Philippa Saunders (PhD, FMedSci, FRSE, FCOG ad eudem)

Professor of Reproductive Steroids, Co-Director Exppect Edinburgh

  • Institute for Regeneration and Repair

Contact details



Institute of Regeneration and Repair,
Edinburgh Bioquarter

Post code
EH16 4UU


  • Working hours Tues, Wed, Thurs


Philippa Saunders is Professor of Reproductive Steroids at the University of Edinburgh and co-Director of the EXPPECT Centre which brings together discovery scientists and clinicians conducting research to improve diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis.

Her current research is focused on increasing our understanding of the ways in which sex steroids, their receptors and downstream signalling pathways, regulate reproductive and other tissues. Her studies on endometrial function include seminal contributions on the role(s) of androgens, insights on mechanisms of scarless healing and translational studies focused on finding new strategies to reduce endometriosis-associated symptoms including pain.

The excellence of her research contribution has been recognised by Fellowships of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci), the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) and a prestigious Fellowship ad eudeum of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRCOG). She is passionate about supporting career development in biomedical sciences and has trained and mentored more that 50 students and fellows. She is active on social media highlighting the importance of women’s health research and has been recognised for her contributions to public engagement.

Research summary

Reproductive and general health particularly the role of sex steroids. Women's health disoders such as endometriosis and their impact on symptoms and quality of life. Models and mechanisms.

Current research interests

co-Director EXPPECT Edinburgh - translational research to find new non-hormonal therapies for relief of endometriosis symptoms such as chronic pain.

Past research interests

Male reproductive biology - impact of androgen receptor signalling.

Affiliated research centres

  • Centre for Reproductive Health

Research activities

View all 38 activities on Research Explorer

Current project grants

2021-2025 UKRI/Advanced Pain Discovery Platform (APDP) ADVANTAGE consortium. MR/W002426/1. Lead PI Woods (Cambridge). £4.1m. Co-I.
2021-2025 FEMaLE – progressing understanding of endometriosis. EU commission (ref 101017562) 5944135 euros. Lead Aarhus, Denmark
2018-2023 IMI-Pain Care – Improving the care of patients suffering from acute or chronic pain. EU Call topic code: IMI2-2016-10-03C. total award PAINCARE consortium 6.48 million euros. WP 10: Models of Endometriosis Pain (Academic Lead and WP Leader). Edinburgh portion of grant award. 341,331 euros.
2016-2025 MRC Doctoral Training Programme in Precision Medicine. Funding for stipends, fees and training costs for 13x3 intakes of new PhD studentships. Lead applicant Philippa Saunders on behalf of the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. MR/N013166/1. Original award £3.3m. Extended by additional awards (Philippa Saunders lead PI) for 12 further studentships (£850,000). Extension to DTP June 2018 (2x13 = £2.3m).

Past project grants

2016-2021 MRC Programme Grant. Androgens and women’s health: developing new therapies for endometriosis. PI Philippa Saunders. £1,813,379. MR/N024524/1
2018-2021 MRC Confidence in Concept (CIC) Scheme. UoE. Phase II single-arm open label clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and side effects of dichloroacetate to treat endometriosis-associated pain £120,173.00 (£96,138.40 80% fEC). MRC/CIC6/58.
2016-2021 Mass Spectrometry imaging in translational endocrine research, 202794/Z/16/Z. Wellcome Trust Multiuser Equipment Grant. Co-I. £793,450. [PI Andrew].
2021-2022 MRC Confidence in Concept (CIC) Scheme. UoE. Kynurenine monooxygenase (KMO) inhibition as a novel therapy for endometriosis: proof-of-concept. Co-I. PI Damian Mole. Total award. £69,875 (£55,340 80% fEC).
2018-2022 MRC Project Grant "Identifying disease promoting macrophages and tissue-identity in endometriosis” E Greaves (PI), AW Horne, PTK Saunders, S Jenkins. £738,262. MR/S002456/1
2016-2020 MRC Asset Sharing Scheme/DPFS. CB2 agonists as a novel treatment for women with endometriosis-associated pain. PI Philippa Saunders, £302,097. MR/P00265X/1
2018-2019 ISSF3. Defining the impact of the cholesterol metabolite 27-hydroxycholesterol on tissue repair processes. IS3-R92. £20,000. (support for Douglas Gibson WT Fellowship Application).
2017-2019 Ferring Research Innovation Grant Targeting TGFß-1 with an extracellular peptide inhibitor to treat women with peritoneal endometriosis AW Horne (PI), PTK Saunders, SF Ahmad. $70,000.
2016-2018 Wellbeing of Women. Novel repurposing of anticancer drugs to treat endometriosis. AW Horne (PI), Philippa Saunders + 7 other co-Is. £198,864. Final report rated excellent.
2016-2020 MOMENDO, H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015. Consortium of seven EU and two non-EU partners. Edinburgh PI Philippa Saunders. Edinburgh award. 346,500 Euros.

View all 216 publications on Research Explorer