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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Saturday, 22 April 2023
Academic background
Health Sciences, Sciences
Host campus
Dr Michael Pankhurst


The ovary has a limited supply of eggs which exist in a dormant state within primordial follicles. The rate of depletion of primordial follicles is a key determinant of the age at menopause and may be linked to the onset of age-related female infertility. The activation of primordial follicles is the first step on the trajectory towards ovulation, but is also the process by which the supply of eggs is depleted. Developing follicles produce anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) inhibits primordial follicle activation, seemingly to regulate the rate of primordial follicle depletion. Interestingly, the majority of AMH is secreted in an inactive form that needs to be activated by proteolytic enzymes in the extracellular fluid. This project will investigate how and where AMH is activated in the ovary and how the ovary uses extracellular control mechanisms to regulate AMH signalling.
The candidate will gain experience in cell biology, biochemistry, organ culture, immunoassay and live-imaging confocal microscopy. The project involves the development of new techniques and established procedures and will provide experience in both human and animal studies. The laboratory is funded by a grant from the Health Research Council of New Zealand. Experience in reproductive biology is preferred, but not essential.

1) Pankhurst MW. A putative role for anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) in optimising ovarian reserve expenditure. The Journal of Endocrinology 2017;233: R1-R13.
2) Pankhurst MW, Chong YH. Variation in circulating antimullerian hormone precursor during the periovulatory and acute postovulatory phases of the human ovarian cycle. Fertility and Sterility 2016;106: 1238-1243 e1232.
3) Pankhurst MW, McLennan IS. Human blood contains both the uncleaved precursor of anti-Mullerian hormone and a complex of the NH2- and COOH-terminal peptides. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism 2013;305: E1241-1247.

Closing date Midnight, Sunday 22 April 2018 NZST (UTC+12)

For suitably qualified students, PhD scholarships may be available.

For scholarship and application details please visit the Department of Anatomy's website at

Applications will only be accepted by email to:

Specific enquiries about the project can be directed to the contact below.


Dr Michael Pankhurst

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