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2010 Society for Reproduction and Fertility New Investigator of the Year
Current Group Members:
- Sairah Sheikh (DPhil student)
- Belinda Lo (DPhil student)
- Arwa Alageel (DPhil student)
- Charlotte Walker (DPhil student)
- Xi Wei (DPhil student)
- Kingsley Ojukwu (MSc student)
- Mishael Arifkhawaja (MSc student)
- Nalini Ramadoss (MSc student)
- Feny Gadhia (MSc student)
- Grace Brown (Medical Student)
- Miranda Stoddart (Medical Student)
- Amelia Shard (Medical Student)
- Betsy Plumb (Student)
Previous Group Members:
- Heidy Kaune (DPhil student completed 2015)
- Panayiota Ploutarchou (DPhil student completed 2015)
- Patrica Grasa Molina (Postdoctoral Fellow)
- Anna Deleva (Research Associate)
- Alice Christensen (Medical Student)
- Prof. Evelyn Telfer, University of Edinburgh
- Prof. Richard Anderson, University of Edinburgh
- Prof. Anthony Day, University of Manchester
- Dr. Caroline Milner, University of Manchester
- Prof. Graham Martin, University of Western Australia
- Dr. Manuel Avilés, University of Murcia, Spain
- Prof. Dagan Wells, NDOG
- Prof. Jo Poulton, NDOG
Academic Groups and Editorial Boards
2013-present Editorial Board Member Journal Reproduction
2010-2013 Member of Council Society for Reproduction and Fertility
Opportunities to work with us
We are always keen to hear from people interested in working or studying with us (e.g., potential DPhil, MSc by Research, ERASMUS students, summer students, postdocs). Please contact Dr Williams by email in the first instance.
The Society for Reproduction and Fertility offer Vacation Scholarships (http://www.srf-reproduction.org/Educationandengagement/VacationScholarships.aspx) and I would be happy to support an application for this programme.
Research in the Williams group has been funded by the Medical Research Fund, John Fell OUP, MRC, and the Society for Reproduction and Fertility.
- Oocytes and Ovaries Research Topics
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BSc Hons, PhD
Principal Investigator/Research Group Leader
- Lead for Ovarian Cryopreservation Research Programme
- Chair of Examiners MSc Clinical Embryology
- Editorial Board Member for Reproduction
Dr. Williams (BSc Zoology, University of Aberdeen) carried out her PhD supervised by Prof. Rex Scaramuzzi at the Royal Veterinary College, London investigating nutritional regulation of ovarian function using sheep; a good model for human studies. This involved collaborative studies in Glasgow with Dr. Gywn Gould, Dublin in Ireland with Dr. Dairmuid O'Callaghan and in Perth, Australia with Prof. Graeme Martin.
Following her PhD, Dr. Williams obtained a Wain Fellowship (administered by the BBSRC) and a Lalor Fellowship to work in Perth, Australia for 2 years. Dr. Williams moved to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and joined Prof. Pamela Stanley's laboratory. It was here that Dr. Williams generated transgenic mouse models to investigate the role of oocyte glycans in sperm-zona binding which resulted in a publication that mooted hypotheses that had existed for almost 20 years.
Dr. Williams also identified the oocyte as a key regulator of follicle selection and fertility since mice carrying oocytes lacking complex O-glycans had sustained increased fertility. She also identified he oocyte as having a key role in maintaining follicle integrity since follicles containing modified oocytes were able to join. Dr. Williams also revealed a crucial role for the oocyte in maintaining ovarian function since oocytes lacking both O- and N-glycans led to the onset of premature ovarian failure.
In 2008, Dr. Williams obtained a lecturer position in the Dept of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford where she established her research group investigating the role of the oocyte in regulating fertility and ovarian function supported by a MRC New Investigator grant.
In 2011, Dr. Williams moved to the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology where she continues to investigate the role of oocyte glycans in follicle function and premature ovarian failure but has also extended her programme of research to include investigating the mechanisms underlying oocyte ageing, the mechanisms that maintain primordial follicles in a quiescent state, cell lineages of ovary, and cryopreservation for fertility preservation. To facilitate these studies, Dr. Williams has established the technique of generating chimeric ovaries in her lab, currently the only lab in the UK where this technique exists. More information is available about the studies being carried out by the Williams group on the Ovarian Research website.
Chromosome Cohesion Established by Rec8-Cohesin in Fetal Oocytes Is Maintained without Detectable Turnover in Oocytes Arrested for Months in Mice.
Burkhardt S. et al, (2016), Curr Biol, 26, 678 - 685
Oocyte glycoproteins regulate the form and function of the follicle basal lamina and theca cells.
Christensen AP. et al, (2015), Dev Biol, 401, 287 - 298
Molecular analysis of the cumulus matrix: insights from mice with O-glycan-deficient oocytes.
Ploutarchou P. et al, (2015), Reproduction, 149, 533 - 543
Oocyte-derived Smad4 is not required for development of the oocyte or the preimplantation embryo.
Kaune H. et al, (2015), Theriogenology, 83, 897 - 903
Oocytes lacking O-glycans alter follicle development and increase fertility by increasing follicle FSH sensitivity, decreasing apoptosis, and modifying GDF9:BMP15 expression.
Grasa P. et al, (2015), FASEB J, 29, 525 - 539
Podcast exploring the subject of origins is explored - from human fertilisation to the Big Bang. Includes parts 1, 2 and 3.