I obtained a BSc in Molecular Biology from the University of Surrey, an MSc in Biochemistry (Genetic Manipulation and Molecular Biology) from the University of Sussex, an MSc in Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine from University College London, followed by a PhD in human genetics. After completing my studies, I performed clinical diagnostics at the UCL Centre for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and carried out research into the cytogenetics of human oocytes. I later moved to the USA, taking a research position at Yale University Medical School. In 2007 I returned to the UK, and briefly worked as a researcher in the Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health in the University of Oxford. I then joined Reprogenetics UK, a PGD laboratory that was based in Oxford, as a senior cytogeneticist. I worked in Reprogenetics UK for over 10 years. During my time at Reprogenetics UK I ended up overseeing and directing a large team of PGD specialist scientists and was involved in the organisation of a very successful clinical service for the PGD of chromosome and single gene disorders, as well as for numerical chromosome abnormalities. I also worked as the Research Laboratory Director of Juno Genetics (another PGD laboratory), before becoming a full time academic. I currently hold the position of Lecturer in Biomedical Science in Bournemouth University. As a researcher, I played a key role in the development, validation, and clinical application of comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH), the first comprehensive chromosome analysis method to be widely applied for the study of human embryos in both clinical and research settings. The proliferation of chromosome screening techniques seen during the last few years owes much to my early work in this area. Of particular note are my studies that highlighted the blastocyst as the optimal embryo stage for testing to be undertaken. Moreover, my work led to the most detailed characterization of chromosome abnormalities in human oocytes published to date. My research into finding biomarkers of embryo competence, identified several target genes with differential expression in cumulus cells surrounding aneuploid oocytes, and the possible role of mitochondrial DNA as a predictor of embryo implantation potential. I have published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers, abstracts, and book chapters. I have also been the recipient of multiple awards for my work, including the New England Fertility Society-Pacific Coast Reproductive Society Exchange Prize for best submitted abstract (2007) awarded for the work on a comprehensive chromosome analysis of trophectoderm samples biopsied from blastocyst stage embryos, the European Society of Reproduction and Embryology Basic Science Prize (2011) for the work on the transcriptome of cumulus cells, and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (2015) Prize for the work on the assessment of the mitochondrial genome of human embryos. My main research interests continue to focus on obtaining a better understanding on the genesis of chromosome abnormalities in human gametes and embryos, the design and application of novel methodologies aimed to improve embryological parameters, and outcomes after in vitro fertilisation, as well as the identification of patient characteristic traits that could affect fertility and infertility.
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