Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Developmental programming group

Fertilisation and the pre-implantation embryo

Dr Walid Maalouf is the Course Director of the MMedSci Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) and is leading a number of research projects focusing on the effects of different micromanipulation techniques which are commonly used in ART treatment, on fertilisation and on the further development of the mammalian embryo.

A special interest of his research group is the impact of new technology in the ART laboratory on the improvement and safety of clinical treatment and animal research.

In collaboration with Dr Nathalie Beaujean at INRA, France, this research group has published a number of articles on the organisation of the embryonic genome after nuclear transfer (aka cloning), and continues to do so. Also, in collaboration with Hamilton Thorne Biosciences, MA, USA, they have been able to assess novel applications of their laser technology during intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and embryo biopsy as well as new developments in semen and sperm analysis.

Top publications since 2014

Embryo cell allocation patterns are not altered by biopsy but can be linked with further development Sepulveda-Rincon LP, Islam N, Marsters P, Campbell BK, Beaujean N, Maalouf WE. Reproduction. 2017 Dec;154(6):807-814. doi: 10.1530/REP-17-0514. Epub 2017 Sep 29.

Effect of ethnicity on live birth rates after in vitro fertilisation/intracytoplasmic sperm injection treatment: analysis of UK national database. Maalouf W, Maalouf W, Campbell B, Jayaprakasan K. BJOG. 2017 May;124(6):904-910. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.14241. Epub 2016 Aug 19.

Restoration of ovarian function and natural fertility following the cryopreservation and autotransplantation of whole adult sheep ovaries. Campbell BK, Hernandez-Medrano J, Onions V, Pincott-Allen C, Aljaser F, Fisher J, McNeilly AS, Webb R, Picton HM. Hum Reprod. 2014 Aug;29(8):1749-63. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deu144. Epub 2014 Jun 17.

Effects of assisted reproductive technologies on human sex ratio at birth. Maalouf WE, Mincheva MN, Campbell BK, Hardy IC. Fertil Steril. 2014 May;101(5):1321-5. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.01.041. Epub 2014 Mar 3.



Impact of paternal diet

Dr Adam Watkins is an Assistant Professor in Reproductive Biology and he has been recently awarded a three-year BBSRC New Investigator Responsive Mode grant which will focus on understanding the impact of paternal diet on the quality of his sperm and how this affects the development of the early embryo and the growth of the fetus.

This is important to understand as we know that changes in patterns of growth during fetal life (i.e being born too big or small) can increase the risk of those individuals developing heart disease, diabetes and obesity in adult life. While a lot of research as investigated the importance of maternal diet during pregnancy for the long-term health of her offspring, we know little about the importance of a father’s diet. To achieve this Dr Watkins collaborate with researchers in the fields of bone health (Professor Owen Addison, University of Birmingham; Dr Richard Martin, Aston University), placental function (Dr Jocelyn Glazier, University of Manchester), metabolomics (Dr Warwick Dunn, University of Birmingham) and bioinformatics (Professor Richard Emes, University of Nottingham).

Reproductive research

Dr Juan Hernandez-Medrano is a qualified veterinarian with a keen interest in reproductive physiology, focused mainly on cycle manipulation and monitoring to improve reproductive efficiency. He is currently focusing on the use of ruminants as models for reproductive research in humans, mainly cryopreservation and basic ovarian physiology. This is carried out in collaboration with a number of researchers including Dr R Robinson (Veterinary School, University of Nottingham) and Dr M Elmes (Nutritional Sciences, University of Nottingham) on the cryopreservation of the ovine uterus.

Further, in collaboration with Dr M.Castellanos (NASC, University of Nottingham) and Dr AM Boeta (Veterinary School, UNAM, Mexico), Dr Hernandez-Medrano is working on the paternal imprinting in equine endometrial cups, and finally, in collaboration with Professor Phil Garnsworthy (University of Nottingham) and Dr F Galindo (UNAM, Mexico) on sustainable cattle production.

Publication highlights

Fleming TP, Watkins AJ, Velazquez MA, Mathers JC, Prentice AM, Stephenson J, Barker M, Saffery R, Yajnik CS, Eckert JJ, Hanson MA, Forrester T, Gluckman PD, Godfrey KM. Origins of lifetime health around the time of conception: causes and consequences. Lancet. 2018 391:1842-1852.

Watkins AJ, Sirovica S, Stokes B, Isaacs M, Addison O, Martin RA. Paternal low protein diet programs preimplantation embryo gene expression, fetal growth and skeletal development in mice. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2017; 1863: 1371-1381

Hernandez-Medrano JH, Copping KJ, Hoare A, Wapenaar W, Grivell R, Kuchel T, Miguel-Pacheco G, McMillen IC, Rodgers RJ, Perry VEA. Gestational Dietary Protein Is Associated with Sex Specific Decrease in Blood Flow, Fetal Heart Growth and Post-Natal Blood Pressure of Progeny. PLoS One. 2015;10(4): e0125694

Campbell BK, Hernandez-Medrano J, Onions V, Pincott-Allen C, Aljaser F, Fisher J, McNeilly AS, Webb R, Picton HM. Restoration of ovarian function and natural fertility following the cryopreservation and autotransplantation of whole adult sheep ovaries. Hum Reprod. 2014;29(8): 1749–63.







Obstetrics & Gynaecology

School of Medicine
The University of Nottingham
Queen's Medical Centre, D Floor, East Block
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

telephone: +44 (0) 115 823 1000