Professors Robert Flowers (Chemistry)
and Barry Bean (Biological Sciences)
Barry Bean, Ph.D.
Robert Flowers, Ph.D.
Commonly used spermicides like nonoxynol-9 have some undesirable side effects and detrimental consequences for some infectious processes. As a result, improved and alternative spermicides are needed. We are synthesizing and testing novel chemical compounds; these may weaken sperm cells and microbes. The architecture of human sperm cells includes several distinctive membrane regions that undergo substantial changes during the life history of the sperm cell. Specific changes must take place within the compartments and membranous surfaces of sperm to make them able to fertilize an egg. We will examine effects of a number of novel compounds on the functions of human sperm. Outcomes may lead to new strategies for contraception, or improvements in prevention of disease and pregnancy.