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Sairah Sheikh

Sairah Sheikh

BSc (Hons), MSc

DPhil Student

I am a third year DPhil student in Dr Suzannah Williams laboratory, co-supervised with Dr Rebecca Dragovic and my project is investigating the mechanism of Premature Ovarian Failure (POF).

POF is a clinical condition that affects 1% of women under 40 years of age. Several factors have been related with the pathology but in 74-90% of cases their causal relation with POF remains unknown. More recently, since the likelihood of surviving childhood cancer is increasing, the long-term effect of cancer therapy on ovarian function, leading to POF, has become increasingly important. Survivors are now confronted with the long-term consequences of chemotherapy and POF and are now seeking fertility treatment to restore fertility.

The ovarian manifestation of POF has a range of variants from ovaries with complete depletion of follicles to ovaries that contain population of follicles that fail to develop. It has been reported up to 60% of women with POF still have primordial follicles in their ovaries. The mechanisms involved in this premature ovary dysfunction remain unclear and it is necessary to explore potential mechanisms to generate new treatments for this pathology and for fertility.

One aspect of my project is to assess functionality of germ and somatic cells from POF ovaries using the reaggregated ovary technique, previously established by Professor John Eppig (The Jackson Laboratory). This technique has recently been established in our lab to facilitate investigations into numerous aspects of follicular function.

Prior to joining the department, I completed a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences (2011) at Queen Mary University of London and MSc Infection and Immunity (2013) at University College London.

I am funded by EPA Cephalosporin Scholarship (Linacre College), the Leverhulme Postgraduate Bursary and Bestway Foundation.

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Recent Publications