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Research Interests

Women are born with a finite number of germ cells (GC), which cannot be replaced. Understanding of how female reproductive potential is established is thus central to knowledge of human fertility and its disorders, how early development might impact on adult function, and to any attempt to alter its regulation. We have now established a programme of studies which address not which factors might be relevant to these processes in the fetal ovary and directly address their functional roles and interactions in the human. These studies are informed by animal data, although often requiring refinement to translate both growth factor expression patterns and function to the human. Our work has included GC development leading up to primordial follicle formation, as the essential structures underpinning female fertility. We also study earlier stages in GC and gonadal development, when GCs are proliferating rapidly and subsequently entering meiosis.  This is itself a key event both limiting further GC proliferation and being the first stage towards ensuring correct oocyte chromosomal arrangement for successful fertilisation and embryo formation. Understanding of both intrinsic and extrinsic GC factors regulating proliferation and survival, and the regulation of entry into meiosis is crucial for a fuller picture of how the ovary develops. Together with Dr Evelyn Telfer, we are developing recent advances in laboratory techniques to support human oocyte development in vitro from primordial follicles through antral stages to full maturation, meiotic resumption and potentially analysis of developmental potential.

These laboratory-based studies are complimented by clinical studies addressing reproductive function in women with accelerated follicle loss from cancer therapies.  These studies will improve understanding of the impact of chemotherapy on ovarian function to determine the mechanisms of this toxicity, explore clinical assessment methods, and to allow improved patient information.

Current research projects

  • Human ovarian development
  • Development of ovarian cryopreservation for fertility preservation
  • Regulation of human follicle growth
  • Effects of chemotherapy on oocyte and follicle development
  • Regulation of the HPG axis by kisspeptin

Recent awards for research group

2015 - Dr Roseanne Rosario - Travel award for XVIth International Workshop on the Development and Function of the Reproductive Organs, Munster.

2015 - Dr J George et al - Endocrine Society Outstanding Abstract Award, ENDO 2015.

2015 - Dr K Skorupskaite - Trainee award to attend ENDO 2015.

2015 - Dr K Skorupskaite - Travel award to COST Training School in ‘Neuroendocrine Control of Reproduction’, Prato, Italy.

2015 - Dr K Skorupskaite -‘Kisspeptin-10 enhances the effects of positive estrogen feedback on LH and FSH secretion in women’. Selected SE Scotland trainee presentation for Annual Scottish O&G consultants meeting, Dunkeld; subsequent prize abstract award.

2014 - Dr CE Dunlop - ‘Scrambling an ovary to make and egg: the isolation, characterisation and in vitro culture of ovarian stem cells’. Selected SE Scotland trainee presentation for Annual Scottish O&G consultants meeting, Dunkeld.

2013 - Dr K Skorupskaite - Travel award to COST Scientific Meeting and Training School in Berlin.

2013 - 2nd prize Myre Sim Award (best paper by members of RCPE 2009-2012) for George JT, Veldhuis JD, Roseweir AK, Newton CL, Faccenda E, Millar RP and Anderson RA Kisspeptin-10 Is a Potent Stimulator of LH and Increases Pulse Frequency in Men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2011; 96: E1228-E1236.

2012 - Dr AJ Childs - The Genetics Society Genes and Development summer studentship and training course grant.

2012 - Dr J George Michael Harbuz - (Young Investigator) prize, British Society for Neuroendocrinology.

2012 - Dr J George - Clinical Endocrinology Trust: best clinical abstract, and oral communication prize for Highly Commended Clinical Research, British Endocrine Society annual meeting.

2012 - Dr J George - Academy of Medical Sciences/Medical Research Society/Royal College of Physicians Clinician Scientists In Training Meeting: Best Abstract Prize in Obstetrics & Gynaecology category.

2012 - Dr J George - Diabetes UK annual meeting: Nick Hales Young Investigator Award.

2011 - Dr J George - Royal College of Physicians Samuel Leonard Simpson fellowship to fund visits to MGH.

