skip to content

Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience



imagePiraye Yurttas Beim
Founder, Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Celmatix Inc, USA
Dr. Piraye Yurttas Beim is a Founder, Director, and the Chief Scientific Officer of Celmatix Inc., a venture-backed biotechnology company based in New York City (USA). Celmatix, in partnership with fertility clinics throughout the United States, is conducting the first large scale genomic studies of female infertility with the goal of developing non-invasive diagnostic tools to improve reproductive health outcomes for female infertility and to alert women to risk factors early in their lives. They are also developing analytical tools that will allow fertility doctors to make better use of electronic medical data that is routinely gathered during the course of evaluation and treatment. These tools will aid in clarifying causes of reproductive difficulties. They will also help to optimize and personalize treatment strategies and IVF protocols. Dr. Beim performed her postdoctoral work in the field of mammalian pre-implantation embryology at the Gurdon Institute of the University of Cambridge (UK) and her doctoral work on mouse maternal effect genes at Cornell University, Weill Medical College/Sloan Kettering Institute in New York City (USA). Dr. Beim holds a BA in Plan II Honors and a BS in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin (USA).


imageSusan Bewley
Professor of Complex Obstetrics, Kings College London and Honorary Clinical Director Obstetrics, NHS London, UK
Susan Bewley is an obstetrician of 30 years standing with a degree in medical law and ethics. She was the first woman trained in Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the UK and has wide-ranging research interests, particularly relating to severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Susan organised the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Expert Study Group on Reproductive Ageing, and has edited other books including the award-winning textbook ‘Training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology’ as well as books on ‘Violence against Women’, ‘Ethics in Obstetrics and Gynaecology’ and ‘Abuse in the Doctor-Patient relationship’. She was the obstetrician member of the 2010-2012 UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence Updated Fertility Guideline Development Group. Her continuing interest and publications regarding harms associated with ART arose from her clinical experience looking after pregnant women as a consultant at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals for 17 years.


imageJonathan Van Blerkom
Professor, University of Colorado, USA
Jonathan Van Blerkom is a Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder and Laboratory Director at Colorado Reproductive Endocrinology at the Rose Medical Center in Denver (USA). He has been engaged in studies of molecular and cellular aspects of mammalian development since 1970 and beginning in 1982, clinician IVF and studies of human follicles, oocytes and embryos. Professor Van Blerkom has published over 100 original articles, numerous reviews, and coauthored or edited six books dealing with early mammalian development, including the human. He has been an invited speaker at numerous international conferences and symposia. His current research has focused on the role(s) of mitochondria in early development, and how the molecular organization and remodeling of the plasma membrane establishes developmental competence for the human oocyte and early embryo.


image Peter Braude
Peter Braude was Head of the Department of Women's Health at King’s College London (UK) until his retirement in 2011. He directed the Centre for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis at Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital, which is the most active and successful of the HFEA licensed programmes in the UK. Previously, whilst in Cambridge (UK), he lead one of the first groups to be funded by the UK Medical Research Council to carry out research using human embryos fertilised in vitro, towards an understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms operating at these early stages of development. His group at King's established the first human embryonic stem cell lines in the UK, and the first internationally to contain the common ∆F508 deletion for cystic fibrosis - now lodged with the UK Stem Cell Bank. He has published widely on the science and ethics of these emerging techniques. He was a former member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He currently sits on the committee for the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs.


imageDaniel Brison
Scientific Director, St Mary’s Hospital, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK

Daniel Brison is a Consultant Clinical Scientist in the NHS and Scientific Director of the clinical Department of Reproductive Medicines, which offers infertility treatment services to the North West of England. He has managerial responsibilities for the clinical department, and is directly responsible for the Andrology and Embryology laboratories. He holds the post of Person Responsible to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for research licences in embryo research (licence R0026) and embryonic stem cells (R0171). He co-directs (with Professor Sue Kimber) the NW Embryonic Stem Cell Centre (NWESCC) based in the Central Manchester Trust and the University of Manchester. He is a member of the British Fertility Society Executive committee, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee, and vice-chair of the UK Clinical Embryonic Stem Cells Forum. He is also the regional tutor for the NW region in Clinical Embryology training.


