Professor Helen Picton

Professor and Head of Division

0113 343 7817

Summary: Cell and molecular biology of female reproduction and preservation of fertility in health and disease.

Location: Division of Reproduction and Early Development

Teaching Commitments: Programme Director For the MSc in Clinical Embryology ( Delivery of suites of lectures, practicals and tutorials at postgraduate and undergraduate level on: the biology of female reproduction; ovarian aging; female fertility and infertility treatment; assisted reproduction technology; in vitro growth and maturation of oocytes; cryobiology and cryopreservation of reproductive cells and tissues; ethics of assisted reproduction. Research-led teaching- supervision for Ph.D, MD, MRes, MSc and undergraduate work-placement students.



BSc, Ph.D

Research Area

The focus of my research falls within the theme of Reproduction and Early Development. It incorporates a combination of mechanistic and applied research. The fundamental research includes focussed cellular and molecular investigations of oogenesis, folliculogenesis and embryogenesis in large animals and humans. This research has established the technology for the sustained in vitro growth of large animal- and human- ovarian follicles and oocytes and has produced robust models which can be used to conduct functional analyses of human and animal oocyte genes in vitro. Research in this theme has also established a unique collection of cDNA libraries that span all stages of human, ovine and bovine oocyte and embryo development. This resource has been used to characterised a number of novel genes which regulate oocyte development and fertility and has established the normal sequence of epigenetic and genomic imprinting events during human oocyte and preimplantation embryo development. Technology which underpins my research includes molecular and cytogenetic techniques and metabolic assays which are sensitive at the single cell level, long-term cell and follicle culture, IVF and embryo culture, cryobiology and live cell imaging. The fundamental research into human oocyte, follicle and embryo development has been used to underpin clinical investigations of the aetiology of female infertility and the quantification of human oocyte and embryo health and well as to develop and test new infertility treatments and methods to conserve female fertility such as oocyte and ovarian tissue cryopreservation.

Widening Participation

Chair of the Society for Reproduction and Fertility 2004-2009 Chair of the joint executive of the UK Fertility Societies 2007-2009 European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology-Coordinator of the task force on fertility preservation in severe diseases 2010- Regular invited speaker at national and international conferences for the scientific and clinical community and at meetings for patient and lay audiences.