Dr Meurig Thomas Gallagher FHEA

Dr Meurig Gallagher

School of Mathematics
Assistant Professor
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Research Person Responsible (Centre #0209)

Contact details

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR)
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT
New technique will help experts make heads or tails of male fertility

Meurig integrates mathematical modelling and software with experimental methods to create new diagnostics and treatments for infertility, and also tackle wider healthcare applications using his comprehensive interdisciplinary approach.

Based in the Medical School, Meurig holds a joint post across IMSR, Mathematics and Computer Science, and is the University of Birmingham’s Person Responsible for their HFEA Research Licence (Centre 0209). He holds a national leadership role, having been elected to the Executive of the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS, January 2023), the professional body and learned society for the field.

A key focus of Meurig's research revolves around understanding more about the sperm flagellum via the creation and development of the package FAST (Flagellar Analysis and Sperm Tracking), a tool that enables rapid, affordable analysis of the moving flagellum of the sperm. FAST is deployed with international clinical collaborators to understand key questions surrounding the role sperm factors play in the outcomes of fertility treatment, as well as to understand more general aspects of sperm function across species. It was noted as an emerging technology by the World Health Organisation in their 2021 semen analysis manual.

Meurig is currently Mechanistic lead for the NIHR UNexplained InfertiliTY Trial, where he is looking at the role of sperm in fertility treatment. As part of the Centre for Human Reproductive Science, Meurig and his collaborators are immersed in day-to-day interaction with the care teams across reproduction and their patients. These direct links to the diverse communities our care team treat across the Midlands and UK are vital in the co-design and evolution of our work.

Meurig is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Systems Modelling and Quantitative Biomedicine, where he is Theme Lead for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Reproduction. In this role he provides mentorship for theme members, and acts as a bridge between the Centre’s quantitative expertise and the wider IMSR.

Alongside other ChRS team members, Meurig has a passion for making the medical science and clinical trials we undertake accessible and relevant, not only though patient co-design with underserved communities, but also through harnessing opportunities to provide public engagement with our work. This has included a permanent museum exhibition, and an ongoing partnership to try and create a global training tool for IFFS (International Federation of Fertility Societies), the non-state actor for the World Health Organisation.


  • Iwan Lewis Jones Young Scientist Prize, 2018
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2018
  • PhD Applied Mathematics, University of Birmingham, 2015
  • MMath Applied Mathematics, University of Nottingham, 2011


Semester 1

  • LH/LM Advanced Mathematical Modelling (Mathematics)

Semester 2

  • LI Neuroscience, Endocrinology and Reproduction
  • BSc Biomedical Science Research Projects
  • BSc Human Biology Research Projects

Postgraduate supervision

I am lucky to supervise an excellent team, looking at problems across fertility, endocrinology and mathematics. My current research projects include:

  • healthcare science projects aimed at improving male diagnostics for fertility treatment;
  • understanding societal aspects of reproduction including how best to educate; computationally modelling the swimming sperm cell in non-Newtonian fluid environments;
  • and using asymptotic models together with Bayesian inference to understand treatment regimens for adrenal insufficient patients.

I currently have a fully funded place for an excellent UK candidate to study a PhD in Applied Mathematics. Suggested projects can be found in the below Find-a-PhD links (see opportunities for study), but I am interested to discuss other projects and interests.

PhD opportunities


Research Themes

  • Human sperm motility and its role in male-factor infertility; integrating mathematical and computational modelling, microscopy, image analysis and outcomes-liked clinical data.
  • Numerical methods and tools for simulation on the microscale; including open source algorithms for Stokes flow; elastohydrodynamics; complex rheology; and parallel computing

Collaborative Research

  • Environmental and biochemical effects on animal sperm motility
  • Mathematical model-driven clinical-decision making; with applications such as hyperthyroidism, measurable residual disease prediction
  • The role of fatty acids in the pathophysiology of obesity-related type 2 diabetes

Other activities

  • Meurig's research has been featured in the BBCNew Scientist, Independent, and BNL Radio.
  • Member of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.
  • Passionate about the dissemination of his work, and was lucky enough to be a finalist in the STEM4Britain 2018 competition.
  • Meurig has led the image-analysis portion of a team who designed and installed the MICROBOTS: The future of Healthcare exhibit at the ThinkTank science museum in Birmingham, come have a visit, you'll find us in the Futures Gallery!


