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 Jessica Elliott-Friend

Jessica Elliott-Friend

PhD researcher

 Hatherly C8


Hatherly Building, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4PS, UK

I have a long held interest in reproductive biology, and am particularly interested in the interactions between the environment and reproductive outcomes. I undertook my degree at University of Plymouth, where I studied Human biosciences. My undergraduate project focused on noninvasive prenatal screening for Down Syndrome using maternal plasma samples. This greatly strengthened my interest in research and lab skills.

Throughout my studies I have undertaken volunteer work experiences. I have gained experience within a working NHS lab, and a number of fertility clinics, both private and NHS. This has enabled me to have a full understanding of the processes patients go through during fertility treatment, something I think is aiding my current project. Straight from my undergraduate degree in 2011 I joined Dr Fiona Mathews and Prof. Tamara Galloway at the University of Exeter to begin my PhD. This focuses on male infertility, in particular the effect of environmental exposures. This is funded by NERC and is carried out in collaboration with Mr J. West, consultant Gynaecologist, at the Royal Devon and Exeter fertility centre.

Broad research specialisms:

Reproductive biology


2011 Bsc(Hons) Human Biosciences


Research projects

Project Title: Paternal effects on reproduction: investigating environmental exposures and sperm quality in humans using new technologies.  

Supervisors: Dr Fiona Mathews, Prof. Tamara Galloway

Funding Body: NERC

Project Description: Infertility affects up to 14% of couples but a large proportion is due to unknown factors. Research has largely focused on maternal aspects. However, with over 40% of cases due to paternal factors there is a need for a better understanding of the male influences on infertility. This project aims to investigate the environmental influences on male infertility, including mobile phones, stress and PAH exposure. Alongside this, we are also investigating the differences between the spermatozoal RNA present in ‘fertile’ and ‘infertile’ men. Throughout the project, we are also hoping to utilize technologies that are more objective at assessing sperm quality, such as CASA, with the hope of improving semen quality assessments in future clinical settings.

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