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Cambridge Reproduction


I am a PhD student at the Department of Physiology Development and Neuroscience. I am carrying out my research under the supervision of Prof. Allan Herbison.

The hypothalamus is a structure in the brain which is responsible for the regulation of vital physiological system, the reproductive system being one of these. It does this by releasing gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) in a pulsatile manner which then acts on the anterior pituitary to result in the pulsatile release of gonadotrophins, luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). A group of kisspeptin neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus are termed ‘the GnRH pulse generator’ as they are responsible for driving the pulsatile release of GnRH and subsequently LH and FSH. These gonadotropins regulate the release of sex hormones, the primary ones in female being progesterone and estrogen. The sex hormones, in turn, relay back to the hypothalamus to stimulate or inhibit their own release, a process known as positive and negative feedback, respectively. My project will aim to investigate how progesterone displays its negative feedback actions on the GnRH pulse generator. Impaired negative feedback may underlie common infertility disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. Therefore, elucidating the mechanisms by which progesterone negatively feeds back to the pulse generator in the hypothalamus may provide a platform for the development of new therapeutic strategies in the infertility clinic.