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Jen Southcombe

Jen Southcombe


I completed my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Leeds, then moved to the University of Oxford to the Human Immunology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, and obtained a DPhil working with Professors Xiaoning Xu and Gavin Screaton. I joined the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2007, to work on Immunology in Pre-eclampsia with Professors Ian Sargent and Chris Redman. My work focused on studying placental derived factors that contribute to maternal systemic inflammatory changes in pregnancy and pre-eclampsia. A key aspect of this work was studying the interactions between syncytiotrophoblast microvesicles and exosomes with immune cells in pregnancy.


Jen Southcombe

BSc (hons), DPhil (oxon)

Researcher in Reproductive Science

  • Principal Investigator

Research Interests

I research immunity in the female reproductive tract, with specific focus on understanding immunological events that lead to the establishment of pregnancy. The endometrium is a highly dynamic mucosal tissue and immune cells not only provide host responses against pathogens, but they are essential for embryo implantation, placentation and pregnancy success. I also research endometriosis and adenomyosis, and seek to understand the mechanisms behind infertility and pain in these patients.  

Immune cell responses in women who suffer from endometriosis and adenomyosis.

Women who suffer form endometriosis have severe pelvic pain and have both an increased risk of autoimmunity and fertility issues, we are studying the peri-implantation endometrium and lesions in women with endometriosis and adenomyosis, to identify if differences in the immune cells exist in patients. 

Endometrial immune cells and their role in recurrent pregnancy loss

We have identified changes to immune cell subpopulations in RPL, using RNA sequencing, flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry to investigate transcriptomic and phenotypic changes. Our work on Treg in RPL can be read here

The PIP Study - Pre- IVF Immune Profiling Study (PIP)

The immune cellular landscape of peri-implantation endometrium remains poorly defined in Recurrent Implantation Failure (RIF), Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) and subfertility.  This study aims to define normality and identify changes to T, B, NK, NKT cellular proportions in women suffering from these pathologies. 

Extracellular Vesicles in reproductive Health

Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) range in size from 50nm 2000nm in diameter, they are released by cells and are enriched in specific cargoes (for example, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids and metabolites), reflecting their cell of origin, and can deliver these to recipient cells. I am researching EVs and their role in reproductive health, for example they are present in seminal fluid and we have shown they influence the female reproductive tract.

Opportunities to join the group

I welcome speculative enquiries to join my group, in the first instance please email

Key publications

Recent publications

More publications