Alumni Services

Roger Gosden

Helping patients with cancer to preserve fertility was just one of the outcomes of Professor Roger Gosden's 18 years on staff at the University, during which his contributions to reproduction sciences were recognised with a higher degree.

Name Roger Gosden
Degree award DSc (Doctor of Science -  a higher degree recognising significant contribution to advancement of knowledge)
Year of graduation


Your time at the University

Roger Gosden in leafy surroundings

I joined the (then) Physiology Department of the Medical School in 1976 as a young lecturer from Cambridge. Ever grateful to Edinburgh for the first step of my academic career, I enjoyed teaching medical, dental and science students for 18 years, and it was the place where I built my reputation as an independent researcher and recruited my first graduate students.

Edinburgh was a perfect fit for my specialty as it has a long reputation in reproductive science, both in the university and Research Council units. It was there that my group developed methods for storing ovarian tissue at ultra-low temperatures, which has helped patients with cancer and other conditions to preserve fertility before egg freezing became available, and is still the option for children.

Our first success was preserving fertility in an ovariectomized sheep in a flock at Roslin with Professor David Baird where a couple of years later Dolly the cloned sheep was conceived. It gives me great pleasure to see this work continuing under the brilliant leadership of people who worked in my lab, and also that my son and daughter-in-law chose Edinburgh for undergraduate studies.

Edinburgh continues to be eminent in reproduction and genetics and was where my mentor Sir Robert Edwards trained for his PhD in the 1950s, winning the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for developing in vitro fertilisation.

​​​​​​​It gives me great pleasure to see this work continuing under the brilliant leadership of people who worked in my lab...

Professor Roger Gosden

Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University

I moved to the University of Leeds in 1994 to set up a new research unit in reproductive science, building on the programme started at Edinburgh. From there I moved across the Pond to be professor and director of reproduction research at McGill University in Montreal, moving on to the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Virginia, and finally settling at Cornell’s medical school in New York City, joining my wife on the faculty, who was the embryologist for America’s first IVF baby.

We are now semi-retired in Virginia where I am a writer-publisher (and official biographer for Robert Edwards), master naturalist and teach students at William & Mary.

Alumni wisdom

Students choose Edinburgh University for the quality of education and its name value, but there is so much cultural life to learn and enjoy in the city they ought to squeeze into their busy terms.

Related links

'Let There Be Life' - Roger Gosden's authorised biography of IVF pioneer and Edinburgh alumnus Robert Edwards (external link)

Edinburgh's first in reproductive biology