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Research groups

Research

Despite being mostly regarded as a benign tumour condition of the uterus, uterine fibroids have been shown to cause heavy menstrual bleeding in approximately 30% of patients. More than half of the patients experience symptoms such as pelvic pain or infertility. Even though the disease affects millions of women worldwide, it is still poorly understood and so there is a great demand to fulfil the unmet medical need for innovative therapies.

This project is a collaboration between the University of Oxford and Bayer Healthcare aiming to investigate the factors within the vasculature surrounding the fibroids that could induce angiogenesis. The project aims to transfer the findings from the bench to the bedside to eventually identify new targets for treatment. This way, it is hoped that developed strategies can be used to benefit patients minimizing the burden.

Beatriz Martinez Burgo

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Biography

I started my research in the field of Cellular Biology and Immunology during my BSc Biotechnology at University of Leon, continued with a year placement at Central Connecticut State University USA. There I had chance to study the role of retinoic acid in the neural development of zebrafish embryos at Dr B Dobbs-McAuliffe’s Lab. In 2012 I did a MSc in Biomedicine studying the immune response against metastatic cells of melanoma under the supervision of Dr M Valés-Gómez and Dr H Reyburn at National Centre of Biotechnology (CNB, CSIC).

I completed a Marie Curie ITN PhD in the Immunobiology and Applied Transplantation group working with Prof S Ali, Prof N Sheerin, and Prof J Kirby at the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University, UK, with a focus on the regulation of CXCL8 function during inflammation and its implications in ischaemia-reperfusion injury. The project was joint with Dr S Cobb, and Dr E Pohl at the Chemistry Department at Durham University, UK; and with Dr D Kashanin at Cellix Ltd, Dublin, Ireland utilising a microfluidic platform for the vascular studies. Afterwards, in 2018, I worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher Scientist in Infectious Disease Diagnosis at a Newcastle University start-up in collaboration with Newcastle University Bioscience Institute.

Subsequently, in January 2020, I started my recent postdoctoral project in Cellular Biology, and Immunology of Uterine Fibroids, working with Prof Krina Zondervan and Dr Christian Becker at the Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health, to better understand this disease, which is a burden that affects 70-80% women by the age of 50 and 40% women in their reproductive age, and to find alternative options of treatment.