Recent publications


Newman-Sanders, A, Kirkman-Brown, J & Gallagher, MT 2024, 'Gym lifestyle factors and male reproductive health: a study into young adult usage and perceptions', Reproductive BioMedicine Online, vol. 48, no. 1, 103623. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2023.103623

Gallagher, MT, Kirkman-Brown, J & Smith, D 2023, 'Axonemal regulation by curvature explains sperm flagellar waveform modulation', PNAS nexus, vol. 2, no. 3, pgad072. https://doi.org/10.1093/pnasnexus/pgad072

Bisconti, M, Leroy, B, Gallagher, MT, Senet, C, Martinet, B, Arcadia, V, Wattiez, R, Kirkman-Brown, J, Simon, J-F & Hennebert, E 2022, 'The ribosome inhibitor chloramphenicol induces motility deficits in human spermatozoa: a proteomic approach identifies potentially involved proteins', Frontiers in cell and developmental biology, vol. 10, 965076. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2022.965076

Gallagher, MT & Smith, D 2021, 'The art of coarse Stokes: Richardson extrapolation improves the accuracy and efficiency of the method of regularized stokeslets', Royal Society Open Science, vol. 8, no. 5, 210108. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.210108

Smith, D, Gallagher, MT, Schuech, R & Montenegro-Johnson, T 2021, 'The role of the double-layer potential in regularised stokeslet models of self-propulsion', Fluids, vol. 6, no. 11, 411. https://doi.org/10.3390/fluids6110411

Neal, C, Hall-McNair, A, Kirkman-Brown, J, Smith, D & Gallagher, MT 2020, 'Doing more with less: the flagellar end piece enhances the propulsive effectiveness of spermatozoa', Physical Review Fluids, vol. 5, no. 7, 073101 . https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevFluids.5.073101

Gallagher, MT & Smith, D 2020, 'Passively parallel regularized stokeslets', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, vol. 378, no. 2179, 20190528. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2019.0528

Gallagher, MT, Montenegro-Johnson, T & Smith, D 2020, 'Simulations of particle tracking in the oligociliated mouse node and implications for left-right symmetry breaking mechanics', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B, vol. 375, no. 1792, 20190161. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0161

Hall-McNair, A, Montenegro-Johnson, T, Gadêlha, H, Smith, D & Gallagher, MT 2019, 'Efficient implementation of elastohydrodynamics via integral operators', Physical Review Fluids, vol. 4, no. 11, 113101, pp. 113101-1 - 113101-24. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevFluids.4.113101

Gallagher, MT, Wain, R, Dari, S, Whitty, J & Smith, D 2019, 'Non-identifiability of parameters for a class of shear-thinning rheological models, with implications for haematological fluid dynamics', Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 85, pp. 230-238. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.01.036

Gallagher, MT, Cupples, G, Ooi, EH, Kirkman-Brown, J & Smith, D 2019, 'Rapid sperm capture: High-throughput flagellar waveform analysis', Human Reproduction, vol. 34, no. 7, pp. 1173–1185. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dez056

Gallagher, MT, Choudhuri, D & Smith, D 2019, 'Sharp quadrature error bounds for the nearest-neighbor discretization of the regularized stokeslet boundary integral equation', SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. B139–B152. https://doi.org/10.1137/18M1191816

Conference contribution

Cupples, G, Gallagher, MT, Smith, D & Kirkman-Brown, J 2021, Heads and tails: requirements for informative and robust computational measures of sperm motility. in L Björndahl, J Flanagan, R Holmberg & U Kvist (eds), XIIIth International Symposium on Spermatology. Springer, Cham, pp. 135-150. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-66292-9_21

Review article

Thomas, P, Gallagher, MT & Da Silva Xavier, G 2023, 'Beta cell lipotoxicity in the development of type 2 diabetes: the need for species-specific understanding', Frontiers in Endocrinology, vol. 14, 1275835. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2023.1275835

Baldi, E, Gallagher, MT, Krasnyak, S, Kirkman-Brown, J & Editorial Board members of the World Health Organization laboratory manual for the examination and processing of human semen 2022, 'Extended semen examinations in the sixth edition of the WHO Laboratory Manual for the Examination and Processing of Human Semen: contributing to the understanding of the function of the male reproductive system', Fertility and Sterility, vol. 117, no. 2, pp. 252-257. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2021.11.034

View all publications in research portal