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Contact Details

Senior Lecturer
Department of Anatomy
BSc (Hons) (Leic) PhD (CNAA)
Research summary
Mammalian Reproductive Biology


Reproductive biology is concerned with understanding the structural components and functional mechanisms that regulate fertility. Dr Hurst's research interests concern a number of topics that are being studied by postgraduate students in this Department. These projects require a range of technical skills to be applied to answer questions and address ideas that evolve.

A number of studies concern the ovaries in mice, sheep and humans. Experiments are designed to determine if primordial follicles are immune from cell death and explain why they can maintain the potential to grow for many years. The lab uses laser capture microdissection to selectively isolate individual follicles and also different cellular constituents of growing follicles. This allows individual genes to be studied in the different components of follicles.

PhD student Holly Douglas is investigating prolactin receptor and inhibitors of apoptosis in sheep follicles and Linda Gulliver (a recent PhD graduand) assessed changes to the ovarian surface epithelium as a consequence of estradiol treatments in mice.

A recent PhD graduand Anne O'Connell has studied uterine factors that are associated with varied pregnancy rates in sheep known to have high numbers of ovulation


O'Connell, A. R., McNatty, K. P., Hurst, P. R., Spencer, T. E., Bazer, F. W., Reader, K. L., … Juengel, J. L. (2016). Activin A and follistatin during the oestrous cycle and early pregnancy in ewes. Journal of Endocrinology, 228(3), 193-203. doi: 10.1530/joe-15-0367 Journal - Research Article

O'Connell, A. R., Hurst, P. R., Davis, G. H., McNatty, K. P., Taylor, S. L., & Juengel, J. L. (2013). An earlier rise in systemic progesterone and increased progesterone in the uterine vein during early pregnancy are associated with enhanced embryonic survival in the ewe. Theriogenology, 80, 269-274. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2013.04.006 Journal - Research Article

Gulliver, L., & Hurst, P. R. (2012). E-cadherin and estrogen receptor (ER) alpha and beta 1 protein expression differ between OSE and oviduct epithelium in older mice: Implications for origin of ovarian epithelial cancer? European Journal of Cancer, 48(Suppl. 5), (pp. S204). [Abstract] Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Gulliver, L. S. M., & Hurst, P. R. (2012). Repeat estradiol exposure differentially regulates protein expression patterns for estrogen receptor and E-cadherin in older mouse ovarian surface epithelium: Implications for replacement and adjuvant hormone therapies? Steroids, 77(6), 674-685. doi: 10.1016/j.steroids.2012.02.015 Journal - Research Article

Phillipps, H. R., & Hurst, P. R. (2012). XIAP: A potential determinant of ovarian follicular fate. Reproduction, 144, 165-176. doi: 10.1530/rep-12-0142 Journal - Research Article

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