Highlights from BYU Colleges: New dean for Undergraduate Education, BYU researchers fight male infertility

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Undergraduate Education

BYU life sciences professor Richard Gill will begin his tenure as dean of Undergraduate Education on July 1. (BYU Photo)

BYU life sciences professor Richard Gill will replace Susan Rugh as dean of Undergraduate Education on July 1. Rugh is retiring this summer after having served as dean since 2016.

Gill, who has been teaching biology since 2008, also learned to speak Samoan while serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Auckland, New Zealand.

His experience as a missionary in New Zealand influenced his research and teaching opportunities in Samoa, New Zealand and Hawaii.

Undergraduate Education at BYU oversees programs including First-Year Experience and Mentoring, General Education, the Honors program and National Scholarships.

College of Life Sciences

BYU researchers study men infertility and develop tools to help those struggling with infertility. (Unsplash)

BYU researchers from the Jenkins lab have taken steps forward in developing tools to help those struggling with infertility.

The first step in screening men for infertility is performing a semen analysis and approximately 10% of infertile men have azoospermia, a condition when they have no sperm in their ejaculate.

If a man struggling from azoospermia still wants to attempt having biological children with their partner, the next step is performing a surgical procedure called micro Testicular Sperm Extraction to identify and extract sperm from the testicles.

This procedure is invasive and expensive, costing from $10-20,000 out of pocket, as well as having a high 40% fail rate.

The Jenkins lab has explored the ability to identify different cells’ DNA by their patterns, and this process would be used as a preliminary semen analysis screen for the micro Testicular Sperm Extraction surgery.

“Even if there are no supermen the ejaculate, if we can identify sperm cell-free DNA, that means there are sperm somewhere along the reproductive tract,” said Ryan Barney, third year Ph.D. candidate of cell biology and physiology.

Barney, who has been working on this project as part of his dissertation research also explained how “this may warrant doing the micro TESE surgery.”

David O. McKay School of Education

Richard Osguthorpe, dean of the David O. McKay School of Education, will begin serving as the new associate academic vice president for undergraduate studies beginning July 1.

BYU’s Academic Vice President Shane Reese announced Osguthorpe’s appointment and said he “has an excellent vision for undergraduate studies.”

Osguthorpe will replace John Rosenberg on this position, who has been working as the associate academic vice president for undergraduate studies since 2018.

“I have so much confidence in his ability to lead, and I know he will make an immediate and long-lasting impact on our undergraduate students and the fulfillments of the mission of BYU,” Reese said.

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