Andrology Director, CReATe Fertility Centre
Assistant Professor, Obstetrics & Gynaecology
University of Toronto, Canada
Research interests: idiopathic male infertility, sperm DNA/nuclear architecture, telomere length in spermatozoa, characterization of exosomes in seminal plasma
Dr. Sergey I. Moskovtsev is the Director of Andrology at the CReATe Fertility Clinic in Toronto, Canada. He was trained as a research physician in his native Russia before he completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Minnesota and at the Division of Andrology, Department of Urology, University of Utah, followed by a three-year Research Fellowship at the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. He has been an active member of ASA since 2003 as well the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) where he recently served for three years as Chairman of its Andrology Special Interest Group and Advisory Council. He received an appointment in 2010 as Assistant Professor with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. His research interests are idiopathic male infertility; sperm DNA/nuclear architecture; telomere length in spermatozoa. He is involved in intensive research collaboration with several medical institutions across North America. His research has resulted in a number of peer-reviewed papers and presentations at national and international meetings. In addition, Dr. Moskovtsev has been recently appointed as an Editorial Board Member to the journal of Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine.
Q: How was your interest in field of andrology developed?
Dr. Moskovtsev: My interest in Urology and Reproductive Medicine was acquired in Medical school which led me to specialize in male infertility, a field at that time not highly publicized and offering limited opportunities for research. Current publications indicate that awareness of male infertility issues continues to remain low in the general population and is still considered a “taboo subject” in many cultures. Often the male’s contribution to a couple's infertility difficulties is underestimated or simply ignored. Gaps remain in the evaluation of the male partner with 30% of male infertility identified as idiopathic. I feel that education is needed for both patients and health professionals and that infertility should be regarded as a couple’s issue and should not only focus on the female partner’s assessment. My current clinical and research interests focus on male infertility, specifically on genetics and the effect of sperm DNA damage & sperm nuclear architecture and its contribution to male fertility.
Q: Tell us about the work that you are most proud of.
Dr. Moskovtsev: I am pleased that I can provide support to male patients undergoing fertility evaluation and/or treatment and especially for oncology patients who need sperm banking services. Additionally, I am involved in research collaboration with several medical institutions. This cooperative research has resulted in a number of peer-reviewed papers and presentations at national and international meetings. It is hard to choose my “favorite”, but I think that the publication on 3D sperm chromatin image analysis is very interesting. In addition, the press release at the ESHRE meeting several years ago “Damage to sperm DNA affects older men’s chances of fathering children” created a lot of publicity and I hope boosted interest in the effect of age on male fertility.
Q: Describe your typical day at work.
Dr. Moskovtsev: I love what I do! Involvement in both research and clinical Andrology services makes every day very different keeping me highly interested and motivated. On a daily basis, I make recommendations to physicians and patients regarding Andrology procedures and fertility preservation as well as oversee the Quality Management System and compliance with accreditation standards for the clinical Andrology laboratory. The research component is very exciting too, and involves everything from planning experiments (most interesting!) to training of technicians as well as preparing manuscripts and completing research funding applications. Research collaboration with colleagues and participation in meetings is also a fundamental source of inspiration.
Q: What is the key to success in the field of andrology, given the impact of recession/lack of grants?
Dr. Moskovtsev: I think the funding model adopted by our Medical Director, Dr. Librach, one that requires channeling of funds generated from clinical services to fund research, is an excellent example of dedication to research excellence. The collaboration between different research groups and institutions plays a key role in the enhancement of knowledge as it provides access to a variety of equipment and technologies. Focus on translating the application of research to clinical practice is also key to success in my opinion.
Q: What has been the impact of the ASA membership in your career?
Dr. Moskovtsev: I have been involved with ASA since 2003, attending many annual meetings and several workshops. Membership in the Society has given me the opportunity to meet with my colleagues, provided references in the form of access to published research, and enhanced my collaboration. I am looking forward to continuing my positive and productive relationship with ASA.
Q: One advice you would like to give to students entering in this field.
Dr. Moskovtsev: Reproductive Medicine is one of the most fascinating fields of Medicine with rapid advancement in both research and clinical applications. However, so much more needs to be discovered and knowledge gained in the field of paternal contribution to embryo development, implantation, and miscarriages and health of offspring. I hope that the availability of new tools and technologies makes all these avenues of research and practice more realistic and possible to accomplish in the nearest future.