2011 - Dr J George Etzwiler - Scholar at the Mayo clinic/Uni of MN to strengthen further ongoing collaborations.

2011 - Dr J George - Innovation Initiative Grant from the University of Edinburgh Development Trust.

2011 - Dr J George - Association of British Diabetologists prize, Nov 2011.

2010 - Dr AJ Childs - ESHRE annual meeting, Fertility Society of Australian Society exchange prize.

2010 -Dr J George - Endocrine Society (USA) - Outstanding Abstract Award.

External Research Support

1/07/2010-30/06/2013 MRC project grant G0901839 - £610,375

Activation of human ovarian follicles and derivation of competent oocytes

With EE Telfer and KJ Thong


1/05/2011-28/04/2016 MRC Programme grant G1100357 - £2.24m

Establishment and loss of reproductive lifespan in women


1/06/2010-31/05/2013 Medical Research Scotland - £121,000

Fellowship award (Dr AJ Childs)                                                            

Establishing reproductive potential: regulation of germ cell development in the

human fetal ovary


1/04/2011-31/03/2016 Medical Research Council Centre grant  - £1,086,000

Establishment of MRC/University of Edinburgh Centre for Reproductive Health

With PTK Saunders, HOD Critchley, JE Norman


1/9/2011-31/8/2014 MRC project grant G1002118 - £707,809

Systematic investigation of the effect of chemotherapeutic agents on the ovary using ovarian follicle culture systems

With N Spears, C Gourley and EE Telfer


Oct 2012-Sept 2015 NHMRC Grant APP1051720 - AUS$562,892

Investigation of a new idea that what happens in fetal life can determine the risk of developing polycystic ovary syndrome when an adult

With R Rodgers (University of Adelaide)


MRC project grant MR/L00299X/1 - £250,000

Developmental and meiotic potential of oocytes derived from human ovarian germ line stem cells

With EE Telfer


August 2013-July 2016 Wellcome Trust 102419/Z/13/A - £246,118

Scottish Translational Medicine and Therapeutics Initiative fellowship for

Dr Karolina Skorupskaite


NHMRC (Australia) APP1058397 - AUS$440,000

Bid is a critical regulator of female germ cell death, oocyte number and fertility;

K Hutt and RA Anderson; 2015-2018


European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology - €150,000

Can tyrosine kinase inhibitors protect the ovary against chemotherapy-induced damage?;

N Spears, RA Anderson, FG Klinger; M De Felici; F Lopes; 2015-2018



External activities

Chair, RCOG Scientific Advisory Committee 2009-date

Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, Contraception and Reproductive Health Branch, National Institutes for Health, USA 2005-date

Member, WHO Research Group in Methods for the Regulation of Male Fertility 1999-date

HFEA Multiple Births group RCOG representative, 2011-date

Member ESHRE Task Force on Fertility Preservation 2011-date

Member, ESHRE guideline group; ‘Primary Ovarian Insufficiency’ 2011-date

Member Scottish Multicentre Research Ethics Committee 2006-2012

Scottish representative, Reproductive Health and Childbirth Specialty Group, UK Clinical Research Network, National Institute for Health Research 2008-2012

ESHRE Special Interest Group ‘Reproductive Endocrinology’; deputy coordinator, 2008-2011

Member, Royal College of Surgeons of England Working Party on Cosmetic Surgery (2010-2012)

Member, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Working Party on Fetal Awareness (published 2010).

Member, Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, no 132: Long term follow up of survivors of childhood cancer; a national clinical guideline. Published March 2013.

Editorial Board member, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2009-2014

Editorial Board member, The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, 2008-2011


Teaching and Examining

2009-date Chair, Reproductive Biology 3 Course Assessment Group. External examiner, MSc in Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Imperial College London 2006-2009

External examiner MMedSci in ART, University of Nottingham, 2009-2012

External examiner final BM University of Southampton, 2010-2014

External examiner MBBS University of Hong Kong 2012


Media activities and Public Understanding of Science

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh annual symposium, ‘Ethics for Young People’

Panel member since 2008.

