Pelvic Pain
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Our research

The research at EXPPECT Edinburgh is led by Professor Andrew Horne, Professor Philippa Saunders and Dr Lucy Whitaker.

Each group focuses on furthering understanding of the causes of chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis symptoms and the development of novel treatment strategies.

Find out more about their research below.

Professor Andrew Horne (PhD FRCOG FRCP Edin FRCSEd FRSE)

Co-Director of EXPPECT Edinburgh, Professor of Gynaecology and Reproductive Sciences, Honorary Consultant Gynaecologist

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Chronic pelvic pain affects over 1 million UK women. Up to 50% will have underlying endometriosis but in the remainder no obvious cause is often identified. We have recently completed a large UK-wide multicentre trial to determine whether gabapentin, a drug commonly used to treat other chronic pain conditions, is an effective treatment for chronic pelvic pain specifically. We have also shown that the cells lining the pelvis are different in women with endometriosis, leading to an altered environment in the pelvis. Our ongoing work aims to investigate targeted therapies to re-establish a normal healthy pelvic environment and relieve endometriosis symptoms.

Professor Andrew HornePersonal Chair in Gynaecology and Reproductive Sciences, Honorary Consultant Gynaecologist, University of Edinburgh


View Professor Andrew Horne's web page for more information. 

Professor Philippa Saunders (PhD FMedSci)

Co-Director of EXPPECT Edinburgh, Chair of Reproductive Steroids, Director of Postgraduate Research

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My work with patient groups has identified that women with endometriosis want more effective medical treatments so that they can avoid repeated invasive surgeries and the unwanted side effects associated with current therapies. I believe that novel therapeutics targeting androgen receptors hold significant promise as a medical treatment for the symptoms associated with endometriosis. My team are working towards understanding the androgen-regulated processes relevant to the establishment, and maintenance of, endometriosis lesions and their interaction with pain pathways.

Professor Philippa SaundersPersonal Chair of Reproductive Steroids and Director of Postgraduate Research, University of Edinburgh


View Professor Philippa Saunders' web page for more information.

Dr Lucy Whitaker (MBChB MD MSc MRCOG)

  • Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Edinburgh
  • Honorary Senior Registrar, NHS Lothian

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My role is at the interface between bench side research and translation into standard clinical care pathways, designing and delivering clinical trials using multiple modalities that produce outputs that are both clinically meaningful and address patient needs. These include repurposing non hormonal medical treatments to modify the pelvic environment and surgical trials to address management uncertainties in the operative treatment of endometriosis.

Dr Lucy WhitakerClinical Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Edinburgh. Honorary Senior Registrar, NHS Lothian