Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture

2016 Lecturer: Lisa J. Fauci

Biofluids of Reproduction: Oscillators, Viscoelastic Networks and Sticky Situations

From fertilization to birth, successful mammalian reproduction relies on interactions of elastic structures with a fluid environment. Sperm flagella must move through cervical mucus to the uterus and into the oviduct, where fertilization occurs. In fact, some sperm may adhere to oviductal epithelia, and must change their pattern of oscillation to escape. In addition, coordinated beating of oviductal cilia also drives the flow. Sperm-egg penetration, transport of the fertilized ovum from the oviduct to its implantation in the uterus and, indeed, birth itself are rich examples of elasto-hydrodynamic coupling. We will discuss successes and challenges in the mathematical and computational modeling of the biofluids of reproduction. In addition, we will present reduced models that evoke intriguing questions in fundamental fluid dynamics.