VMBS Doctoral Student Awarded For Research On Male Fertility

Story by Megan Myers, VMBS Communications

Pierre Ferrer in a lab
Pierre Ferrer

Pierre Ferrer, a Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (VMBS) doctoral student, has been recognized with the American Society of Andrology’s 2023 Lonnie D. Russell Merit Award for his research on male fertility.

The Andrology Society of America in a top international scientific society supporting both medical and basic research on the male reproductive system. The Lonnie D. Russell Merit Award is given annually to a trainee member of the society who presented the best original laboratory or clinical research report.

During the society’s annual meeting in Boston, Ferrer presented his work on the protein mechanisms essential for spermatogenesis, or the production and development of mature spermatozoa.

He found that the actin-like 7A (ACTL7A) protein regulates several factors necessary for the formation of the acrosome, an organelle at the tip of a sperm that allows them to penetrate an egg.

ACTL7A is unique to the male reproductive system and extremely important; absence of or mutations in this gene causes infertility.

“Understanding the roles of proteins like this puts us a step closer to treating infertility and developing viable contraceptives for men,” Ferrer said. “I was surprised and very happy when they called my name (for the award); I have always looked up to Dr. Russell and his work in our field, so it is a personal honor to receive this award!”

Ferrer’s research was published in April in the journal “Molecular Human Reproduction.”

At the VMBS, Ferrer conducts research and trains in the lab of VMBS assistant professor Dr. Tracy Clement, whose work focuses on the genetics, epigenetics, molecular biology, and cellular biology involved in male fertility.

“It has really been a joy to see Pierre come into his own in research and fruitfully apply research methods to investigate the mechanisms of actin-related proteins in male fertility,” Clement said. “Recognition of Pierre’s work through this merit award speaks to the quality, rigor, and impact of the work he is leading in the lab.

“Pierre has a sharp memory and is a naturally curious and creative problem solver,” she said. “I am very proud of his accomplishments and can’t wait to see all the great work he contributes throughout his career.”


For more information about the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of VMBS Communications, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, jgauntt@cvm.tamu.edu, 979-862-4216

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons