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Cambridge Reproduction SRI


My research programme addresses the timely topic of maternal obesity and offspring predisposition to health and disease. We are now studying the impact of maternal obesity in two major components of the female reproductive tract: the ovary and the uterus. On the one hand, we are characterising the changes in the oocyte epigenome (methylome and transcriptome) from different mouse models for obesity and leptin signalling. On the other hand, an analogous approach is being taken with regard to the characterisation of epigenetic changes in endometrium of our models. Ultimately, these two lines will take us to studies in early embryo, in which we will confirm the occurrence of altered developmental programmes that can be particularly ascribed to changes in oocyte or in endometrium physiology.

Considering the impact of maternal obesity on the oocyte, we want to understand how changes in obese oocyte epigenome (methylome and transcriptome) and metabolome, affect epigenetic regulation during lineage specification in the embryo, and their consequent link to metabolic performance of respective organs in the offspring. We are now publishing a comprehensive characterisation of the effects of maternal obesity on oocyte methylome and transcriptome, using low-cell and single-cell technologies pioneered in the lab to profile chromatic accessibility, methylome and transcriptome. This research will unravel the impact of altered oocyte epigenome and lipidome on embryo development, post-natal and adult offspring metabolic performance.