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News Archive 2008 - 2014

November 2014

More news...and more congratulations are in order! This time the good news relates to Next Generation Fellow, Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri. She was awarded one of six Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships from the Royal Society. This five-year project aims to identify the role and nature of placental endocrine function in regulating resource allocation between the mother and fetus. It will employ in vivo genetic models, high-throughput sequencing and an integrative study of the metabolic consequences of manipulating placental endocrine function. The overall objective of this work is to discover novel factors secreted by the placenta that regulate maternal-fetal resource allocation with a view to extend into translational studies assessing whether such factors are altered in human pregnancies compromised by placental mal-function. We warmly congratulate you, Amanda!

Special congratulations are in order for Martin Johnson.  He was made an Honorary Member of the Physiological Society and of the Society for Reproduction and Fertility.  Furthermore, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.  Well done Martin!

September 2014

The IFPA 2014 meeting was well-attended by CTR members.



Many participated by giving talks and presenting posters. Graham Burton won the ECR Balloon debate: Three experts each try to persuade you that their subject is the most vital in the field of placental research. Below is a list of member contributions to the meeting:


Poster sessions:

Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri: The role of the phosphoinositol kinase (PI3K) p110α in regulating placental phenotype and fetal growth

Tereza Cindrova-Davies: Remodelling of stem villous arteries due to smooth muscle cell dedifferentiation mediates
increased vascular resistance of IUGR

Josephine Higgins: Hypoxia adapts placental mitochondrial function in association with changes in placental transport phenotype

Hong wa Yung: Evidence of placental endoplasmic reticulum stress in the pathophysiology of gestational diabetes mellitus

Owen Vaughan: Preterm fetal cortisol overexposure alters placental glucose delivery nearer term

Barbara Musial: A diet high in sugar and fat alters the insulin signalling in the mouse placenta

Masahito Mizuuchi: Endoplasmic reticulum stress regulates placental growth factor expression in human choriocarcioma cells


Plenary sessions:

Erica Watson: How the placenta reveals the sins of your grandparents

Abby Fowden: Endocrine control of intrauterine development



July 2014

Congratulations is also in order for Jens Kiechbusch. He not only passed his viva without corrections, but he won the “best presentation” award at the Riken Integrative Medical Sciences Summer Program 2014, Yokohama, Japan. Well done Jens!























June 2014

This is becoming something of a habit! Congratulations again to Mary Cleaton who won a Presidential Poster Prize at the Society for Endocrinology annual meeting in Chicago this month. Her poster was entitled 'Maternal Plasma DLK1 in Pregnancy Is Conceptus-Derived and May Act As a Read-out of Fetal and Maternal Wellbeing'. She also won an Outstanding Abstract Award. Well done Mary; twice over!





May 2014

In a very welcome development, the placenta may be finally getting the research recognition it justly deserves. The Human Placenta Project was launched at a recent meeting hosted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Washington. The aim of this project is to  encourage research into placental development and the relationship between placental function and obstetric outcome, as well as to develop new techniques for monitoring placental well-being (non-invasively) throughout pregnancy. Graham Burton gave the opening talk on the structure and development of this organ. A report on the meeting can be found at, with a fuller description of the project here.

April 2014

Special congratulations to Basia Musial, who won a Poster of Distinction award at the (ENA) Early Nutrition Academy’s 2014 meeting entitled The Power of Programming. She has been keeping a low profile(!) but the word is out that she was a finalist for the poster prize at both of the following meetings: International Union of Physiological Sciences meeting (IUPS) 2013 and the International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) 2013. Well done Basia!

Another belated congratulations, this time to Emily Camm, who received the Tania Gunn Memorial Award for the best oral presentation by a postdoctoral fellow at last year’s FNPS (Fetal and Neonatal Physiological Society) meeting in Chile. We warmly congratulate you, Emily!

The belated news of awards is coming in thick and fast, as follows!

Kristian Franze received a Human Frontier Science Programme (HFSP) Young Investigator Award last year, which started in the summer of 2013.

Josie Higgins was awarded the YW Loke New Investigator Travel Award for her abstract entitled, "Mitochondrial Function in the Murine Placenta" at the IFPA meeting in Whistler 2013. Her poster (of the same title) ensured she was ranked 1 of 10 finalists for The Elsevier Trophoblast Research New Investigator Award.

