Faculty / Kenneth P. Roberts

Dr. Kenneth Roberts

Professor, Director WWAMI


Room: HSB 320N
Phone: 509-358-7516
Phone: 509-368-6719


Research & Interests

Role of the epididymis in sperm maturation and function. Sperm are produced in the testis and gain the ability to fertilize an egg as they transit the epididymis. During spermatogenesis many germ cell proteins are produced that are necessary for the function of mature sperm. Likewise, as sperm transit the epididymis they acquire proteins necessary for normal function from the epididymal fluid, which is a secretory product of the epididymal epithelium. The purpose of our research is to understand this maturation process.

Our current main focus in on the role of CRISP1, an epididymal protein acquired by the sperm, in the sperm functions of fusion with the egg and in the acrosome reaction. Likewise, the role of CRISP2 and CRISP4, additional CRISP proteins produced in the male reproductive tract, are also under investigation. This work has implications for clinical conditions of sperm dysfunction leading to male infertility.

My lab is also interested in the protein composition of sperm and the origin of sperm proteins. In collaboration with colleagues at Wyeth Research we have undertaken a total proteomic analysis of human sperm to discover potential targets for sperm function. We are using signal-trap cloning to identify and catalog cDNAs from the mouse epididymal epithelium encoding secretory proteins that become part of the sperm proteome.


Washington State University