Professor Jackson Kirkman-Brown MBE (Director ChRS)

Jackson is internationally recognised for his work in fertility and sperm (Andrology). He strongly believes that research into diagnostic and therapies in the area can have a rapid and direct impact not only on care, and therefore birth of the next generation, but also quality of life for the patients and children involved. As Director of the Centre for Human Reproductive Science he leads an interdisciplinary team with clinical trials and basic science collaborations across the UK and globe.

Jackson holds a dual-role, alongside his academic work he is also Director, HFEA Person Responsible and Science Lead at Birmingham Women’s Fertility Centre which includes coordinating one of the largest regional Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) services. He is Chief Investigator for the NIHR-funded UNiTY Clinical Trial (The UNexplained InfertiliTY Treatment Trial.

Dr Meurig Gallagher (Deputy-Director ChRS)

Meurig is a truly interdisciplinary researcher who integrates mathematical modelling and software with experimental methods to create new diagnostics and treatments for male infertility, and to tackle wider healthcare applications.

Meurig is an Assistant Professor at the University of Birmingham, based in the Medical School’s Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR), and is jointly appointed across IMSR, Mathematics, and Computer Science. In addition to this role, Meurig is Deputy-Director of ChRS and is the HFEA Research Personal Responsible for the University of Birmingham (Centre 0209). The main focus of Meurig’s research revolves around the creation and development of the package FAST (Flagellar Analysis and Sperm Tracking,, a tool that enables rapid, affordable analysis of the moving flagellum of the sperm cell. FAST is deployed with international clinical collaborators to understand key questions surrounding the role sperm play in the outcomes of fertility treatment, as well as to understand more general aspects of sperm function across species.


Dr Sarah Conner (Senior Lecturer in Reproduction)

Sarah graduated from the School of Biochemistry, University of Birmingham with a degree in Biochemistry with Biotechnology in 1996. She went on to study for a BHF-funded PhD in Protein Biochemistry (Structure and function of Human Heart Transhydrogenase) in the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham (awarded in 2000). Sarah then decided she would like to work on something that people at dinner parties would have heard of and took a post-doctoral position in the Medical School working on protein-protein interactions in human fertilisation. She then spent the next seven years working on a variety of projects within the field of reproduction from male infertility to embryonic stem cell derivation. In 2007, Sarah was appointed as Lecturer in Reproduction.

Sarah’s research interest is the biology of the human gametes (sperm and egg) from formation to implantation. She is particularly interested in the role of the oocyte vestments – the zona pellucida (the extracellular glycoprotein matrix that surrounds all vertebrate oocytes) and the cumulus oophorus layer – before, during and after fertilisation.   Sarah is also interested in male factor infertility, particularly the role of sperm DNA damage.  She is the primary and secondary supervisor to PhD students.

Dr Peter Hewett (Lecturer in Vascular and Reproductive Biology)

Pete is a lecturer in vascular and reproductive biology. His interests include the regulation and function of endothelial genes involved in vascular development, remodelling and homeostasis and how they may impact in pathologies such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, obesity, pre-eclampsia and cancer. He teaches various aspects of vascular biology, applied reproduction, pregnancy, transgenesis and molecular biology.

Dr Linda Lefièvre (Associate Professor in Endocrinology)

Linda Lefievre is a Senior Lecturer in Endocrinology. She is Deputy Director of Education for Digital and Distance Learning for the College of Medical and Dental Science.

Linda’s research expertise is in reproduction, particularly focusing on sperm maturation in the female tract prior fertilisation, a process known as sperm capacitation. Linda has a wide teaching portfolio and teaches across many programmes in the College. She has also been involved in student recruitment having been Admissions tutor for many years for the Biomedical Science programme. More recently, Linda has taken on the role of Deputy Director of Education for Digital and Distance Learning for the College with the focus of supporting colleagues with innovative and blended approaches for teaching and learning. In addition, Linda is developing a distance learning portfolio for the College which includes post graduate programmes as well as short courses and microcredentials

Dr Lauren Thomas-Seale (Senior Lecturer Mechanical Engineering)

Lauren is a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Birmingham; she is affiliated with the Biomedical Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Research Groups. Lauren has a MEng in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Bristol, a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Edinburgh and completed her post-doctoral position in the Biomedical Engineering Group of University of Birmingham. Lauren’s research interests are highly interdisciplinary, encompassing: cardiovascular science, developmental biology, imaging, elastography, bioengineering, design and additive manufacture.

Lauren’s collaboration with the ChRS involves analysing concepts seen in the development of the foetus and translating them to engineering, thus allowing the creation of novel design and additive manufacture techniques. Lauren’s overarching research goal is to reflect the advanced efficiency seen in developmental biology to solve both clinical and industrial barriers preventing the full exploitation of additive manufacture. 

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Professor David Smith (Applied Mathematics)

Dave is Head of Mathematical Biology and seconded Professor in the Centre for Systems Modelling and Quantitative Biomedicine. He works on the development and application of mathematical models and methods to interpret biological data and contribute mechanistic understanding in medical research, with particular focus on reproduction, development and endocrinology. Dave is founding editor of the journal Mathematics in Medical and Life Sciences, which has a mission to champion the application of mathematics across medicine, biology, ecology and beyond.


