Dr Agnes Stefansdottir

Teaching Track Lecturer in Reproductive Biology

Dr Agnes Stefansdottir

Teaching Track Lecturer in Reproductive Biology

  • Anatomy@Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences
  • University of Edinburgh

Contact details



Doorway 3
Medical School
Teviot Place

Agnes completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Biomedical Sciences (Developmental Biology) at the University of Aberdeen in 2010. Agnes then received her PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2014. Her PhD project focused on establishing a novel embryonic mouse ovary culture system, to examine the effects of pharmaceutical and environmental compounds on the developing ovary in vitro. Following the completion of her PhD, Agnes worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Professor Norah Spears, at the Centre for Integrative Physiology.

During her PhD and postdoctoral work Agnes has managed undergraduate and postgraduate student projects, and has been actively involved in teaching at the University of Edinburgh. In 2017 Agnes took up a post as a Lecturer in Anatomy, contributing to the undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of Anatomy. In 2018, Agnes became a Teaching Track Lecturer in Reproductive Biology, where she is the course organiser for a new honours elective module, Reproductive Toxicology and for the Reproductive Biology core course: Research Skills in Reproductive Biology. Agnes is also the course organiser for Reproductive Biology 3. In addition, Agnes contributes to a wide range of reproductive biology teaching across undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University.


Agnes is actively involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching within Reproductive Biology, Biomedical Sciences and Anatomy for Biomedical and Medical science students, as well as students on the MBChB programme. 

Agnes teaches on several undergraduate courses including Biomedical Sciences 3, Reproductive Biology 3, Gametes & Gonads, Reproductive Toxicology and Research Skills in Reproductive Biology. She also teaches Embryology and Developmental Biology as part of the MSc Human Anatomy programme.

Student Support

Agnes is a Personal Tutor for undergraduate students in the Deanery of Biomedical Sciences.


Agnes’ research is focused on investigating the direct effects of potential ovotoxicants, including chemical compounds in cigarette smoke and chemotherapy agents, on the developing ovary using culture techniques. Her research aims to understand the timing and mechanisms of cell death following exposure to certain ovotoxicants, as well as examining the potential to protect the ovary against chemotherapy-induced damage.

Read more about Agnes' work here - Third generation effects of chemotherapy drug treatment?


Stefansdottir, A., Mareckova, M., Matkovic, M., Allen, C.M. 2023. In vitro exposure to benzo[a]pyrene damages the developing mouse ovary. Reprod Fertil. Doi:

Spears, N., Lopes, F., Stefansdottir, A., Rossi, V., De Felici, M., Anderson, R.A., Klinger, F.G. 2019. Ovarian damage from chemotherapy and current approaches to its protection. Hum Reprod Update. Doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmz027

Stefansdottir, A., Johnston, Z.C., Powles-Glover, N., Anderson, R.A., Adams, I.R., Spears, N. 2016. Etoposide damages female germ cells in the developing ovary. BMC Cancer. Doi: 10.1186/s12885-016-2505-9

Lea, R.G., Amezaga, M.R., Loup, B., Mandon-Pepin, B., Stefansdottir, A., Filis, P., Kyle, C., Zhang, Z., Allen, C., Purdie, L., Jouneau, L., Cotinot, C., Rhind, S.M., Sinclair, K.D., Fowler, P.A. 2016. The fetal ovary exhibits temporal sensitivity to a ‘real-life’ mixture of environmental chemicals. Scientific Reports. Doi: 10.1038/srep22279

Stefansdottir, A., Fowler, P.A., Powles-Glover, N., Anderson, R.A., Spears, N. 2014. Use of ovary culture techniques in reproductive toxicology. Reproductive Toxicology. 49C: 117-135. Doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2014.08.001

Oral Presentations

2023. Fertility 2023. ICC Belfast. 

‘The effect of chemotherapeutics on the fetal testis’

2022. The Annual Meeting of the European Teratology Society, Antwerp, Belgium.

Ovarian toxicity testing

2022. Fertility 2022. ACC, Liverpool, UK (Conference was moved to online due to the omicron variant)

‘The effect of cisplatin on fetal gonads in vitro’

2018. Fertility 2018.  ACC, Liverpool, UK.

‘In-vitro exposure to Benzo[a]pyrene results in follicle loss in the developing mouse ovary’

2017. BMC Seminar, Læknagarður. University of Iceland. 

‘How do chemotherapy drugs affect the mouse ovary in vitro?’ 

2017. The Annual Meeting of the ESA and the SRB. Perth, Australia.

'Etoposide results in follicle loss in the fetal mouse ovary, but does not block the ability of oocytes to progress through prophase I of meiosis.'

2017. Fertility 2017. EICC, Edinburgh, UK.

‘Can tyrosine kinase signalling protect the ovary from cisplatin-induced damage?’

2016. Society for Reproduction & Fertility (SRF). University of Winchester, UK.

‘Etoposide results in follicle loss in the fetal mouse ovary, but does not block the ability of oocytes to progress through prophase I of meiosis.’

2016. Edinburgh Fertility Preservation launch day. University of Edinburgh, UK.

‘Protecting the ovary from chemotherapy-induced damage.’

2016. National Ovarian Workshop: 11. Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, UK.

‘Method development during the establishment of a mouse embryonic ovary culture system.’

2014. Queen’s Medical Research Institute, Edinburgh, UK.

‘In vitro testing of the effects of pharmaceutical drugs on the developing ovary’