imageJan Brosens
Head, Division of Reproductive Health, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, UK
Professor Jan Brosens graduated from the Catholic University Leuven (Belgium) in 1990 and pursued postgraduate training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the United Kingdom. He became a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1995 and a Fellow of the College in 2008. He obtained a PhD from the University of London (UK) in 1999, working on the mechanisms underpinning the preparation of the lining of the womb (endometrium) for pregnancy, a process called decidualization. He was awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinical Scientist Fellowship in 1998. He joined Imperial College London as Chair of Reproductive Sciences in 2004 and then became Chair of Reproductive Medicine in 2008. In May 2011, he was appointed as Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Warwick (UK). In this capacity, he also leads the newly established Division of Reproductive Health, one of five academic divisions that make up Warwick Medical School. He is a member of the editorial boards of Molecular Endocrinology and Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology and has authored over 120 papers, as well as numerous book chapters, on clinical and molecular aspects of reproduction and cancer.


imageAlexander Bruce
Assistant Professor, Developmental Biology and Genetics,
University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic

Alexander Bruce studied for his Bachelors degree in Biochemistry at the University of Leeds (UK). He gained his PhD in the laboratory of Professor Noel Buckley (Leeds), investigating the regulation of neuronal-specific gene expression employing bioinformatics and emerging microarray-based genomics methods that centred on the transcription factor REST. He developed his interest in the role of transcription factors in regulating gene expression during his first post-doc at the Sanger Institute, Cambridge (UK), where he worked as a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in the group of Dr David Vetrie. In 2007, Alex moved to the laboratory of Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, at the Gurdon Institute in the University of Cambridge (UK) to apply his experience to understanding the mechanisms underpinning the earliest cell-fate decisions in pre-implantation stage mouse embryos. He currently holds a lectureship at the University of South Bohemia and heads a research laboratory aiming to further understanding of how the early mouse embryo develops, with particular respect to transcriptional control of gene expression.


imageSusan Crockin
Principal, Crockin Law and Policy Group and Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law Center/Eastern Virginia Medical School, USA

Susan L. Crockin, JD, is principal of the Crockin Law and Policy Group, LLC, and is an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law Center where she teaches Reproductive Technology Law and Comparative Reproductive Technology Law, and an adjunct professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, where she lectures on the legal aspects of the ARTs at the Jones Institute. In 1988, she developed one of the first legal practices in the US devoted exclusively to the intertwined legal aspects of the assisted reproductive technologies and adoption, and currently represents and consults to medical ART and donor programs, institutions, adoption agencies, and individuals nationwide. She helped draft the Massachusetts infertility mandate in 1987-88; writes and lectures extensively on the legal and ethical aspects of reproductive technology including egg and embryo donation; reproductive genetics; fertility preservation and embryo law; and has taught bioethics, law and policy courses. Susan has published three books, most recently Legal Conceptions: The Evolving Law and Policy of Assisted Reproductive Technologies co-authored with Dr Howard Jones (JHU, 2010). Her other publications include: Adoption and Reproductive Technology Law in Massachusetts (MCLE, 2000) and Family Building Through Egg and Sperm Donation: Medical, Legal and Ethical Issues (co-editor); numerous chapters, articles, and ‘Legally Speaking’, a national legal column on the ARTs. As a longstanding member of the ABA’s committee on reproductive technologies and genetics, she helped draft the original Model ART Act, and is a founding member the American Academy of Reproductive Technology Attorneys. She is currently working on efforts to develop both a national donor gamete registry and model consent forms for 3rd party ART procedures. Susan received her JD from Northeastern University School of Law and her BA from Tufts University, summa cum laude .


imageHans Evers
Professor, Maastricht University Medical Center, The Netherlands
Professor JLH (Hans) Evers, MD PhD FRCOG, is the Past-Chairman of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), of the Dutch National Committee on Research in Human Subjects, and of the World Endometriosis Society. He has been Associate Editor of Human Reproduction Update and of Human Reproduction, of which latter journal he is now the Deputy Editor. He has been on the Editorial Board of Fertility and Sterility, and of several other journals. Hans Evers is Director and Trustee of the World Endometriosis Research Foundation.
Hans Evers has (co) authored well over 250 original articles in peer-review journals. Among the honours and awards he has received are the fellowship ad eundem of the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Established Clinician Award of ESHRE. He is a recipient of the World Infertility Award of the American Infertility Association.



