Modelling sperm behaviour in a 3D environment

M Burkitt, D Walker, Daniela Romano, A Fazeli
in Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Computational Methods in Systems Biology, CMSB'11, Conference paper (text)


The processes used by mammalian sperm to find the egg in the female reproductive tract are highly complex and poorly understood. Due to ethical and practical limitations, observing and measuring the behaviour of sperm within a live animal is difficult if not impossible without influencing their behaviour. One way to help understand the processes involved is through the use of computational modelling. The methodology used to construct the first agent based model of sperm movement within a 3D model of the mammalian oviduct is presented. The different processes represented within the model and the implementation of those processes is described. The simulation runtime is significantly reduced using collision detection optimisation and by harnessing the parallel processing power of the GPU to make concurrent simulation replicates. Validation of the model and the potential uses of the model once fully validated are described. © 2011 ACM.