Miss Lynne Robinson (Consultant Gynaecologist and Service Lead)

Lynne Robinson is our Fertility Clinical lead and is a consultant gynaecologist and subspecialist in Reproductive medicine and Surgery. Lynne graduated from Edinburgh University and completed a MD in basic sciences related to Reproductive Medicine. She was appointed a consultant at Birmingham Women’s Hospital in 2012 and has led the Birmingham Women’s Fertility Unit since 2018. Lynne leads the Reproductive Endocrinology service and Menopause services and has a special interest in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Premature Ovarian Insufficiency. Her surgical interests are tubal and fibroid surgery. She has published widely and continues her academic work alongside her teaching and service development commitments.

Mr Qamar Walayat (Senior Embryologist)

Senior Embryologist, Qamar Walayat is a state registered Clinical Embryologist with over 10 years ART experience. Having undertaken an MSc in Clinical Embryology and completing the Scientific Training Program in Reproductive Science. Qamar is passionate about perfecting embryological techniques such as PGT embryo biopsy and ICSI. Qamar undertook his elective at one of world’s largest IVF centres allowing him to develop in-depth knowledge and skills in Embryology. Qamar coordinates the team of highly skilled and experienced embryologists who consistently deliver evidence based care with outstanding results.

Dr Hisham AlAhwany (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Hisham AlAhwany is a research associate in ChRS, based in Birmingham Women’s Hospital but working across both Hospital and University sites. His current research focusses on sperm motility and microfluidics, but has wider interests across fertility and reproduction. Hisham’s role involves supporting the delivery of research across ChRS, including working with donors and patients that are participating in our studies. He holds a Master’s degree in Assisted Reproductive Technology and a PhD in Reproductive Medicine from the University of Nottingham, UK, and has completed his MB BCh at home in Egypt where we worked as a gynaecologist and embryology lab assistant.

George Southall-Brown (Andrology Team Lead)

George Southall-Brown is a qualified Clinical Andrologist having completed the Scientist Training Programme in Andrology in September 2023. George graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2020 with an MSci in Biological Sciences, which included a project developing a microfluidic device for sperm selection in assisted reproduction technologies. George is passionate about providing a high quality service for male patients throughout the pathway from diagnosis to treatment, and is particularly interested in how new technologies may improve patient care in the future.

Ingrida Krasauskaite (Embryologist)

Ingrida Krasauskaite is a state registered Clinical Embryologist with over 15 years of hands-on experience in IVF laboratories. With research experience in Women’s health at Vilnius University, Lithuania, and clinical experience in both UK and abroad Fertility Centres, she brings a wide range of skill and expertise to BWFC. Ingrida has a special interest in gamete and embryo evaluation and selection, and researching novel ways that can improve the way we select the best gametes and embryos, and help our patients achieve their goal of a healthy family.

Christopher Fraser (Embryologist)


Clare Hannon (Lead Research Nurse)

After qualifying as a nurse in 2010, Clare gained experience in an acute medical setting before moving to Birmingham Women’s Hospital as a Staff Nurse in Gynaecology in 2013. This sparked a keen interest in Women’s Health and with time, and a long-standing desire to improve care and treatments, this developed into a passion for research. Since 2018, Clare has supported and delivered research in Reproductive Health and now leads a team of research staff to do the same.

Dr Justin Chu (Sub-specialist Consultant in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery)

Dr Justin Chu is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He completed his PhD by medical research at the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research at the University of Birmingham and was an Academic Clinical Lecturer until his Consultancy post in 2020.

Justin is based at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital where he is the Clinical Lead of the Tommy’s Recurrent Miscarriage service and is a Sub-specialist Consultant in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery. His research interests lie in embryo implantation in assisted reproductive treatments, miscarriage and reproductive surgery. Justin also has great interest in Fertility Education and male infertility.

Samantha Xien Chiun Lim (Trainee Embryologist)

Samantha Lim is currently in her first year of the Scientist Training Programme in embryology at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital. Samantha graduated from the University of Bath with a BSc(Hons) in biomedical science in 2021. Her university experience sparked her interest in pursuing a career in fertility. Samantha is passionate in gaining her embryology qualifications so she can provide quality service to patients undergoing fertility treatment.


Dr Gianpiero Palermo (Weill Cornell, USA)

Dr Ioannis Sfontouris (Eugonia IVF, Athens, Greece)

Dr Elise Hennebert (UMONS, Belgium)

Professor Elisabetta Bladi (University of Florence, Italy)

Dr Kelly Tilleman (UZ Gent, Belgium)

Dr Nicolas Garrido-Puchalt (IVI Foundation, Valencia Spain)

Professor Simon de Graaf (University of Sydney, Australia)

Professor Gerhard van der Horst (University of the Western Cape, South Africa)

Dr Sandro Esteves (Androfert, Campinas, Brazil)

Dr Willem Ombelet (The Walking Egg Project, Genk, Belgium)

Professor Stuart Humphries (University of Lincoln, UK)

Professor Heather Widdows (University of Warwick, UK)

Dr Fiona Maccallum (University of Warwick, UK)

Dr Lucy Frith (University of Manchester, UK)

Lucy is the Principal investigator on the ConnecteDNA project to explore how people involved in donor conception both use and are impacted by the rise in online DNA testing (sometimes called direct-to-consumer genetic testing or DTCGT for short) – Jackson is Co-Investigator. More details about the project can be found here: ConnecteDNA: Exploring the impact of direct-to-consumer genetic testing on donor conception.