Sarah Franklin
Sociology Professor, University of Cambridge, UK
Sarah Franklin holds the Professorship of Sociology at the University of Cambridge (UK) where she is part of a team, with Professor Martin Johnson and Dr Nick Hopwood, researching the history of mammalian developmental biology in the UK, with a focus on the emergence of human IVF. Professor Franklin is the author, editor, co-author and co-editor of 15 books and more than 150 articles and chapters on IVF, PGD, cloning, stem cells and embryo research. She has worked closely with clinicians and patients, as well as policymakers and bioethicists, addressing the social and cultural aspects of new reproductive technologies since 1984. Her work has been funded by the MRC, ESRC, EC, Wenner Gren Foundation, Leverhulme Trust and Wellcome Trust. Her forthcoming book from Duke University Press (2013) is entitled Biological Relatives: IVF, Stem Cells, and the Future of Kinship.


imageRoger Gosden
Retired Professor and Research Director, Weill-CornellMedical College of Cornell University, New York, USA
Roger Gosden began graduate studies in Cambridge in 1970 under Bob Edwards, earning a PhD in 1974 and a DSc. (Edinburgh) in 1989. After fellowships in Cambridge and Duke Universities, he moved to the Edinburgh Medical School in 1976 where he was on the faculty for 18 years. Appointed to the first chair of reproductive biology at Leeds University in 1994, he transferred to McGill University (Canada) as Scientific Director of Reproductive Biology in 1999 and subsequently to the endowed chair and directorship of the Jones Institute in Norfolk, Virginia. A visiting professor at the Universities of Southern California, Naples, Washington, Hong Kong and Sun Yat-Sen, he has also served as a journal editor and consultant to industry and governments in Europe and North America. His research focused on egg development and fertility conservation technology for cancer patients, but he also publishes in the public media, including two books for general readers. His last appointment was at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City together with his wife, Dr Lucinda Veeck Gosden, the embryologist on the first successful IVF program in America. Since 2010 they have been retired in Williamsburg, Virginia.


imageDennis Lo
Director and Professor of Medicine, Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, Hong Kong
Dennis received his undergraduate education from Emmanuel College at the University of Cambridge (UK). He was awarded his Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Oxford (UK). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society. His research interests focus on the biology and diagnostic applications of cell-free nucleic acids in plasma. In particular, he discovered the presence of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma in 1997 and has since then been pioneering non-invasive prenatal diagnosis using this technology. Clinical tests based on this technology are already in use in many centres around the world for Down syndrome detection, RhD blood group typing and the investigation of sex-linked disorders.


imageMellissa Mann
Associate Professor, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario
Dr. Mellissa Mann is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Biochemistry at The University of Western Ontario, and a Scientist at the Children’s Health Research Institute (Canada). Dr. Mann has been awarded a CIHR Institute of Gender and Health/Ontario Women’s Health Council New Investigator, a March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Award, and a Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award. Most recently, Dr. Mann received a CHRI Scientist of the Year Award. Dr. Mann’s research has been supported by grants from CIHR and NSERC. Research in the Mann laboratory explores epigenetic mechanisms that control gene expression during mammalian embryogenesis, with specific emphasis on genomic imprinting. Dr. Mann’s laboratory is investigating assisted reproduction technologies (ARTs) in a mouse model system to determine their effects on genomic imprinting and development. Additional investigations focus on identifying the molecules involved in regulating genomic imprinting during embryonic and fetal development. This research will provide the biologic basis for treatment of human infertility by ARTs with the aim of minimizing affects on child health.


imageMarcos Meseguer
Statistics Assessor and Scientific Updater, IVI Valencia and Associate Professor, Valencia University, Spain
Dr Marcos Meseguer received his Biological Sciences Degree in 1997 from the University of Valencia (Spain). He performed a pre-doctoral fellowship in St Mary´s Hospital, Manchester University (UK). He received his PhD Degree in Obstetrics and Gynecoloy in 2002 from the University of Valencia and the European Doctor Degree from the same university. He has also a masters degree in Research Methods; Design and Statistics from Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (Spain). He was Co-Director of the Andrology Laboratory at the Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad (IVI) from 2000 to 2004. Actually is Senior Embriologist in the IVF unit of IVI Valencia. He has received the prize paper of the Society of Reproduction and Infertility (ASRM). Four times the Lalor Foundation International Award from the American Society of Andrology and twice the reasearch award from the Spanish Society of Fertility. The primary areas of his research are embryology, male infertility and assisted reproduction in HIV/VHC serodiscordant couples. He has published over 85 articles and 40 reviews or book chapters, made more than 250 presentations at national and international congresses. He is also currently statistics assessor and scientific updater of IVI Valencia the biggest infertility clinic in Spain and one of the most important in Europe, and associate professor of the Master in Biotechnology from Valencia University.


