Elizabeth Cottrell

Elizabeth Cottrell, PhD.


Personal profile


Maternal health is critical both for reproductive success and for the long-term health of offspring. Exposure to an adverse intrauterine environment (due to factors such as maternal disease, poor nutrition or stress) is associated not only with increased risk of pregnancy complications, but also impairs fetal growth and development, predisposing these offspring to hypertension, diabetes, cancer and neurobehavioural disorders in adult life. Clearly, optimising maternal health before and during pregnancy could have significant benefits for population health.

My research interests focus on developing a mechanistic understanding of how environmental influences and maternal physiology impact both maternal and fetal health during pregnancy, and can programme disease risk in later life.  A major goal is to identify therapies or interventions that will improve pregnancy outcomes and lifelong health.


Following an Honour's degree in Physiology from the University of Otago in New Zealand, Lizzy moved to the University of Cambridge in the UK to complete her PhD studies, graduating in 2009.  After a post-doctoral position at the University of Edinburgh, Lizzy moved to the University of Manchester in 2011 and in 2015 was awarded a Fellowship from the British Heart Foundation to establish her independent research group within the maternal and fetal health research centre. In 2021, she was appointed as a Lecturer in maternal and fetal health.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Society for Endocrinology (UK)

The Physiological Society (UK)

The Endocrine Society (USA)

The British Society for Neuroendocrinology


BSc (Hons) Physiology, University of Otago, 2000-2004

PhD, University of Cambridge, 2005-2009

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

  • QP Physiology
  • Reproductive biology
  • Pregnancy
  • Nutrition
  • Developmental biology
  • RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
  • Pregnancy therapeutics

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Lydia Becker Institute


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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