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The following message was sent to the Lehigh University community on June 28, 2012.....

It is with great sadness that I announce to you that Barry Bean, beloved father, husband of Karen Hicks, brother, grandfather, uncle, professor, mentor, colleague and friend, left us on June 25, 2012.  He passed peacefully surrounded by love. 

Over 25 years ago, Professor Bean was instrumental in laying a foundation for expanding the curriculum and research in cell and molecular biology at Lehigh.  He led a highly active research lab on the cell biology of mammalian sperm with implications for understanding mechanisms of fertility.

At his request, no services will be held.  In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his name in support of Alzheimer’s research, a cause he cared deeply about, to the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 399 Market St. Suite 102 Philadelphia, PA 19106 or at www.alz.org

Pat Farrell


Barry Bean, Ph.D.
Cell Biology



Research Summary

The events that precede fertilization in humans are compelling and combine basic science with direct applications in the areas of human infertility and contraception. Recent technical advances permit new insights into the structures of the sperm cell, and may provide information about specific events that enable fertilization. Our group is using a variety of methods and biological tools to investigate the functions and structures of sperm cells that are associated with fertilization in humans and certain animals.

Barry Bean and students
Barry Bean with 3 graduate students and 3 undergraduate collaborators at The 1999 Andology Meeting. Front left to right: Sumpars Khunsook, Kiattawee Choowongkomon, Barry Bean, Vladimira Heredia, Tara Baney, Shannon Gibson, and Stephanie Mellilo

We have previously shown the a-L-fucosidases of human semen include distinctive isoforms that exist (a) in the human seminal plasma, and (b) in the membranes of human sperm cells. Provocative circumstantial evidence on the distinctive fucosidases of the sperm cell and the seminal fluid suggested that this common enzyme may facilitate sperm transport and sperm-egg interactions. We recently showed that the Sperm Membrane Alpha-L-Fucosidase (SMALF) is enriched within sperm membrane system, and concentrated within the sperm segment. The a-L-fuosidase enzyme funtion is stabilized by its native association with the equatorial segment. Inhibitor studies gave strong evidence that hamster SMALF is not important for sperm-zona binding, but rather functions at the level of sperm-oocyte membrane-to-membrane interaction and/or post fusion events.

We have demonstrated the presence of seminal fucosidase in several species of fishes, which offer advantages for certain experimental approaches to the events of fertilization.

Our applied science interests include development of improved methods for contraeption. Most recently we have examined novel compounds with potential as spermicides and microbicides.

Recent Publications

Adobe Reader requiredVenditti, J., Swann, J., and Bean, B., 2010. Hamster Sperm-Associated Alpha-L-Fucosidase Functions During Fertilization.  Biol of Reproduction 82: 572-579.  DOI:10.1095/biolreprod.109.076695

Adobe Reader requiredVenditti, J., Mendelson, T., Bean, B., 2009. Fucosidases of Sperm and Milt in Darters (Percidae: Etheostomatini). The Open Reproductive Science Journal, 2, 1-7.

Adobe Reader requiredVenditti, J., Bean, B., 2008. Stabilization of membrane-associated a-L-fucosidase by the human sperm equatorial segment. International Journal of Andrology.

Adobe Reader required Venditti, J., Donigan, K., Bean, B., 2007. Crypticity and Functional Distribution of the Membrane Associated a-L-Fucosidase of Human Sperm.  Molecular Reproduction and Development, 74:758-766. 

Khunsook, S., B. Bean, S.R. McGowan & J.A. Alhadeff, 2003. Purification and Characterization of Plasma Membrane-Associated Human Sperm alpha-L-Fucosidase. Biology of Reproduction 68:709-716.

Khunsook, S., J.A. Alhadeff, & B. Bean, 2002.  Purification and Characterization of Human Seminal Plasma alpha-L-fucosidase.  Molecular Human Reproduction, 8:221-227.

Khunsook, S., J.A. Alhadeff & B.S. Bean, 2001.  Comparative characterization of the purified alpha-L-fucosidases that occur in the human sperm plasma membrane versus the seminal plasma.  Molecular Biology of the Cell 12 Supplement 233a [abstract].

Khunsook, Sumpars, 2001.  Purification and Characterization of Human Sperm Plasma Membrane-Associated and Human Seminal Fluid alpha-L-fucosidases.  Lehigh University Doctoral Dissertation, 97pp.  University Microfilms, 2001.

Alhadeff, J.A., Khunsook, S., Choowongkomon, K., Baney, T., Heredia, V., Tweedie, A., and Bean, B., 1999. Characterization of human semen alpha-L-fucosidases.  Molecular Human Reproduction 5:809-815.

Bean, B., W. Li, S. Gibson, & J. Harris, 1999.  Recombinant human ZPC induces the acrosome reaction in human sperm.  J. Andrology 20suppl, 44.  (Abstract)

Bean, B., S. Khunsook, K. Grimm, K. Choowongkomon, T. Baney, V. Heredia, A. Tweedie, & J.A. Alhadeff,1999.  Characterization of alpha-L-fucosidases of human semen.  J. Andrology 20suppl, 51.  (Abstract)

Tang, S. & B. Bean, 1998. A panel of monoclonal antibodies against human sperm. Journal of Andrology 19:189-195.

Schneider, J.E., Goldman, M.D., Tang, S., Bean, B., Ji, H., and Friedman, M., 1998.  Leptin Indirectly Affects Estrous Cycles by Increasing Metabolic Fuel Oxidation.  Hormones and Behavior 33:217-228.

McGowan, S. & B. Bean, 1997. Initial characterization of a human sperm acrosomal antigen. Molecular Biology of the Cell 8: supplement p 106a.

Bean, B., 1994. The case for anti-sperm immunocontraception. Reproductive Health Matters 4:112-113.


Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man
Abington Reproductive Medicine



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