imageMaria-Elena Torres-Padilla
Institut de Genetique et de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC), France

Maria-Elena did her undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Sciences of the UNAM (Mexico) and obtained her PhD at the Institute Pasteur (Paris, France) in 2002. She was a postdoctoral fellow at The Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge (UK) between 2002 and 2006. She then worked as scientist with Laszlo Tora until 2008. She leads the team ‘Epigenetics and cell fate in early mammalian development’ at the IGBMC in Strasbourg, France since December 2008.
Research in Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla's laboratory focuses on understanding how early mouse development is regulated by chromatin-mediated changes in gene regulation, that is, by epigenetic information and in particular, understanding how the transitions in cell potency and cell fate are regulated by chromatin-mediated processes.
This work will allow new insights in biology of the pluripotent stem cells, in particular on their origin and development. From a more broader perspective, deciphering the basic mechanisms underlying the earliest steps of mammalian development is essential to understand early aspects of embryonic development human reproduction and stem cell biology.


imagePeter Parham
Principal Investigator, Stanford University, USA
Growing up in London, Peter Parham studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University (UK) and then went as a Kennedy Scholar to Harvard University (USA), where he obtained a PhD for structural studies on HLA class I molecules performed in Jack Strominger’s laboratory. As a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows Parham spent a year in Walter Bodmer’s group at Oxford University (UK), where with Frances Brodsky he developed monoclonal antibodies against HLA class I and II molecules. Peter Parham joined the faculty at Stanford University (USA) in 1980, where he is now Professor of Structural Biology and Microbiology and Immunology. Parham’s research concentrates on the genetics and evolution of MHC class I polymorphisms and their functional interactions with rapidly evolving and comparably polymorphic lymphocyte receptors. Peter Parham has received the Rose Payne, Ceppellini and Festenstein Awards for Immunogenetics, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.


imageBert Smeets
Bert Smeets, PhD, is Professor in Clinical Genomics with a focus on Mitochondrial Disorders. He is an internationally distinguished molecular geneticist and an established clinical genetics laboratory specialist and trainer. He studied Molecular Biology at the University of Nijmegen (The Netherlands), where he did a PhD on myotonic dystrophy. He worked for 10 years in Nijmegen, and since 1995 at MaastrichtUMC (The Netherlands), where he became Professor in 2010, combining research with genetic testing services. His research initially focused on inherited neuromuscular and kidney diseases, but later concentrated on the genomics of mitochondrial disorders. These devastating disorders are clinically and genetically highly heterogeneous with probably more than 1500 genes involved, either in the mitochondrial or the nuclear DNA. His research involves identifying the genetic defect, studying the pathophysiology, characterizing new treatment options and preventing the transmission, the latter by preimplantation genetic diagnosis. He has published more than 160 original research articles, reviews and book chapters. His group contains 60 people, involved in clinical genomics research and services, and exploits central genomics facilities for MaastrichtUMC and the adjoining international Euregio with universities from Belgium and Germany. Bert has acquired almost €7 million research funding in the last 15 years.


imageGijs Teklenburg
Medical Biologist and Medical Doctor in training for Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
Gijs is presently in his fourth year of clinical training at the University Medical Center Utrech (The Netherlands). Preceding the training program, he worked at the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Oxford (UK), and adopted an in vitro model to study human embryo implantation. As a PhD student he worked with Professor Macklon (Southampton, UK) in close collaboration with Professor Brosens (Warwick, UK) and studied human embryo-endometrial interactions in vitro. He and his colleagues found that the endometrium may play a crucial role in natural human embryo selection. They suggest that this mechanism is disprupted in recurrent miscarriage patients. The conclusions of these studies are published in his PhD thesis (2010). Gijs has shown to be a team member in different international research groups and is an enthusiastic young medical professional. He’s got the ambition to innovate infertility treatment options and is driven to improve patient care for couples with infertility.


