Allan Pacey BSc, PhD, FRCOGAllan Pacey 2

Professor of Andrology and Head of Department
Department of Oncology & Metabolism
Academic Unit of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine
Level 4, The Jessop Wing
S10 2SF

Office: JW4 04

Tel: +44 (0) 114 215 9665
For Admin Assistance please contact: +44 (0)114 215 9024


I was awarded my PhD in 1991 from the University of St. Andrews after which I undertook a one-year Research Fellowship funded by the Royal Society at the Station Zoologique, Villefrance-sur-Mer, France.

I joined the University of Sheffield in 1992, first as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant and then was appointed as lecturer in 1997. In 2001 was appointed as Senior Lecturer in Andrology and in 2015 Professor of Andrology.  I became Head of Department of Oncology and Metabolism in October 2017.

Research Interests

I am interested in the biology of human spermatozoa and aspects of semen quality and fertility in males. It is estimated that 1 in 6 couples have a problem in conceiving a child and in about half of these cases, a problem is identified with the male partner. This may be a result of too few sperm being produced, or the fact that sperm have poor motility (swimming ability) or morphology (size and shape).

In recent years, my research has focussed on how micro-organisms such as Chlamydia trachomatis interact with sperm and affect sperm function. This is in collaboration with Adrian Eley (see links) and has shown that the bacteria can trigger signalling pathways in sperm that lead to premature sperm death. We have investigated the molecular nature of this process and have recently shown that sperm washing methods currently in use in clinics are not effective in removing C. trachomatis from sperm.

In the search for better diagnostic methods in the clinic, I have recently collaborated with engineers from the University of Glasgow (Green/Gilles) and applied modelling techniques used in fluid mechanics to better understand how sperm swim. This paper was published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics in 2008 (see below) and shows that swimming speed is closely related to the side and shape of the sperm head.

Work with Urologists in Sheffield has developed a new diagnostic test for men who have small numbers of non-motile sperm in their ejaculates following vasectomy. In some men, these sperm are present for many months or years meaning the men cannot be discharged from care or cease using contraception because it is not be certain if the surgery has been successful. We have employed a fluorescent test that allows us to determine if these sperm are dead or alive in order to discriminate between failed vasectomy and inadequate clearance of dead sperm.

Finally, I am interested in occupational and environmental influences on semen quality. In collaboration with colleagues from the University of Manchester, I conducted a large multi-centre study of semen quality at 14 clinics within the UK, relating measures of semen quality to. In 2008 we published the first paper describing how occupational exposure to glycol ethers (found in paints) was associated with a low motile sperm count. Further papers from this data are being prepared and will be published shortly.

Teaching Interests

I lecture in Phase 1b (GU and Endocrine) and Phase 3 (Women´s Health) of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) course. I also contribute to the Student Selected Components of Phase 1a (Critical Analysis) and Phase 1b (Research Methods) and offer B. Med. Sci., projects. Outside the Medical School, I lecture on Module MBB 331 (Gametes and Embryos) in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and also the APS 120 (Reproduction and Development) module in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences. I am also the Course Director and Admissions Tutor for the MSc in Science Communication which is starting in the Autumn of 2011 (see links).

Professional Activities

I am currently a member of the Editorial Board of `Reproduction´ (Society for Reproduction and Fertility) and `Human Fertility´ (Informa Healthcare). I am a trustee of the British Fertility Society Educational Trust (2001 to present), a member of the Advisory Council of the National Gamete Donation Trust (2001 – present) and Chairman of the UK NEQAS Andrology Steering Group (2004 – present). I am currently a member of an Advisory Group to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority as part of their 'Donation Policies Review'.

Current Projects

Immediate and longer-term consequences for men who bank sperm prior to cancer treatment.

Trans-national reproduction: an exploratory study of UK residents who travel abroad for fertility treatment.

A pilot study to investigate the interaction between cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and human spermatozoa.

Key Publications

Pacey AA. (2010) Quality assurance and quality control in the laboratory andrology. Asian Journal of Andrology 12: 21-25.

Gillies, E.A., Cannon, R.A., Green, R.B., and Pacey A.A., (2009) Hydrodynamic propulsion of human sperm. Journal of Fluid Mechanics 625: 444-473.

Al-Mously, N., Cross, N.A., Eley, A., and Pacey, A.A., (2008) Real time PCR shows that density centrifugation does not always remove Chlamydia trachomatis from human semen. Fertility and Sterility 92: 1606-1615.

Cherry, N., Moore, H., McNamee, R., Pacey, A., Burgess, G., Clyma, J-A., Dippnall, M., Baillie, H., Povey, A., and participating centres of CHAPS-UK (2008) Occupation and male infertility: glycol ethers and other exposures. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 65: 708-714.

Pacey, A.A., (2007) Fertility issues in survivors from adolescent cancers. Cancer Treatment Reviews 33: 646-655

Suarez, SS and Pacey A.A., (2006) Sperm transport in the Female Reproductive Tract. Human Reproduction Update 12: 23-37.