Justyna Dopierala's abstract, “Gender and Disease Specific Transcripts in the Placenta”, was been selected by the 2014 SGI Scientific Program Committee to receive one of the 25 SGI President’s Presenter Awards.

CTR Manager Gordon Smith attended two receptions at 10 Downing Street: one with SANDS (the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society in November 2013) and one with AMR (Action Medical Research in March 2014). At the Sands meeting, Gordon spoke with the Prime Minister’s wife, Samantha Cameron, about stillbirth research.

Well done to all concerned!


pregnant GCSS1



March 2014

Special congratulations are in order for Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, who has filmed the implantation of an embryo; this is a world first! Click here to watch the news report. Well done Magda!



The good news continues as Jens Kieckbusch, Louise Gaynor, Ashley Moffett, Francesco Colucci have their paper published. MHC-dependent inhibition of uterine NK cells impedes fetal growth and decidual vascular remodelling was published in Nature Communications on 28th February 2014. While more research is necessary to understand how the activity of NK cells is fine-tuned during pregnancy, this study identifies interactions between maternal NK cells and placental cells as key interactions during pregnancy, which directly contribute to its success.  Well done to all concerned!



February 2014

Special congratulations to CTR Summer Student, Sohini Pawar.  Sohini presented a poster on pre-eclampsia for her EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) presentation, as pictured below.  She has also secured a place to study medicine at the University next year.  So it’s congratulations to Sohini, twice over! 





January 2014

I am sure you will be pleased to learn that the Society for Reproduction and Fertility have awarded Martin Johnson the Marshall Medal for 2014.  This is the Society’s highest honour and is awarded for `outstanding contribution to the study of fertility and reproduction’. Congratulations to Martin!

The 2014 McEwen Award for Innovation will be presented to Azim Surani, PhD, Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, in recognition of his work on the cellular and molecular specification of the mammalian germ cell lineage. His research has helped uncover how the germ line is established and what molecular mechanisms are responsible for reprogramming the epigenome to achieve the totipotent state. Dr. Surani will be presented with his award during the Presidential Symposium on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Azim is a member of the CTR and former Chair of the CTR's Scientific Advisory Board. Well done Azim!

The Princess Royal was admitted as a Royal Fellow to the Academy of Medical Sciences; both Graham Burton and Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz were invited to the reception and presented to the Princess Royal.





The photograph below shows all delegates invited to take part in the CTR-sponsored 'Medawar and the Immunological Paradox of Pregnancy' meeting, which aimed to explore the interactions between the maternal immune system and its feto-placental unit from a wide variety of viewpoints.

December 2013

Some great news to round off the year. Congratulations to Mary Cleaton, a Centre for Trophoblast Research-funded PhD student in the Ferguson-Smith lab, for being selected for the Mammalian Genome Prize at the Mammalian Genetics and Development Workshop held on 21st November 2013 at the Institute of Child Health in London.


Mary’s presentation was entitled ‘Investigating the source and function of maternal Delta-like homologue 1 (DLK1) in pregnancy’.  Her research, using mouse genetic models, set out to explain why there is a dramatic surge in circulatory DLK1 levels in maternal serum during gestation. She showed that DLK1 is secreted from the conceptus and that this atypical Notch ligand provides information about fetal well-being in addition to signalling to the mother to regulate the partitioning of nutrient resources between herself and her fetus. Congratulations Mary!




October 2013

The good news continues as Miguel Branco receives a Sir Henry Dale fellowship award. Furthermore, he was also awarded an Early Career Researcher fellowship from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and started work at the Blizard Institute this month. Well done Miguel!

A belated congratulations to Owen Vaughan, who came runner-up in The Physiological Society Postgraduate Poster Competition for the poster Exogenous corticosterone administration increases materno-fetal glucose transport in the mouse in late pregnancy, presented at the IUPS meeting in Birmingham 21-26 July 2013. In addition, he was awarded an Early Career Grant by the Society for Endocrinology for the project Epigenetic regulation of materno-placental signalling by glucocorticoids. We warmly congratulate you, twice over!

