EXPPECT Research Team
Our research team advances research into pelvic pain and endometriosis and their management under the leadership of Professor Andrew Horne, Professor Philippa Saunders and Dr Lucy Whitaker.
Frances Collins (MSc, BSc, MIScT, CSci)
Clinical Trial/Laboratory Research Manager
Frances graduated with a degree in Applied Biology with Honours in Microbiology and has worked in research labs for over 30 years specialising in Post viral fatigue, Arthritis and Rheumatism before joining Professor Philippa Saunders' Reproductive Steroids group in the Centre for Reproductive health over 18 years ago. Since then she has completed an MSc in Clinical Trials and obtained Chartered Scientist status. Currently she is responsible for integrating and coordinating the clinical and laboratory based discovery research activity within the EXPPECT group.
Research Portfolio Manager
Ann is a research portfolio manager and has worked in women’s health for the past 12 years. Ann has previously worked as a nurse and an IT teacher. Mixing these two skills, Ann started her career with the University of Edinburgh in 2004, working initially with CCIR (Centre for Communication Interface Research) and then in the Department of Psychiatry working as a Data Manager on a large trial looking into treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (PACE trial). In 2008, she moved to the Centre for Reproductive Health working as a Research Assistant for Prof Hilary Critchley. In 2010, Ann secured a post with Prof Andrew Horne as the Trial Manager working on the GEM trials. She now manages Prof Horne’s portfolio of trials including EPiC, ESPriT and GEM3. Her goal is to deliver high quality research which will improve women’s health.
Jordan is the Data Manager for the Edinburgh EXPPECT research team. As a Data Manager, Jordan's responsibilities are directed to all things data. In research “data” is king and the way we are working with data is constantly changing. Given this, Jordan's job is to keep up with trends that allow us to keep data safe, secure, and validated. Amongst this the team are often required to report to regulators and fellow academics to ensure the research is running as planned, with no additional risk to participants, and any additional steps are taken to keep our participants safe.
Katherine completed her undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics at Brown University, and then continued on to complete an MSc in Computational Applied Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh in 2019. After working as a data scientist in both financial technology and health data privacy companies following her MSc, she returned to the University of Edinburgh to pursue a PhD in the Centre for Reproductive Health, supervised by Professor Andrew Horne. The PhD will focus on understanding the symptom trajectories of endometriosis patients using smartwatch technology and patient self-reports. By applying signal processing and data analysis techniques to the smartwatch data to extract objective assessments of sleep and physical activity, the study aims to gain insight into managing the symptoms of endometriosis.
Priscilla Fernandez (BN, BSc (Hons))
Clinical Research Nurse
Priscilla first qualified as a Registered Adult Nurse from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2006. Her first post consisted of a medical ward rotation, changing wards every 3 months to ensure a broad exposure to different specialties for a period of 18 months. Following this, Priscilla secured a post at a medical ward in Glasgow where she worked for the next 5 years. Knowing that she wanted to specialise in Reproductive Health, Priscilla then completed her Midwifery degree at the University of Central Lancashire in 2014 and secured a post at the Pregnancy Support Centre at the RIE, where she looked after patients experiencing complications in early pregnancy. Whilst working there, she became interested in the research being conducted by Prof. Andrew Horne; this is when she became a Clinical Research Nurse working within his team in 2015. Since then, she has worked on clinical trials hoping to help women suffering from pelvic pain and/or endometriosis.
Francesca graduated from University College London with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biochemistry. She then went on to complete a Masters of Research in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, with a focus in immunology, at Imperial College London in 2018. Following this, Francesca worked as a Research Technician in a microbiology laboratory at The University of Sussex looking into meningitis and gonorrhoea. Pursuing her passion for Women’s Health, she started a PhD under the supervision of Professor Andrew Horne in 2021. Her research will investigate the influence of diet on the gut microbiome, and the subsequent impact this has on endometriosis-associated pelvic pain levels, in an aim to offer novel strategies for non-invasive pain management.
Scott Mackenzie (BMSc (Hons), MBChB)
Clinical Academic Trainee
Scott is a junior doctor and clinical academic trainee in the EXPPECT team. He graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Dundee in 2020, having also completed an intercalated BMSc (Hons) in Human Reproduction and Assisted Conception in 2018. After graduation, Scott joined the EXPPECT team in Edinburgh as an Academic Foundation Doctor where he conducted secondary analyses of data collected in the GaPP2 and GEM3 trials aiming to improve personalisation of treatment approaches. He has interests in clinical informatics, digital health and health equity. He hopes to continue research relating to complex chronic disease in reproductive health as he starts specialty training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in South East Scotland in August 2023.
Clinical Research Nurse
Sharon qualified as a Nurse in 1985 with her first post in St Joseph’s Hospital caring for residents from young children to the elderly, who had various mental and physical disabilities. Prior to this Sharon had trained as a Nursery Nurse and in early 1988 took up a post in a special needs school. In 1989 she went to work in the Eastern General Hospital working in the medical and surgical wards and covering emergency admissions. While there it became apparent that she wanted to specialise in women’s health, working first in the day bed unit before spending many years in the Gynaecology ward. In 1997 she moved to the RIE working in a Gynaecology nurse led pre admission clinic. It was while working there that she became interested in research and for the past 15 years has been involved in various studies covering all aspects of women’s health and most recently was responsible for an innovative study in Colposcopy. Sharon joined the team in September 2021.
Liam graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2021. He went on to graduate in 2022 from the same university with a Master of Science (MSc) in Medical Bioscience where his research project investigated Connexin 43 protein expression in endometriotic tissue, with a focus on the protein’s functions in epithelial wound repair. With a keen interest in endometriosis and women’s health he applied to join Professor Andrew Horne’s team when finishing his MSc, to contribute to research in this field. In his role, Liam works to support the research team and students within the laboratory.
Clinical Trials Research Assistant
Lauren graduated from The University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Master of Science in Biotechnology, before relocating to Edinburgh in 2011 to work in a range of different industries. She returned to further study at The University of Edinburgh in 2018 and is currently completing a Master of Science in Clinical Trials. She has been working as a clinical trials research assistant with The University of Edinburgh since 2019, based in the Centre for Reproductive Health.
Research Nurse, University of Edinburgh
Nicola completed her nurse training and graduated from Napier University in 1998. She worked clinically in Women’s Services at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh from 2001 until 2016. During this time she nursed in the inpatient gynaecology ward and the nurse-led early pregnancy unit. In 2014, alongside her clinical work, Nicola commenced her role as a Research Nurse recruiting patients to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain trials. She left clinical work in 2016 to focus on research full-time.
Sam is the admin support for the EXPPECT research nurses. She has six years of previous research admin support experience within the Women and children's research team, Burnley General Hospital, Lancashire and joined the EXPPECT team in May 2022. She assists with screening for patients, keeping trial database logs as well as local screening logs up to date and ensures that the paperwork needed for patient visits is ready and available to use at all times. She also corresponds with trial centres to ensure all paperwork is current.
An insight into endometriosis and pelvic pain research from the EXPPECT team
Hear from researchers in the EXPPECT Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain team. They talk about their current research work and aims to help improve treatments and quality of life for those with endometriosis and pelvic pain:
- Video: An insight into endometriosis and pelvic pain research from the EXPPECT team
- Hear from researchers in the EXPPECT Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain team. They talk about their current research work and aims to help improve treatments and quality of life for those with endometriosis and pelvic pain.
Meet the Research Team
You can watch members of the EXPPECT Edinburgh Research Team discuss their roles below (you can select team members using the 'Playlist' button at the top, or let the videos play back-to-back):