Discovering therapies to prevent inflammatory diseases of the male reproductive tract and infertility

Research area

 |  Inflammation-induced infertility


 |  Inflammation, men's health, infertility, testis, epididymis, immunoregulation, infection, interferons, bacteria, viruses, autoimmunity


 |  PhD/Doctorate, Honours, Masters

Project description

Inflammation in the testis and epididymis can impair male fertility, and epididymal obstruction is a major cause of infertility following infection and inflammation of the male tract. Activin is a cytokine that has both proinflammatory and immunoregulatory functions, but until now, the role of activin in testicular and epididymal inflammation has been very poorly investigated. This project examines activin and its binding protein, follistatin in regulating inflammation and fibrosis caused by infection and autoimmunity in the male tract. These studies will also assess the potential for exogenous follistatin to serve as a therapeutic intervention for these conditions. Futhermore, the unique immune-privileged environment in the testis favours persistent viral infections. Many viruses, including Covid19, can infect the testis. We are using the Zika virus as a model to study what factors increase the susceptibility of the testis to viruses. We are investigating if a novel antiviral protein Interferon epsilon can be used against viruses in the testes.