September 2013

Special congratulations to Erica Watson on the publication of Mutation in folate metabolism causes epigenetic instability and transgenerational effects on development in Cell. Erica's research, with CTR Graduate Student Nisha Padmanabhan, reveals that a mutation in a gene necessary for the metabolism of folic acid not only impacts the immediate offspring but can also have detrimental health effects on the next several generations. here, to see more). We warmly congratulate you, Erica!

August 2013

Congratulations to CTR Principal Investigator Miguel Constancia on the publication of Placental programming of anxiety in adulthood revealed byIgf2-null models in Nature Communications. Miguel’s collaborative work with Cardiff University reveals compelling evidence of a role for the placenta in programming of adult life.  More details in our Milestonessection of the website. Well done Miguel!

May 2013

  • Graham Burton recently had the great pleasure to speak at the IX Ukrainian Congress of Pathologists held in Lugansk 15-17th May 2013. Whilst there, he had the opportunity to tour the impressive teaching facilities at the Lugansk State Medical University, and also see the recent developments at the Lugansk Regional Hospital, which is equivalent to a tertiary referral and teaching hospital in the UK.
    Olga1At Lugansk State Medical University, from lt. to rt.: Professor Yuri Pystovoi, Vice-Rector of Science; Professor Olga Reshetnikova, President of the Ukrainian Division of of the International Academy of Pathology and Head of Department of Pathomorphology; Dr Luis Alfaro Director of the Pathology Departments in NISA Hospitals in Valencia and Castellon, Spain; Dr Hilary Burton; Professor Graham Burton; Professor Svetlana Kashchenko, Head of Department of Histology and Embryology.


    At Lugansk Regional Hospital, from lt. to rt.:Dr Sergei Babenko, Deputy Chief Doctor; Dr Hilary Burton; Professor Graham Burton; Professor Olga Reshetnikova, Consultant in Pathology.


  • Special congratulations to CTR Principal Investigator Magda Zernicka-Goetz on her election to the Academy of Medical Sciences.  Well done Magda!
  • Sincere congratulations are also to be extended to CTR Scientific Advisory Board member, Professor Marilyn Renfree, who was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (OA) for her distinguished service to biology. We warmly congratulate you, Marilyn!

February 2013

  • CTR Director Graham Burton will give the Wim Schellekens Foundation lecture at the Universities of Nijmegen and Maastricht on Februar 21-22 this month.

January 2013

  • Ashley Moffett, CTR Manager, and Peter Parham have had a groundbreaking piece of research published by Nature, describing how the human immune system has evolved to meet two major challenges: the need to fight infections, but also the need to be able to reproduce. The latter requires the mother to be able to carry the genetically related, but different, fetus in the womb without immunological rejection. The paper is entitled Variable NK cell receptors and their MHC class I ligands in immunity, reproduction and human evolution. Well done Ashley!

  • The good news continues for CTR Director Graham Burton, who was recently elected to the Mary Marshall Chair. We will celebrate this news with a reception at King's College; well done Graham!


October 2012

  • Another belated congratulations, this time to Niu Youguo, who won the ' Pfizer President's Presenter's Award’ at the SGI 59th Annual Scientific Meeting, held at San Diego, California, USA in March 2012. This is Niu's second time to win this award (the first time was in SGI 57th Annual Scientific Meeting, held at Orlando, Florida USA in March 2010). We warmly congratulate you, twice over!

September 2012

  • A belated congratulations to Norah Forgarty who was an IFPA Trophoblast Research Award Finalist at the IFPA meeting 2012, which took place in Japan.  The poster presented was “Syncytiotrophoblastic Transcriptional Activity and Oxidative Stress in Complications of Pregnancy.” This study demonstrated that placentas affected by preeclampsia, IUGR and preeclampsia with IUGR all contain significantly reduced proportions of transcriptionally active syncytiotrophoblast nuclei compared to gestational age-matched controls, as identified by RNA Pol II immunopositivity. It was found that increased H2O2 caused increased oxidatively damaged syncytiotrophoblast nuclei and decreased transcriptionally active nuclei. The reduced proportions of transcriptionally active nuclei may affect the normal functioning of the syncytiotrophoblast in these complications of pregnancy. Well done Norah!