Regular contributor to annual Christie Hospital Manchester ‘Survivorship’ course for young adult cancer survivors (since 2009).


Invited Presentations

 Department of Haematology, Leeds 18 March 2010

‘Current status of fertility preservation in cancer patients’


Edinburgh Science Festival, 12 April 2010

‘Sex determination: more than X versus Y’


Symposium: The Emerging role of AMH in Reproductive Medicine, Glasgow 7 May 2010

‘The biology of AMH’


Nottingham University meeting on fertility preservation 21 May 2010

‘Ovarian tissue cryopreservation: issues and challenges’


British Congress of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Belfast 20-22 June 2010

‘Advances in cryopreservation: techniques, clinical and societal implications’


ESHRE annual meeting precongress course speaker, Rome 2010

‘Current understanding of ovulation’


ESHRE Joint SIG Campus meeting, Dubrovnik 24-25 September 2010

‘Predicting fertility: ovarian reserve testing’


Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 7 October 2010

Symposium: Diabetes and Endocrinology: learning from other specialties.

‘Androgen deficiency in older men…and women’


NHS Lothian GP Laboratory Medicine update meeting 14 October 2010

‘Diagnosis of PCOS in primary care’


RCOG/ESHRE meeting, Reproductive Surgery in the 21st Century 2 February 2011

‘Progress and uncertainties in fertility preservation’


Welsh Obstetrics and Gynaecology meeting, 25 March 2011

Problems of high BMI and nutrition pre-pregnancy and in the first trimester


BFS and RCOG Subfertility and Reproductive Endocrinology course 4 April 2011

The hypogonadal man: induction of spermatogenesis and long-term hormone replacement


US Oncofertility consortium Virtual Grand round 16 May 2011

Northwestern University, Chicago

‘Female fertility preservation: where we are, and how we got here.’


Serono Symposium: ‘Patient’s subgroups to presonalise infertility treatment’ Copenhagen  27 May 2011

‘Epigenetics of the male gamete’


Society for Reproduction and Fertility annual meeting 13 July 2011

‘The lead up to primordial follicle formation in the human ovary’


School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Newcastle NSW Australia 12 September 2011

‘Towards understanding of human primordial follicle formation’


Westmead Hospital Fertility Day, Sydney 14 September 2011

‘How much time do I have? Anti-Müllerian hormone, the ultimate reproductive hormone.’


Westmead Hospital Fertility Day, Sydney 14 September 2011

‘Fertility preservation: real progress but what don’t we know?’


Melbourne IVF, Melbourne Australia 15 September 2011

‘The finite life of the ovary: making and breaking eggs’


Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Dermatology Symposium 21 September 2011

‘Too much hair’


Insight 2011, Glasgow 6 October 2011

‘Managing the challenging patient: Oncology patients’


British Fertility Society Annual Meeting, 6 January 2012

‘Do young women diagnosed with cancer have options for preserving fertility?’


University of Hong Kong Department of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 13 March 2012

‘Polycystic ovarian syndrome: recent advances in diagnosis and management’


Hong Kong College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 18 March 2012

Symposium on Cancer and Fertility

‘AMH and cancer treatment: prediction and assessment’


Hong Kong College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 18 March 2012

Symposium on Cancer and Fertility

‘Fertility preservation: the place of ovarian tissue cryopreservation’


ESHRE Campus, AMH Update, Lille, 10 May 2012

‘AMH and cancer treatment: assessment and prediction of ovarian function’


UK annual NEQAS meeting, Edinburgh 24 September 2012

‘The role of AMH analysis in assisted conception’


NIH/ASRM conference on The Ovarian Reserve; San Diego, 25 October 2012

‘The emerging role of AMH as a marker of the ovarian reserve across the reproductive lifespan’


The present and the future of Fertility Preservation, Palermo Sicily 3 November 2013

‘Effects of chemotherapy on the ovarian reserve’


RCPath & ACB Meeting on Biochemical Endocrinology, London  5 March 2013

‘Clinical uses of AMH’


Hot topic in Reproductive Endocrinology 2013, RCOG 3 June 2013

‘Kisspeptin and fertility’


British Congress of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Liverpool, 24 July 2013

‘Fertility preservation in girls and women.’


