Determinants of reproductive function & health in young women

PhD project (3/4 yr research project leading to independent research at the doctorate level)

Dr. Abigail Fraser, Dr. Laura Howe, Prof Debbie Lawlor

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Maternal age at first birth is now at an all-time high; 29.8 years in England and Wales in 2012 and 20% of babies are born to mothers 35 years or older[1]. Both genetics[2] and environmental exposures[3-6] contribute to determining reproductive health indicators such as age at menarche and menopause. Yet the principal determinants of women's reproductive health and potential remain to be clarified.
The main aim of this project is to study the life course epidemiology of reproductive health and potential using reproductive hormones (AMH, oestradiol, FSH, LH, SHBG, androgens) measured in young women at peak reproductive health (age 25 years).

Aims & objectives

Potential objectives are to study:
1.prenatal exposures in relation to reproductive hormones in young women
2.modifiable behaviours e.g. diet, smoking, stress, growth, and adiposity measured repeatedly in relation to reproductive hormones
3.associations of reproductive hormones with menstrual characteristics
4.the role of epigenetics in women’s reproductive health


ALSPAC is a prospective population-based birth cohort that recruited 14,541 pregnant women resident in Avon, UK with expected dates of delivery 1st April 1991 to 31st December 1992 (
The student will use appropriate statistical modelling techniques such as multivariable regression, bivariate linear spline models[7] and a structured life course approach[8] to examine repeatedly measured exposures and their associations with measures of young women's reproductive health. A quantitative EWAS of reproductive hormone profiles will be undertaken using data from the ARIES resource.


1 2 Hartge. Nat Genet 2009. 3 D'Aloisio. Epidemiol 2013. 4 Mishra. Womens Health 2009. 5 Mishra. Maturitas 2013. 6 Gold. AJE 2013. 7 Palmer. Stata J 2014. 8 Smith. Epidemiol In press.

Created on Oct. 1, 2015, 9 a.m.

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