  • Please note that the Images of Human Implantation, a PowerPoint presentation, is now available from the CTR website
    Little is known regarding human implantation and the earliest stages of placental development due largely to the inaccessibility of suitable specimens for study. The most extensive material is the Carnegie collection created by Hertig and Rock in the 1950’s, now housed in Washington, DC. Professor Allen Enders studied the material closely when it was located at his institute in Davis, and has produced this annotated series of images that presents his interpretation of the events taking place. He has generously given permission for it to be made accessible for all to view (if you do use any of the images in your own presentations, it would be appropriate to acknowledge Professor Enders and this website as the source.

  • Special congratulations to Silvia D’Ippolito, former Visitor to our Centre. Silvia hails from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome; she has recently qualified as an obstetrician.  Well done Silvia!2012 Loke receipients
  • Graham Burton and Hong wa (Billy) Yung attended the 2012 meeting of the International Federation of Placenta Associations (IFPA) in Hiroshima, Japan. The photograph is of the recipients of this year's Loke Travel Awards which provide financial support to help new investigators attend the meeting.
    2012 Loke receipients

  • The sixth edition of Pathology of the Human Placenta has just been published by Springer. Written by K. Benirschke, La Jolla, CA, USA; our very own Graham J Burton, University of Cambridge, UK; and R.N. Baergen, Medical College of Cornell University, New York, USA, it remains the most comprehensive and authoritative text in the field, encompassing physiology, metabolism and endocrinology, and covers placental diseases in great detail. The book is available in hard copy and also as an eBook via

July 2012

  • New Approaches to Maternal Mortality in Africa took place on 2nd and 3rd July, 2012 at CRASSH, Cambridge. Convened by Ashley Moffett, Professor of Reproductive Immunology and Megan Vaughan, Professor of Commonwealth History, and sponsored by the CTR, the conference brought together researchers in fields that rarely ‘talk’ to each other. Click here for more information via the PLoS Medicine Blog.

June 2012

  • Congratulations to Prof Ashley Moffett, Department of Pathology, on the award of a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship. The scheme was established through the generosity of the Leverhulme Trust to enable academic researchers to concentrate on full-time research for up to one year. Only about seven Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships are offered each year, so this is a significant achievement. Well done, Ashley.

May 2012

  • Great news for CTR PIs: following this year’s round of Senior promotions, Steve Charnock-Jones has been appointed to Professor, and Miguel Constância becomes a Senior Lecturer. We warmly congratulate them both.
  • We are thrilled to announce that Anne Ferguson-Smith and Martin Johnson have been elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences. Congratulations to both on this well-deserved achievement.

March 2012

  • The good news continues for Dino Giussani, Professor of Developmental Cardiovascular Physiology & Medicine...
  • At the recent 59th Annual Meeting of The Society for Gynecologic Investigation, San Diego, USA, two members of Dino's team received prizes: Miss Christine Cross was awarded The Giorgio Pardi Foundation President's Presenter's Award, which recognises the top four abstracts submitted to the meeting and Dr Youguo Niu received a President’s Presenter Award, which recognises 25 of the most meritorious abstracts by individuals still in training;
  • The British Heart Foundation have formally confirmed renewal of the group's 5 year programme grant for £1.2 million; and
  • Their paper entitled Ascorbate prevents placental oxidative stress and enhances birth weight in hypoxic pregnancy in rats by Richter, H.G., Camm, E.J., Modi, B.N., Naeem, F., Cross, C.M., Cindrova-Davies, T., Spasic-Boskovic, O., Dunster, C., Mudway, I.A., Kelly, F.J., Burton, G.J., Poston, L. & Giussani, D.A., has been selected as the Editor’s Choice for the Journal of Physiology 590.6, 1377-1387, 2012. Very well done to all concerned.

February 2012

  • The first CTR Graduate Students: Owen Vaughan and Arjun Jain were the first Graduate Students to be accepted onto the CTR scheme in October 2008. We are delighted to report that they have now completed their PhDs, earning them a very special place in the CTR story. We warmly congratulate Owen and Arjun and wish them successful, fulfilling careers.
  • Dino Giussani, Professor of Developmental Cardiovascular Physiology & Medicine and his team have had a groundbreaking piece of research published by Science, which shows that oxidative stress in the fetal cardiovascular system is the mechanism through which developmental hypoxia programmes both cardiac and vascular disease in later life. This provides not only an insight to mechanism but also possible targets for clinical intervention. The paper can be viewed in the Scientific Milestones section of our website and the article accessed here. Hearty congratulations to Dino and his team on this outstanding achievement.
  • Abby Fowden and her team have been awarded a BBSRC grant 2012-2015 to investigate glucocorticoid programming of placental nutrient transport capacity. Congratulations to them.

