish) about his results.

(The interview starts 45.22 min. into the broadcast).

More information

Michael Jakob Voldsgaard Clausen
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Denmark
mjc@mb.au.dk - +45 6130 6486

Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics