Personal profile


Honorary Research Fellow in the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Group at Saint Mary’s Hospital, specialising in electron microscopy and lectin histochemistry. My main role is carrying out independent research and supporting other workers within the group.  I also collaborate with many national and international research groups in the field of placental and endometrial biology.


While working as a medical laboratory technician at Birmingham Dental School I became interested in electron microscopy and decided on a career in morphological research. I enrolled as a mature entry undergraduate at Manchester University obtaining an Honours degree in 1970, followed by an MSc in 1971 and PhD in 1976, the latter being centred on ultrastructural research on the human placenta.

After seven years as a research fellow in the Department of Rheumatology I was invited in 1983 to take up a permanent post in the Pathology Department at Manchester University, and to set up a laboratory for lectin histochemistry. This post, initially technical, was converted to that of Experimental Officer in 1988, which was then upgraded to Senior Experimental Officer in 1994. The post was converted to that of Research Fellow in 1995 and then in 1997 I transferred by mutual agreement to the Academic Unit of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Reproductive Health Care at St Mary’s Hospital as my research interests were almost wholly in reproductive sciences at that time.

Since then I have been engaged in numerous collaborations both within and outside the University, using my expertise in electron microscopy and glycobiology, and now continue to work in an Honorary capacity.

Research interests

  • Glycosylation and ultrastructure of the fetomaternal interface
  • Comparative placentology
  • Glycosylation of organoids and other model systems.

Research interests:

My main research interests lie in the fields of morphology and glycobiology with respect to the placenta and endometrium. I also collaborate with Principal Investigators on a number of projects involving organoids and other model systems as well as advising on electron microscopy.

I have a long-standing interest in comparative placentology in which I examine the fetomaternal interface with respect to the different sugar molecules, or glycans, that are expressed there, and how these have changed during the course of evolution. This is of particular interest where related animals have diverged many thousands of years ago and occupy different geographical locations, such as the camel (old world) and alpaca (new world). This work is important in understanding some aspects of implantation and the relationship between the glycosylation of the placenta in relation to successful attachment and development within the uterus. It can also help elucidate evolutionary relationships between different groups of animals which are at present unclear.  The existance of a "glycocode" between the endometrial surface and that of the placenta has been demonstrated and this may have important implications for successful pregnancy outcomes in women.


My collaborations

Dr Sandra Wilsher, Sharjah Equine Hospital.

Prof. John D. Aplin, M. Sharps, A. Stevens and others within the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Group, University of Manchester.

Dr H. Yung, University of Cambridge, UK.

Prof. Eric Jauniaux, University College Hospital, London, UK.

Methodological knowledge

I have over 40 years experience in electron microscopy and almost 25 years working in lectin histochemistry. Both these areas of expertise are now highly valued and therefore I am frequently consulted and invited to collaborate by scientists from all over the world.


  • 1970 BSc (1st class) Zoology (U of MCR),
  • 1971 MSc (U of MCR),
  • 1976 PhD (U of MCR)
  • 2011 DMedSc (U of MCR)
  • 1970 Fellow of the Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences (Histology)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Areas of expertise

  • Q Science (General)
  • Placenta
  • endometrium
  • Glycobiology


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