January 2012

  • Warmest congratulations go to Dr Selma Boulenouar who has been awarded an EC FP7 Marie Curie (2 year) Fellowship to study the role of NK receptors in pregnancy.
  • Louise Gaynor has been awarded a BHF (3 year) PhD studentship to study how the variability of immune genes impact on reproduction. Well done to Louise.
  • Congratulations also to Christian Huber who has recently started his Wellcome Trust (3 year) PhD programme in Infection and Immunity to study NK cell memory.
  • The retirement of Professor Joan Hunt

    The CTR congratulates Professor Joan Hunt most warmly on her many distinguished achievements in the field of placental research, and wishes her a long and enjoyable retirement. Joan has been both a highly respected reproductive immunologist and an outstanding advocate for placental research. Professor Graham Burton had the honour of speaking at her festschrift meeting in Kansas last December, and is picture here with Joan, Lee Nelson and Kent Thornburg.

September 2011

  • Special congratulations to Kathy Niakan, who has received a USD$358k March of Dimes award for a project entitled:

    Derivation of human placental stem cells as models for development and disease.

    We warmly congratulate Kathy on this award!

August 2011

  • Sincere congratulations to Nisha Padmanabhan, who presented her work at the Gordon Research Conference on Epigenetics:Mechanisms, Development and Disease this month in Massachusetts, USA. The title of her talk was 'Epigenetic consequences of abnormal folate metabolism'.

July 2011

  • Special congratulations to Gordon Smith and Steve Charnock-Jones who jointly received a grant from the Medical Research Council for analysis of the POP (Pregnancy Outcome Prediction) study placental and blood samples.

    The title of the grant is "The identification of novel biomarkers for the small for gestational age human fetus" and the total grant is £416,908 over three years.  Well done to both of you!

June 2011

    • Many congratulations to Dino Giussani who has been promoted to a Professorship, as announced in the Reporter yesterday. Well done Dino!


  • ...And yet another sincere congratulations, this time to Francesco Colucci, who was promoted to a Readership in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Well done Francesco! 

May 2011

  • ...And yet another hearty congratulations, this time to Erica Watson, who won the ‘Children’s Health and Reproduction Trainee Award’ at the Canadian Conference on Epigenetics, London, Ontario, Canada this month.  

    Well done Erica!

  • We are delighted to announce that Professor Graham Burton, founding director of the CTR, has today been elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. The Academy says in its citation of Graham's election: 'Professor Burton is a world-leading authority in human placentation, whose groundbreaking findings have led to a paradigm shift in our understanding of human early pregnancy, and the pathophysiology of pregnancy complications'.

    We warmly congratulate Graham on this prestigious award!

April 2011

  • Special congratulations to Francesco Colucci and Ashley Moffett who have been awarded a £1.4M Wellcome Trust 5-yr programme grant to look at variability of immune system genes and its impact on placentation. The study includes collaborations with 4 additional members of the CTR: Graham, Gordon Smith, Myriam Hemberger, and Michelle Oyen. Well done to All concerned!

March 2011

  • Special congratulations to Ionel Sandovici and Miguel Constancia who, in close cooperation with Susan Ozanne's lab, have published a paper entitled: Maternal diet and aging alter the epigenetic control of a promoter-enhancer interaction at the Hnf4a gene in rat pancreatic islets. This paper will be available from 8th March 2011.

January 2011

  • It is our pleasure to announce that Gordon Smith has accepted the role of CTR Manager, effective from 1st January 2011 – we look forward to welcoming Gordon to the Centre! Barry Keverne has stepped down from this role, having completed his 4-year term. The CTR truly appreciates the contributions that Barry has made to the Centre during his time as one of the CTR Managers.

December 2010

  • It is with great sadness that we hear Peter Kaufmann passed away on the 19th December, following his long battle against cancer. Peter was a distinguished placental morphologist who contributed much to our current understanding of placental structure and function. He was one of the leading advocates for placental research, and played a pivotal role in the formation of the European Placenta Group and then IFPA. His geniality will be sorely missed, and we extend our sympathies to his family.

