Personal profile


University Research Fellow in Child Health


Sue obtained a BSc in Physiology (1997) and a PhD in Renal Physiology (1980) from Manchester University. She then undertook postdoctoral research in renal physiology, in the University Departments of Physiology and Urology at Manchester, applying micropuncture techniques to study water and electrolyte reabsorption from the proximal renal tubule. In 1989, Sue joined the Placental Research Group in the Academic Unit of Child Health, St Mary’s Hospital, in Manchester. As Experimental /Senior Experimental Officer (1993-8), she established electrophysiology laboratories for microelectrode impalement and patch clamp studies of the human placenta in vitro and designed methods to measure placental amino acid transporter activity. Since her appointment to University Research Fellow in Child Health (1998), Sue has conducted research into the development and function of the human placenta in health and disease.

Research interests

My research interests centre on human placental development and function in relation to fetal growth in health and disease. I have focused on fetal growth restriction (FGR), a common and serious complication of pregnancy in which the fetal fails to achieve its growth potential leading to death in utero or premature birth and increased risk of disease in later life. The aetiology of FGR is complex, involving altered placental development, reduced placental blood flow and inadequate placental nutrient transfer. A major interest of mine, funded by Tommy’s the baby charity, is the origin of the reduced fetoplacental blood flow that is evident in FGR. I also investigate placental trophoblast development and nutrient transporter activity in FGR, studying (a) the role of ion channels in regulating placental trophoblast cell turnover (b) the function and regulation of the system A amino acid transporter in human and mouse placenta.


Undergraduate teaching

I regularly supervise undergraduate student laboratory projects.

Postgraduate teaching

I have formally supervised 7 PhD students and I currently supervise the following students for PhD:

  • Joanna Williams (potassium channels and placental cell turnover)
  • Christina Hayward (placental development and function in teenagers)

My collaborations

Prof Gloria Riquelme, University of Santiago, Chile

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Member of the Physiological Society

Member of IFPA (International Federation of Placenta Associations)

Methodological knowledge

Microelectrode impalements
Patch clamp
Primary cell culture
Membrane transport physiology


BSc; PhD

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
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Lydia Becker Institute
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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