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Ms Mengni Shen
Ms Ana Kissovar
Ms Erma Dewi
Investigating the female reproductive tract in health and disease
Endometrial disorders affect millions of women worldwide and represent a major healthcare cost. A major cause of infertility is the failure of the endometrium to achieve a form that allows the embryo to implant. The endometrium is comprised of several cell types, such as stroma, epithelium, endothelium and immune cells, which are alter in the menstrual cycle, in response to hormones and localised signalling factors. Disruption of cyclical endometrial signals can lead to various pathologies, including implantation failure and recurrent pregnancy loss. This reasearch will help us identify cellular changes in these conditions which will be future targets for therapeutics and diagnostics.
Professor Jan Brosens
Professor Siobhan Quenby
Professor Cecilia Lindgren
Professor Christian Becker
Dr Susie Kilshaw
DPhil MA MBBS MRCOG
Deputy Head of Department, Associate Professor
- Honorary Consultant Gynaecologist and Sub-Specialist in Reproductive Medicine,
- Divisional Medical Director, Surgery, Women's and Oncology Division, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Investigating the female reproductive tract in health and disease
- Endometrial immune cells and their role in sub-fertility and recurrent miscarriage
- The interactions seminal fluid extracellular vesicles and endometrial cells
- Embryo factors that enhance implantation
- The influence of follicular fluids on oocyte viability
- Cytokines in pathological pregnancies, in particular IL-33 and its decoy sST2 which we have shown is highly elevated in pre-eclampsia
- Understanding the impact of pregnancy on long-term health
I graduated from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, University of London in 1998. I undertook my early training in the North-West Deanery before leaving for Sydney to work. I returned to the Oxford Deanery Training Programme in 2003. During this time I undertook a MA in Medical Law and Ethics and a DPhil (with Professor Ian Sargent) in Reproductive Immunology. I was appointed as an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in 2012 whilst also undertaking sub-specialty training in Reproductive Medicine. I was appointed as a Senior Clinical Fellow and Consultant Gynaecologist in 2014. I was appointed Deputy Head of Department in 2020.
Research Studies Currently Recruiting
Many IVF and some miscarriage clinics offer testing for immune cells in the blood and endometrium (the womb lining) as it has been suggested that abnormal levels of these cells can affect fertility, the chance of an IVF cycle working, or .the chance of a miscarriage happening. However, routinely offering these tests remains highly controversial as the scientific evidence behind the tests is not of a high quality. The PIP Study aims to find out how a woman’s blood and endometrial immune cells are related to the likelihood of an IVF cycle working or of a miscarriage happening and whether or not they are different in women with subfertility and implantation failure or in women who have experienced repeated miscarriages.
We are currently recruiting women attending the Oxford University Hospitals Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic or Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic and the Wolfson Fertility Clinic (London), who are aged 18-39, with a menstrual cycle of 25-35 days.
Taking part involves a blood test and an endometrial biopsy (or ‘scratch’). Participation is voluntary and you will have the option to receive the immune profiling results at the end of your treatment cycle. It is hoped that this research into immune profiling will improve fertility services and treatments in the future.
If you are interested in finding out more about this study then please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The genetic architecture of sporadic and multiple consecutive miscarriage. (Nature Communications, 2020)
- Implementing a community model of early pregnancy care. (BMC Health Services Research, 2020)
- In vitro decidualisation of human endometrial stromal cells is enhanced by seminal fluid extracellular vesicles (Journal of Extracellular Vesicles 2019)
- An altered endometrial CD8 Tissue Resident memory T cell population in recurrent miscarriage (Scientific Reports 2017)
Obesity and risk of female reproductive conditions: A Mendelian randomisation study
Venkatesh SS. et al, (2022), PLOS Medicine, 19, e1003679 - e1003679
The Role of Endometrial B Cells in Normal Endometrium and in Benign Female Reproductive Pathologies: a Systematic Review
SOUTHCOMBE J. et al, (2021), Human Reproduction Open
Obesity and Risk of Female Reproductive Conditions: A Mendelian Randomisation Study
Venkatesh SS. et al, (2021), GENETIC EPIDEMIOLOGY, 45, 796 - 796
Altered peri‐implantation endometrial Treg in recurrent pregnancy loss
SOUTHCOMBE J. et al, (2021)
Characterisation of peri-implantation endometrial Treg and identification of an altered phenotype in recurrent pregnancy loss.
GRANNE I. et al, (2021), Mucosal Immunology
B cell subset analysis and gene expression characterization in mid-luteal endometrium
SOUTHCOMBE J. et al, (2021), Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
The OxWATCH study
The aim of this study is to understand the impact of a first pregnancy (normal or complicated) on the long-term health of women. To do this we are recruiting women before their first successful pregnancy, following them in pregnancy and in the early post-natal period. We are currently in the pilot phase of the study. Further information on the study and how take part can be found at: http://www.osprea.ox.ac.uk/oxwatch/