Ioannis Tsakmakidis graduated from the School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He completed his PhD thesis in the field of mycotoxins and boar semen fertilizing ability, in the same University. From 2000 to 2009 he worked at the Institute of Reproduction and Artificial Insemination of the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food, as well as at the Veterinary Research Institute of ELGO-DIMITRA. He re-trained in pig reproduction in Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Murcia, Spain. From 2009 as Lecturer, until today as Associate Professor in School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, he teaches “Biotechnology and Physiopathology of Reproduction in Farm Animals”, having scientific cooperation with many pig farms of the north Greece. His major research interests are focused on boar semen processing, artificial insemination, male infertility, sperm cryo-preservation, and reproductive management at pig farm level. Ioannis supervised and co-supervised ten PhD and four Master Science theses. He is section editor in three international scientific journals, author of many publications in international peer-reviewed journals, and coordinator or member of the research team in more than thirty research projects. Since 2009, he has been a trainer in seminars about pig artificial insemination and reproductive management, which are annually organized by the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food.
The contribution of the male has been always a critical point for pig industry. The prediction of the boar ability to produce high-quality semen is important for the financial status of insemination centres and pig farms. Valuable laboratory tests, like gametes interaction assays, computer-assisted sperm motility evaluation, flow cytometric and -omics analysis, are usually applied to identify sub-fertile boars. External factors, such as season, environmental conditions, nutrition, animals care and manipulation, may induce stress, negatively affecting the quality of the susceptible boar ejaculate. From that point of view, a non-stressful method that collects real time information about the conditions of boar husbandry environment could be useful. In a recent study of our lab, the behavior of the boar was monitored by biomedical devices during the semen collection process. Specifically, a) sensors were placed on boar body [i-galvanic skin response, ii-inertial measurement unit, including accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer], b) boar body, scrotal and dummy temperature were measured by an infrared (IR) camera and an IR thermometer, c) boar face salivation was recorded by a moisture meter camera, and d) scrotal contractions were recorded by a video camera connected on a smartphone. The collected biomedical data was processed and analyzed (Matlab) to find correlations with the semen evaluated variables (sperm CASA motility and kinematics/viability/morphology/membrane biochemical activity and DNA fragmentation). The results supported the conclusion that the biomedical sensors provide valuable information about semen quality, enforcing the prognosis methodology of boar semen production capacity.