Sperm-cybernetic Systems for Biomedical Applications

Mariana Medina Sánchez, PhD
Group Leader of the Micro- and Nanobiomedical Engineering Group
Leibniz IFW Dresden e.V., Germany
Webpage:https://www.mnbe.org/ Link2
Research Interests
Biosensing, Microfluidics, Microrobotics, Assisted Fertilization, Drug Delivery

During the presentation, I will showcase different physical and biohybrid micromotors, including sperm-hybrid microrobots and microcarriers designed to enhance pregnancy success rates and minimize the invasiveness of current assisted fertilization techniques. By utilizing weak external magnetic fields, we have successfully demonstrated the guidance and transport of both motile and immotile sperm through biological-relevant fluids in vitro using magnetic microcarriers. These sperm-hybrid microrobots have also been employed as drug carriers for gynecological cancer treatment. Our team has further accomplished the transport and release of multiple viable and mature sperm, which is a critical step towards in vivo egg fertilization or controlled drug dosing in cancer therapy. We have evaluated the micromotors’ performance under blood flow and utilized their cargo-delivery function by functionalizing carriers with heparin-loaded nanoliposomes. Recently, we have reported on the successful tracking of magnetically-driven micromotors in phantom, ex-vivo, and living mice with high spatial and temporal resolution using photoacoustic imaging, enabling translation of these technologies to pre-clinical trials.

Mariana Medina Sánchez is a Mechatronics Engineer from University of San Buenaventura (Colombia), an M.Sc. in Nanotechnology and a Ph.D on Biotechnology, from the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology ICN2, Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain). In 2014, she joined the IFW Leibniz Institute as a postdoctoral researcher. Since 2016, she has been group leader of the Micro- and NanoBiomedical Engineering Group at the same institute. In 2019 she was awarded by the European Research Commission in the category of ERC Stg, and started as independent group leader, working on the topic of microrobotic systems and bioanalytical platforms to overcome female infertility.