Personal profile


Research Interests

Our research specifically examines local mechanisms within the womb-lining (endometrium) involved in menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding, and implantation and early pregnancy loss. Both menstruation and implantation display features common to inflammatory events.  Menstruation is a physiological event of repeated "tissue injury and repair".  We study the cascade of events that occur in cells of the endometrium and that lead to its shedding.  These events are triggered by withdrawal of the hormone, progesterone (P). This occurs at the end of each monthly cycle prior to a period. As a consequence of P-withdrawal, substances that are mediators of inflammation and populations of immune cells are increased in the endometrium. We are interested in the complex dialogue between circulating steroid hormones and the many different cell types, including immune cells that constitute the endometrium. 

We also study factors that switch on production of molecules involved in blood vessel growth and repair in the endometrium; both necessary events to prepare for the next menstrual cycle. If we can understand how the womb heals itself without scarring as women go through their menstrual cycles we hope we will contribute valuable information relevant to inflammation and scarring throughout the body. If these events are disturbed then abnormal menstrual bleeding may be the result. We are therefore studying endometrial samples collected from women attending with menstrual complaints including women with fibroids. We hope that information about the molecular and cellular pathways involved in menstruation will help identify new targets for treatment, especially if these treatments could be delivered directly to the uterus. 

Study of endocrine/immune regulation of endometrial bleeding in women (physiological and pathological) is complemented by murine models of menstruation/uterine bleeding.

The development of novel medical treatments for management of debilitating menstrual complaints aims to enable women to avoid surgery and thereby preserve uterine function and fertility potential. 

Current/recently completed research projects:

  • Mechanisms involved in menstruation and endometrial repair.
  • Novel injury-repair mechanisms: local cortisol metabolism in the female reproductive tract.
  • Establishment of murine models of menstruation and uterine bleeding.
  • Novel magnetic resonance imaging of vascular and extracellular matrix morphology in women with uterine fibroids.
  • Mechanism of action of progesterone receptor modulators (PRMs).

Staff/group members (CRH)

Varsha Jain

Neil Roberts

Tatiana White (PA)

Principal collaborators


Professor Neil Carragher
Dr Ooi Thye Chong
Dr Douglas Gibson
Professor Andrew Horne
Dr Robert Illingworth
Dr Jackie Maybin
Professor Neil Roberts
Professor Philippa Saunders
Dr Pamela Warner
Dr Lucy Whitaker
Professor Emeritus Alistair Williams


Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya (Aberdeen)
Professor Justin Clark (Birmingham)
Professor Dharani Hapangama (Liverpool)
Professor Gavin Kelsey (Babraham Institute, Cambridge)
Professor Mary Ann Lumsden (Glasgow)
Professor Ashley Moffett (Cambridge)
Professor Ian Roberts & Dr Sima Berendes (LSHTM, London)
Professor Brian Walker (Newcastle)


Professor Linda Griffith (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
Professor Sun-Wei Guo (Fudan University, Shanghai, China)
Professor Myriam Hemberger and Professor Wendy Dean (University of Calgary, Canada)
Professor Doug Lauffenburger (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
Professor Mac Munro (Los Angeles, USA)Professor Felice Petraglia (Florence, Italy)
Professor Peter Rogers (Melbourne, Australia)
Professor Carlos Simon (Valencia, Spain)
Dr Ov Slayden (Portland, USA)
Dr Margherita Turco (Basel, Switzerland)
Dr Steve Yellon (Loma Linda University, USA)

External Committee Membership

  • Centre for Trophoblast Research (CTR), Cambridge – Member of CTR Scientific Advisory Board (2014-2018; reappointed 2019-2023)
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh – Member of RSE/Caledonian Research Foundation Fellowship Award Committee (from 2013)
  • Academy of  Medical Sciences - Member of Council (Dec 2017-Dec 2020)
  • Academy of Medical Sciences – Member Selection Panel for Academy's Starter Grants for Clinical Lecturers Scheme (2013-2016)
  • Co-Chair Reproductive Health Expert Advisory Group, Scottish Government (from 2014)
  • President Edinburgh Obstetrical Society (2014-2016)
  • European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE): Past Coordinator ESHRE Special Interest Group Endometriosis & Endometrium (SIGEE) (2012-2015) (Coordinator 2009-2012)
  • Board Member World Endometriosis Society (2011-2016)
  • National Reproductive Health Research Network Menstrual Disorders Clinical Study Group – Member of Executive Board (from 2011)
  • Society for Gynecologic Investigation (SGI) – Member of Council (2010-2013)

Current Editorial Board Membership

  • Journal of Reproductive Immunology
  • Reproductive Sciences
  • Journal of Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Disorders
  • F1000 Research / co-Head of Faculty for Women's Health
  • Physiological Reviews


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Medicine, The University of Manchester

Award Date: 1 Jan 1991

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, The University of Manchester

Award Date: 1 Jan 1981

Bachelor of Science, The University of Manchester

Award Date: 1 Jan 1978


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