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Personal profile

Research Interests

I am a reproductive biologist, with a primary focus on investigating how chemotherapy treatment can impact on subsequent fertility.

Biography

  • Professor of Reproductive Physiology, University of Edinburgh, 2014 to present
  • Reader, University of Edinburgh, 2002 to 2014
  • Royal Society University Research Fellow, 1994-2002
  • MRC Training Fellowship, 1990-1994
  • Postdoctoral Scientist, University of Berkeley at California, 1987-1988

Qualifications

  • DPhil, University of Oxford, 1986
  • BSc (Hons) in Ecological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, 1982

My research in a nutshell

Due to improved survival rates from many cancers, there is increasing attention on how chemotherapy treatment can adversely affect subsequent quality of life: for young people, in particular, this includes effects on fertility. We are investigating the direct effect on the ovary and testis of some of the drugs most commonly used to treat young patients. Research also examines whether it is possible to protect the gonad against such damage.  I have been involved in setting up Edinburgh Fertility Preservation, a consortium of clinicians and scientists working to optimise fertility for children and young adults with cancer.

 

http://www.ed.ac.uk/integrative-physiology/staff-profiles/research-groups/norah-spears

 

http://www.ed.ac.uk/integrative-physiology/edinburgh-fertility-preservation

Research Groups

Centre for Integrative Physiology

Edinburgh Fertility Preservation

Administrative Roles

 

2015 on: member of Biomedical Sciences Management Board.

2013 on: Chair of the Biomedical Teaching Organisation Board of Studies.

2012 on: Chair of School of Biomedical Science’s Academic Opportunities Committee, and lead on successful Athena Swan application for Silver renewal.

 

Teaching

Undergraduate

Year 2 Biomedical Sciences 2

Year 3 Physiology 3; Reproductive Biology 3 (Course Organiser)

Year 4 Honours core programmes: Honours Physiology; Honours Reproductive Biology

Honours electives: Development and Disease; Reproductive Systems

 

Postgraduate (MSc) MSc by Research Biomedical Sciences (Life Sciences)         

I have regularly been nominated for EUSA Teaching Awards since they started, including: 2014/15 - Best Research or Dissertation Supervisor Award (3 nominations); 2013/14 - Teaching in Medicine (1 nomination); 2012/13 - Best Feedback Award (1 nomination); 2012/13 - Best Course Award - Reproductive Biology 3 (3 nominations).

 

Media

Video on: Culture and co-culture of mouse ovaries and ovarian follicles. (JoVE - Morgan S, Campbell L, Allison V, Murray A, Spears N. (2015). See: http://www.jove.com/video/52458

 

Research students

Current postgraduate students

Second supervisor of: PhD student Mona Hendaway 2015-2018

 

Previous PhD/MPhil/MScResearch students.

First supervisor of:

Ellie Smart 2014-2015 (self-funded MSc by research)

Agnes Steffansdottir 2010-14 (BBSRC-AstraZenica CASE 4 Year PhD studentship).

Stephanie Morgan 2009-2013 (BBSRC 4 Year PhD studentship).

Panayiotis Filis (Wellcome 4Yr PhD studentship, 2006-9).

Tamsin Lannagan (BBSRC PhD studentship, 2004-8).

Anna Swales (BBSRC PhD studentship, 2001-5).

Alison Murray (PhD while employed on Wellcome Trust grant, 1996-2000).

Stuart Baker (PhD while employed on MRC grant, 1995-9).

Second supervisor of:

Bryony Davidson, Engineering (Carnegie Trust PhD studentship, 2005-9).

Leeanne McGurk (MPhil while employed on MRC grant, 2002-4).

External positions

Editorial Board Member, Reproduction

1 Oct 2015 → …

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