November 2010

  • Congratulations to Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri, who presented her work at the Mouse Development, Genetics & Genomics Meeting, held in Cold Spring Habour, NY last month.
  • This time it's congratulations to Gordon Smith, who was given the International Stillbirth Alliance (ISA) "Distinguished Researcher" award at the joint meeting of the ISA and the International Society for the Study and Prevention of Infant Death in Sydney, Australia.
  • Congratulations to Norah Fogarty and Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri (again!) who both presented posters which were short-listed for the final of the poster competition at the IFPA meeting in Santiago, Chile last month.
  • Sincere congratuations to Professor Robert Pijnenborg as he becomed Emeritus Professor this month. Robert is a member of the CTR's Scientific Advisory Board and Graham Burton had the pleasure of travelling to Leuven to be present at a symposium in honour of Robert.
  • A warm welcome (belated!) to Jens Kieckbusch who joined the CTR last month as a Graduate Student. Jens works with Francesco Colucci at Addenbrooke's, and he is exploring how killer cells contribute to reproductive success.

August 2010

  • Congratulations to Andrew Murray; he is the recipient of a £162K three-year project grant from Action Medical Research to study placental mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of complications of pregnancy. The ultimate aim of the work is to identify early maternal biomarkers of placental dysfunction, and to identify possible therapeutic targets to restore mitochondrial energy metabolism. Well done, Andrew!

June 2010

  • Yet another warm welcome, this time to Nisha Padmanabhan, who joins the CTR as a Graduate Student. Nisha was already working with the CTR as a Research Assistant; she will continue to work with Erica Watson and Anne Ferguson-Smith.
  • Sincere congratulations to Gordon Smith who is to be admitted as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) this month, based on exceptional contributions to the medical sciences.
  • Another hearty congratulations, this time to Magda Zernicka-Goetz, who was awarded a personal Professorship.
  • Many congratulations to Azim Surani upon his receipt of a Royal Medal, in recognition of his pivotal contributions to the understanding of early mammalian development

May 2010

  • Congratulations to Wolf Reik, Professor at Babraham Institute and member of the CTR Board of Managers. Wolf has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society – well done Wolf!

April 2010

  • Another warm welcome! This time to Nuala Daw, who joined the CTR in April. Nuala is already a familiar face around the CTR lab, which she will now manage.
  • A warm welcome to Elisabeth Ritter, who joins the CTR as a Graduate Student. Elisabeth's studies will focus on the history of science and medicine, specialising in placentology. She will be working with Martin Johnson and Nick Hopwood.

October 2009

  • Congratulations to Nick Hopwood! The Wellcome Trust has awarded a grant of £785,058 for research assistance, expenses and equipment, for his 60-month study entitled "From Generation to Reproduction".
  • Congratulations to Billy Yung! Billy won the best poster presentation award at the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy (ISSHP) conference, which was held in Oxford iin September.
  • A warm welcome to Sathya Reddy, who has joined the CTR for 6 months as a Commonwealth Scholar.
  • Another warm welcome to Norah Fogarty, who has secured a PhD Studentship from the ASGBI and will be supervised by Graham Burton.

April 2009

  • A warm (and belated!) welcome to Dr Kathy Niakan who joined the Centre on 1st April 2009. Kathy has secured one of our Next Generation Fellowships and the long-term goal of her research is to generate extraembryonic cell types that can be used not only to model early human development, but also to generate therapeutically relevant cells for disease modelling and ultimately for potential uses in cell-based therapies.

March 2009

  • Congratulations to Emilio Herrera! Emilio received one of the Lang-Pardi Italy Foundation President's Presenter Awards. These awards were given for the first time this year, at the 2009 SGI Annual Meeting. The two awards recognise the two best abstracts in the field of fetal medicine and placenta presented by a senior research member and by a junior research member still in training. His winning abstract was entitled "Antioxidants increase umbilical blood flow via nitric oxide dependent and independent pathways" by EA Herrera, AS Thakor, JA Hansell, AD Kane, and DA Giussani.

January 2009

  • Congratulations to Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri! Her abstract "Igf2 Deficiency Modifies Placental Adaptation to Maternal Undernutrition during Mouse Pregnancy" was selected by the 2009 Scientific Program Committee to receive one of the 25 SGI President's Presenter Awards. The purpose of this award is to recognise the 25 most meritorious abstracts submitted by individuals still in training.
  • A warm welcome to Dr Erica Watson who joined the Centre on 13th January 2009. Erica has secured one of our Next Generation Fellowships, is sponsored by Anne Ferguson-Smith and will pursue research into the effects of folate availability on methylation patterns in trophoblast and germ cell lineages.
  • Research Horizons: the latest version of Research Horizons (January 2009, Issue 8) features a 10 page report on reproductive health, with many contributions from the CTR team
  • Welcome to Elizabeth Harrington who also joined the Centre this month as Office Manager. Elizabeth will be responsible for organisational arrangements and financial management.
  • Keystone Symposia: Miguel Constancia and Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz will present their work at the Frontiers in Reproductive Biology and Regulation of Fertility Symposium, to be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1-6 February 2009.
  • Tereza Cindrova-Davis (Burton Lab) will present the following "Soluble VEGF receptor 1 and TNF-alpha act in synergy to activate endothelial cells" on 26th January 2009 as part of the 'Chalk Talks'. 1.15pm Hodgkin Huxley Seminar Room
  • Congratulations to Emilio Herrera! His abstract "Chronic Hypoxia during Pregnancy Alters the Anatomy and Function of the Fetal Aorta at the End of Gestation" was selected by the 2009 Scientific Program Committee to receive one of the 25 SGI President's Presenter Awards. The purpose of this award is to recognize the 25 most meritorious abstracts submitted by individuals still in training.
  • Mitsu Ito (Ferguson-Smith Lab) will present the following "Rtl1 and associated microRNAs in placental and embryonic growth" on 2nd March 2009 as part of the 'Chalk Talks'. 1.15pm Hodgkin Huxley Seminar Room
  • Trinity College intends to hold an election of Junior Research Fellows on 5 October 2009. Completed application forms and supporting documents must reach the College by 4.00pm on Monday 2nd March 2009.
  • Congratulations to Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz! Magdalena was recently awarded EMBO membership. In addition, she was also a recipient of the International Society of Differentiation Award (Anne McLaren Memorial Lecture)



  • Sept. 08 40 New Investigators received Loke Travel Awards funded by the CTR to attend the IFPA meeting held in Seggau, Austria September 10-13, 2008. Some of the delighted recipients are pictured here at the Gala Dinner (click to enlarge).
  • July 08 Congratulations to Professor Abby Fowden on her Joan Mott Prize Lecture, entitled "Hormones as epigenetic signals in developmental programming". Her lecture was presented during the Physiological Society's meeting in Cambridge on 13-16 July.
  • July 08 PhD Studentships awarded! We are delighted to announce that Arjun Jain and Owen Vaughan will be joining the Centre in October 08 for 3 years under our PhD Studentship scheme.
  • July 08 We look forward to welcoming Katherine Leitch who will be joining us from Michigan State University on a Churchill Scholarship in October 08.
  • July 08 CTR launched! The official launch of the Centre took place on 9 July 2008 at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge. The event was well attended and enjoyed by international and UK delegates.
  • May 08 Personal promotions! Our warmest congratulations to Ashley Moffett and Anne Ferguson-Smith on their promotion to personal Chairs. These prestigious positions reflect their original and highly influential contributions to the fields of reproductive immunology and epigenetics respectively.
  • May 08 Next Generation Fellowships awarded! We are delighted to announce that Ray Ng (Babraham Institute) and Erica Watson (University of Calgary) have been appointed to NGFs starting in 2008. Ray is sponsored by Wolf Reik and will work on the role of methylation in early trophoblast differentiation. Erica is sponsored by Anne Ferguson-Smith and will pursue research into the effects of folate availability on methylation patterns in trophoblast and germ cell lineages.
  • May 08 Administrator appointed! We welcome Elizabeth Harrington, who has been appointed as Administrator to the Centre. Sarah joins us from the University's Research Services Division, and will be responsible for organisational arrangements and financial management.
  • May 08 We are delighted to welcome Dr Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri who joins us on a CJ Martin Fellowship for 2 years. Amanda studied for her PhD at the University of Adelaide, and will be investigating the role of the Akt/mTOR pathway in regulating placental growth.