MRC Centre for Reproductive Health
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Professor Richard Anderson

Research interests, current research projects and grants.

Professor Richard Anderson

Elsie Inglis Professor of Clinical Reproductive Science. Deputy Director Centre for Reproductive Health

  • BSc(Hons), PhD, MB. ChB, MRCOG, MD, CCST, FRCOG, FRC(Ed)
  • Head of Section, Obstetrics and Gynaecology (University of Edinburgh)

Contact details



The Queen’s Medical Research Institute
Edinburgh BioQuarter
47 Little France Crescent

Post Code
EH16 4TJ

Regulation of ovarian development and the reproductive lifespan

Women are born with a limited supply of oocytes, and dogma dictates that these cannot be replaced. As women age, these oocytes continuously decrease in quality and quantity, culminating in the menopause. Understanding of how female reproductive potential is established is thus central to knowledge of human fertility and its disorders, and of how early development might impact on adult ovarian function. In the Anderson Laboratory, we have established a programme of studies which address factors that are relevant to these processes in the human fetal ovary and underpin female fertility, from early germ cell proliferation and subsequent meiotic entry, leading up to primordial follicle formation. These studies are complemented by clinical-based studies addressing the impact of cancer treatments on reproductive function in women, and the development of ovarian cryopreservation strategies for fertility preservation for girls and young women undergoing cancer therapy.

Richard Anderson images and pie chart for profile page

Current research projects

  • Human ovarian development
  • Development of ovarian cryopreservation for fertility preservation
  • Human meiosis and its errors
  • Effects of chemotherapy on oocyte and follicle development
  • Regulation of the HPG axis by Kisspeptin and Neurokinin B
  • The existence and characteristics of human oogonial stem cells
  • Development of hormonal approached to male contraception

Staff/group members

  • Roseanne Rosario (Postdoctoral Research Scientist)
  • Hazel Stewart (Laboratory Manager)
  • Anne Saunderson (Research Nurse and Trial Coordinator)
  • Norma Forson (Research Nurse)
  • Sharon Ritchie (Trial Administrator)

Current PhD/MD students:

  • Mila Maidarti
  • Maddie Thiel
  • John Reynolds-Wright
  • Emily Bailie

Current and Recent grants:

2017- 2020 MRC research grant MR/R003246/1 Investigation of the oogenic potential of putative germline stem cells isolated for the ovaries of girls and adult women. With EE Telfer

2018- 2021 BBSRC grant BB/R015635/1 Identification of human-specific regulatory mechanisms in female germ cell development. With R Rosario and IA Adams

2018- 2022 OPTIMA (Optical Medical Imaging with Healthcare Innovation, EPSRC and MRC Centre for Optical Medical Imaging) 4 year PhD studentship with Prof A Eflick.

2019-2022 NHMRC (APP1158540). The pursuit to develop mechanism-based interventions for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). KA Walters, DJ Handelsman, RE Campbell, RB Gilchrist, V Padmanabhan, DP Begg

2019-2022 NHMRC (APP1163202) Eggsurance? A randomised controlled trial of a novel Decision Aid for women considering egg freezing. Hickey M, Peate M, Norman R, Hart R, Parle A, Lieberman D, Fisher J, Hammarberg K, Johnson L, Lew R, Braat, D and Ledger W

2019-2024 Wellcome Trust collaborative grant; Molecular origin of non-disjunction in human meiotic and early mitotic divisions. With A McAinsh, A Martson, N Burroughs, EE Telfer, G Hartshorne

Selected recent publications

Anderson RA and Baird DT The development of ovarian tissue cryopreservation in Edinburgh: Translation from a rodent model through validation in a large mammal and then into clinical practice. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2019; 98: 545-549.

Clarkson YL, Weatherall E, Waterfall M, McLaughlin M, Lu H, Skehel PA, Anderson RA and Telfer EE Extracellular Localisation of the C-Terminus of DDX4 Confirmed by Immunocytochemistry and Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting. Cells 2019; 8.

Mamsen LS, Charkiewicz K, Anderson RA, Telfer EE, McLaughlin M, Kelsey TW, Kristensen SG, Gook DA, Ernst E and Andersen CY Characterization of follicles in girls and young women with Turner syndrome who underwent ovarian tissue cryopreservation. Fertil Steril 2019; 111: 1217-1225 e1213.

Hummitzsch K, Hatzirodos N, Irving-Rodgers HF, Hartanti MD, Perry VEA, Anderson RA and Rodgers RJ Morphometric analyses and gene expression related to germ cells, gonadal ridge epithelial-like cells and granulosa cells during development of the bovine fetal ovary. PLoS One 2019; 14: e0214130

Maidarti M, Clarkson YL, McLaughlin M, Anderson RA and Telfer EE Inhibition of PTEN activates bovine non-growing follicles in vitro but increases DNA damage and reduces DNA repair response. Hum Reprod 2019; 34: 297-307.

Telfer EE and Anderson RA The existence and potential of germline stem cells in the adult mammalian ovary. Climacteric 2019; 22: 22-26.

van der Kooi ALF, Kelsey TW, van den Heuvel-Eibrink MM, Laven JSE, Wallace WHB and Anderson RA Perinatal complications in female survivors of cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Cancer 2019; 111: 126-137.

Anderson Lab in the media

Recent interviews/programmes featuring the groups work include:

  • ‘Inside health’ (BBC Radio4, July 2019)
  • The Jeremy Vine Show (BBC Radio2, June 2019)

Recent awards for research group


  • Dr R Rosario: Wellbeing of Women Postdoctoral Award 2018    
  • Dr R Rosario: Society for Endocrinology Early Career Grant 2018    
  • Adrian Khaw (medical student) best poster presentation award for Annual Meeting of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Scottish Trainees (AMOnGST) 2018     
  • Ursula Blyth (medical student); oral presentation winner at British Undergraduate Society for O&G/RCOG medical student conference 2018    Dr Jenifer Sassarini: Greenblatt Prize for best communication, World Congress on Menopause. 2017    
  • Dr M Maidarti: International Society for Fertility Preservation outstanding abstract award, annual meeting Vienna 2017. 2016    ESHRE Basic Science oral communication prize: McLaughlin M, Kelsey TW, Wallace WHB, Anderson RA, Telfer EE. 2016    
  • Kelsey Grieve  Larry Ewing Memorial Trainee Travel Fund Award and 2016 USDA–NIFA–AFRI Merit Award, SSR annual meeting.

Current external activities

  • ESHRE Executive Committee
  • HFEA Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee
  • Past Coordinator, ESHRE Special Interest Group ‘Fertility Preservation’
  • Chair, Scottish Government ‘Fertility Preservation’ working group
  • Scottish Government National Infertility working group
  • Steering Committee, National Gender Identity Clinical Network Scotland
  • Scientific Consulting Group, Contraception Discovery and Development Branch, National Institute for Child Health and Development, USA