imageAlan Trounson
President, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), USA
Alan Trounson, PhD is President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in San Francisco, California, the state’s $3billion stem cell agency. Prior to joining CIRM in January 2008, Trounson was Director of the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories at Monash University (Australia). Dr Trounson founded the National Biotechnology Centre of Excellence – ‘Australian Stem Cell Centre’. He was a pioneer of human in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and associated reproductive technologies; the diagnosis of inherited genetic disease in pre-implantation embryos; the discovery and production of human embryonic stem cells and of their directed differentiation into a wide range of cell and tissue types. He is currently driving basic research in stem cell biology and medicine and facilitating the translation of stem cell discoveries into clinical treatments for patients. He has globalized these endeavours by linking California to all the leading nations working on human stem cell science.


imageErica Watson
Next Generation Fellow, Centre for Trophoblast Research
Dept of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, UK
Erica Watson received her Bachelors degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary (Canada). She gained her PhD in the laboratory of Professor James Cross in 2008, where she investigated the function of a chaperone protein in cell architecture organization during trophoblast and neural progenitor cell differentiation. In 2009, Erica was awarded a Next Generation Fellowship from the Centre for Trophoblast Research to undergo an independent research programme examining the intergenerational and transgenerational transmission of embryonic and placental phenotypes caused by abnormal folate metabolism.

Session Chairs

 imageJacques Cohen
Director, Tyho-Galileo Research Laboratories, USA
Jacques Cohen is one of the founders of Reprogenetics, an independent PGD service based in the USA and director of Tyho-Galileo Research Laboratories – an organization that promotes and conducts human fertilization and preimplantation research. He was one of the founders of IVF-Online. He was trained in the 70s at Erasmus University in Rotterdam (Holland) as a Reproductive Scientist specialized in in vitro fertilization and cryobiology. He was an embryologist at Bourn Hall Clinic (UK) and moved to the USA in 1985. He has authored more than 300 publications, several textbooks and 12 patents. He is the Senior Editor of Reproductive Biomedicine Online and was the North-American Editor of Zygote. He was one of the founders of Alpha – Scientists in Reproductive Medicine and one of the founders of PGDIS. He is associated with several laboratories involved in IVF and PGD both in Europe and the USA. His interests are embryonic viability, cryopreservation and developing tests and web-based applications for IVF laboratories.


imageAnne Ferguson-Smith
Professor of Developmental Genetics and Wellcome Senior Investigator at the University of Cambridge, UK
Anne studies genomic imprinting in development and disease and as a paradigm for analysing the epigenetic control of genome function in mammals. In particular, her current research themes are:
(a) mechanisms regulating the epigenetic programme in stem cells in vitro and in vivo
(b) functional integration of the genome and epigenome
(c) modulation of the epigenetic control of gene dosage in normal and abnormal development and physiology.


imageSimon Fishel
Managing Director, CARE Fertility Group, UK
Professor Simon Fishel is the Managing Director of the CARE Fertility Group – the UK’s largest independent provider of fertility services. He began his research career at the University of Cambridge (UK) in 1975 with Bob Edwards, and joined Patrick Steptoe and Bob at Bourn Hall when it opened in 1980. In the same year he was appointed a Research Fellow at Churchill College, and on the same night as Bob Edwards! He has published over 200 papers and his pioneering work in the field of IVF has resulted in many honorary awards from countries such as Japan, Austria, Italy, South Africa and the US, amongst others. In 1992, he founded the world first degree course in IVF and he has advised several international Government committees reviewing policy and legislation on IVF, including advisors to the Vatican. In 1997, he was awarded a Personal Professional Chair in Human Reproduction and in 2009, was honoured the award 'University Fellow' by Liverpool John Moores University (UK) for 'outstanding contribution to science and to humanity'.


imageRichard Gardner
Richard Gardner studied Natural Sciences at St Catharine’s College Cambridge (UK) before doing a PhD in the University’s Physiology Department under the supervision of the Bob Edwards. In 1973 he was appointed to a University Lectureship in Zoology at Oxford where, from 1978 until his retirement in 2008, he held a Royal Society Research Professorship. His research interests include investigating the lineage and patterning of cells in early mammalian development and the biology and properties of the various types of stem cells derived from early embryos.