Borders General Hospital O&G Dept 25th Anniversary meeting, 29 August 2013

‘Fertility preservation: where do we stand in 2013?’


Symposium ‘Development, Diseases and Evolution of Endocrine Organs’ Mt St Odile, France


STIRMAS annual meeting, Cambridge, 27 September 2013

‘Establishment & loss of reproductive lifespan in women’


3rd World Congress of the International Society for Fertility Preservation, Valencia 7-9 November 2013

‘Cancer-induced changes in the testis and spermatozoa’


BSPED 41st annual meeting, Brighton 14 November 2013

‘Fertility preservation in boys and girls’


Ovarian Club III, Paris, 15 November 2013

‘Does AMH have a role in the diagnosis of PCOS?’


AURDM Symposium, University of Sheffield 22 November 2013

‘Will we ever develop a male contraceptive pill?’


ESHRE Campus symposium on POI, Utrecht 6-7 December 2013

‘The regulation of primordial follicle activation’

‘Are there medical treatments to enhance fertility in POI?’


Hong Kong Hospital Authority commissioned training, 26-28 February 2014

‘Ovarian reserve markers’

‘Diagnosis and Management of adolescent oligomenorrhoea and amenorrhoea’

‘Kisspeptin and other neuropeptides: New opportunities for reproductive endocrinology’


14th Bergmeyer Conference “Women’s Health”, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, March 3-5 2013

‘Regulation of follicular growth’


ESHRE Campus symposium on Fertility Preservation, Amsterdam, 14-15 March 2014

‘Fertility preservation in post pubertal women and prepuberal girls; treatment options, actual practice and treatment outcomes’


BFS/RCOG The Assisted Conception Theoretical Course, 4 April 2014

State of the ART lecture: ‘Ovulation 2024’.


University of Malaysia, Sabah, 10 June 2014

‘Assessment and prediction of female reproductive lifespan’


Swiss Congress of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Swiss Society of Reproductive Medicine symposium ‘Prospective family planning: new possibilities’. Interlaken, 27 June 2014

‘Can ovarian insufficiency be predicted in time?’


Society for the Study of Reproduction annual meeting, Grand Rapids, USA, 20-22 July 2014

‘Fertility preservation in girls and young women’


World Congress of Reproductive Biology satellite symposium, Edinburgh, 1 September 2014

‘The regulation of human germ cell development in the lead up to primordial follicle formation’


3rd European Symposium on Late Complications after Childhood Cancer, Edinburgh, 15 Sept 2014

‘Fertility preservation for young people with cancer: prediction and assessment of risk’


Middle East Fertility Society annual meeting, Abu Dhabi, 27 Sept 2014

‘Anti-Mullerian hormone: IVF and beyond’


Insights meeting, Manchester, 9 Oct 2014

‘Oncology patients: why is there a need for Fertility Preservation?’



American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Honolulu, 21 Oct 2014

‘Personalising fertility preservation: prediction and assessment of risk’


Ulster Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society, 24 October 2014

‘Fertility preservation for all, or just a select few?’


Fertility preservation for cancer to benign diseases and social reasons, Rome, 31 October 2014

‘Performing fertility preservation in adult women: from oncology to social reasons’


VIII Sofia Symposium on Reproductive Medicine, Sofia, 6 Nov 2014

‘Patient selection for fertility preservation’


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Medicine, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1994

Bachelor of Medicine, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1988

Bachelor of Surgery, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1988

Doctor in Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1986

Bachelor of Science, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1982


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