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.
BSc (hons), DPhil (oxon)
Researcher in Reproductive Science
- Principal Investigator
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.
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 https://rdcu.be/cyd7N
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.
Immune cell responses in subfertile women who suffer from endometriosis.
Women who suffer form endometriosis have both an increased risk of autoimmunity and fertility issues, we are studying the peri-implantation endometrium in women with endometriosis, to identify if differences in the immune cells exist in patients.
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
Laisk T. et al, (2020), Nature Communications, 11
Southcombe JH. et al, (2017), Scientific Reports, 7
Jönsson P. et al, (2016), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113, 5682 - 5687
Rodriguez-Caro H. et al, (2019), Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, 8, 1565262 - 1565262
Redman CWG. et al, (2012), Placenta, 33, S48 - S54
The role of CD8+ T cells in endometriosis: a systematic review
Kisovar A. et al, (2022)
SOUTHCOMBE J. et al, (2021), Human Reproduction Open
Eutopic endometrial CD8+ T cells in endometriosis-associated subfertility
Kisovar A. et al, (2021)