He was awarded the Zoological Society’s Scientific Medal in 1977 and was elected to the Royal Society in 1979. He received the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology in 1999, the Royal Society’s Royal Medal in 2001, and a Knighthood in 2005. For many years he chaired the Royal Society’s working group on ‘human embryo research’, and served recently as President of the Institute of Biology (now the Society of Biology).


imageColin Howles
Vice President of Regional Medical Affairs Fertility in the Global Department and Medical Group, Merck Serono, Geneva
Dr Colin Howles is currently Vice President of Regional Medical Affairs Fertility, in the Global Development and Medical Group, based in the Merck Serono headquarters, Geneva. Prior to this Dr Howles worked in a variety of positions for Merck Serono both at a regional and corporate level. He had extensive experience in the Far East having been based in Singapore for the Ex-Serono company as Vice President for Medical Affairs. He travelled extensively around the region during that time especially to Japan, North Asia, and China where he was involved in the introduction of recombinant gonadotrophins. Before moving to Singapore, he held various positions within Serono International at the head office in Geneva, including Chairman of the Advisory Board for Serono Symposia International. During the late 1980s and 1990s whilst working with Serono, Dr Howles was involved in the development and clinical introduction of the first highly purified urinary derived gonadotropin (u-FSH HP) and, subsequently, recombinant h-FSH (follitropin alfa; GONAL-f), h-LH, hCG and the GnRH antagonist, cetrorelix. Before joining Serono in 1987, he held the post of Senior Endocrinologist and Chief Scientist at Bourn Hall Clinic, Cambridge, where he worked with Bob Edwards and Patrick Steptoe. Dr Howles’ research interests include the gonadotrophin control of follicular development and more recently identification of patient characteristics as prognostic factors of ovarian response following FSH stimulation in OI and ART treatment cycles. Dr Howles has published 60 reviews and papers in the field of reproductive medicine, co-edited two major textbooks on reproductive medicine, and has lectured widely around the world. He is affiliated to several societies for healthcare professionals and is a long-term member of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Finally he is the proud father of a 3 and half year old boy, Ewan, who was made possible through IVF treatment.


imageMartin H Johnson
Editor, RBMOnline and Professor of Reproductive Sciences, University of Cambridge UK
Martin H Johnson is an Editor of RBM Online and Professor of Reproductive Sciences in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge UK. He was, with Richard Gardner, Bob Edwards’ first graduate student (1966-1969), and opened the Nobel Symposium on Bob’s work in Stockholm, 2010. He is author of Essential Reproduction (seventh edition, Wiley Blackwell due 2012), co-editor of Sexuality Repositioned (2004), Death Rites and Rights (2007) and Birth Rites and Rights (2011), and has authored over 250 papers on reproductive science, history, ethics, law and medical education. He was chair of the British Society for Developmental Biology (1984-89); the first CIBA Foundation Public Debate Annual Lecturer on ‘Human Embryo Research’, Swansea (1990); a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (1993–1999); treasurer and founding scientific member of the Cambridge Socio-legal group (2000-2012); and specialist scientific advisor to the Joint Lords and Commons Committee scrutinizing the Draft Human Embryos and Tissue Bill (2007). In 2004 he was elected a scientific Fellow of the Royal Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.


imageAndrew Sharkey
Associate Lecturer, University of Cambridge, UK
In 1998, Andrew established a research group based in the Department of Pathology at the University of Cambridge (UK) to study mammalian implantation. Using transgenic mice, primate and human models to study the molecular basis of endometrial receptivity and early implantation. Novel approaches have been developed for the molecular analysis of embryo/endometrial interactions including gene therapy to transfect uterine epithelium in vivo for functional studies of gene action. Through a collaboration with Professor Jan Brosens, it was found that elevated levels of SGK1 are associated with infertility. The aim is to develop novel contraceptives and to improve diagnosis and treatment of infertility. A second major area of work involves a collaboration with Dr Ashley Moffett studying interactions between fetal trophoblast and uterine NK cells at the maternofetal interface during early pregnancy. Genetic studies in women have indicated that interactions between receptors called KIR on maternal NK cells in the decidua and HLA-C on the invading fetal trophoblast cells influence the success of placentation. This project will identify how uterine NK cells regulate trophoblast invasion and vascular conversion, and how this process is compromised in certain pregnancies leading to diseases such as preeclampsia. The aim is translate these findings into improved diagnosis of high-risk pregnancies.


imageAzim Surani
Marshall-Walton Professor, Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, UK
Azim obtained PhD in Mammalian Development University of Cambridge in 1975 under Bob Edwards. He established independent laboratory at Babraham Institute in 1979. In 1991 he was appointed Marshall-Walton Professor Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute and is a Professorial Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge.