Egulation of ovarian development and the reproductive lifespan

Women are born with a limited supply of oocytes, and dogma dictates that these cannot be replaced. As women age, these oocytes continuously decrease in quality and quantity, culminating in the menopause. Understanding of how female reproductive potential is established is thus central to knowledge of human fertility and its disorders, and of how early development might impact on adult ovarian function. In the Anderson Laboratory, we have established a programme of studies which address factors that are relevant to these processes in the human fetal ovary and underpin female fertility, from early germ cell proliferation and subsequent meiotic entry, leading up to primordial follicle formation. These studies are complemented by clinical-based studies addressing the impact of cancer treatments on reproductive function in women, and the development of ovarian cryopreservation strategies for fertility preservation for girls and young women undergoing cancer therapy.

Current research projects

Human ovarian development

Development of ovarian cryopreservation for fertility preservation

Human meiosis and its errors

Effects of chemotherapy on oocyte and follicle development

Regulation of the HPG axis by Kisspeptin and Neurokinin B

The existence and characteristics of human oogonial stem cells

Development of hormonal approached to male contraception

Current external activities

ESHRE Executive Committee

HFEA Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee

Past Coordinator, ESHRE Special Interest Group ‘Fertility Preservation’

Chair, Scottish Government ‘Fertility Preservation’ working group

Scottish Government National Infertility working group

Steering Committee, National Gender Identity Clinical Network Scotland

Scientific Consulting Group, Contraception Discovery and Development Branch, National Institute for Child Health and Development, USA



Prof. Richard Anderson, UK

Head of Section, Obstetrics and Gynaecology (University of Edinburgh)

Professor of Clinical Reproductive Science. Deputy Director Centre for Reproductive Health