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Suzannah Williams

Suzannah Williams


2010 Society for Reproduction and Fertility (SRF) New Investigator of the Year

Current Group Members:

  • Eleni Papadopoulou (DPhil student)
  • Briet Bjarkadottir (DPhil student)
  • Tomi Adeniran (DPhil student)
  • Ruth Appeltant (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Aleona Swegen (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Previous Group Members:

  • Lindsay Baxter (Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellowship)
  • Xi Wei (DPhil student completed 2019)
  • Charlotte Walker (DPhil student completed 2019)
  • Arwa Alageel (DPhil student completed 2019)
  • Sairah Sheikh (DPhil student completed 2018)
  • Belinda Lo (DPhil student completed 2018)
  • Heidy Kaune (DPhil student completed 2015)
  • Panayiota Ploutarchou (DPhil student completed 2015)
  • Patrica Grasa Molina (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Anna Deleva (Research Associate)
  • Alice Christensen (Medical Student) 
  • 23 MSc student projects (2010-2019)
  • 19 FHS/Undergraduate student projects (2008-2019)
  • SRF vacation, ERASMUS, SSM and FY2 projects


  • Prof. Norah Spears (University of Edinburgh)
  • Profs. Evelyn Telfer and Richard Anderson, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr. Rachel Cox (Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, USA)
  • Prof. Jo Poulton, NDWRH
  • Prof. Dagan Wells, NDWRH

Academic Groups and Editorial Boards

2013-present  Editorial Board Member Journal Reproduction

2010-2013, 2019- Member of Council Society for Reproduction and Fertility

Opportunities to work with us

We are always keen to hear from people interested in working (Postdocs) or studying with us (e.g., DPhil, MSc by Research, ERASMUS students, summer students). Please contact Dr Williams by email in the first instance.

SRF Vacation Scholarships
SRF funded vacation scholarships are available to enable students to carry out research projects during the summer. Dr. Williams has hosted students before - get in contact to discuss these opportunities. 2019 open - deadline 18th April ( 


Research in the Williams group has been funded by the Medical Research Fund, John Fell OUP, MRC, and the Society for Reproduction and Fertility.

Suzannah Williams

BSc Hons, PhD

Associate Professor & Senior Research Fellow

  • Principal Investigator
  • Research Group Leader
  • Lead of Ovarian Research for the Oxford Future Fertility Trust
  • Founder and Lead of Rhino Fertility Project


Prof. Williams (BSc Zoology, University of Aberdeen) completed her PhD at the Royal Veterinary College, London investigating nutritional regulation of ovarian function using sheep as a model for human. This involved collaborative studies in Glasgow, Dublin and Perth, Australia.

Following her PhD, Prof. Williams was awarded a Wain Fellowship and a Lalor Fellowship to work in Perth, Australia for 2 years. Prof. Williams then moved to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York where she generated transgenic mouse models and demonstrated that oocyte glycans were not required in sperm-zona binding thus mooting hypotheses that had existed for almost 20 years. She also identified the oocyte as a key regulator of follicle selection and fertility since mice carrying oocytes lacking complex O-glycans had sustained increased fertility. She also identified the oocyte as having a key role in maintaining follicle integrity since follicles containing modified oocytes were able to join. Prof. Williams also revealed a crucial role for the oocyte in maintaining ovarian function since oocytes lacking both O- and N-glycans led to the onset of premature ovarian failure.

In 2008, Prof. Williams moved to the University of Oxford where she established her research group in the Dept of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics investigating the role of the oocyte in regulating fertility and ovarian function supported by a MRC New Investigator grant. In 2011, Prof. Williams moved to the Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health (previously Obstetrics and Gynaecology).

More Recently

Prof. Williams continues to work on premature ovarian insufficiency (supported by a MRC Centenary Award), and understanding ovarian function in health and disease. Prof. Williams has also expanded her programme of research to study human ovarian function and now leads the Oxford Ovarian Fertility Preservation Research Programme to develop and improve techniques for human fertility preservation.

Prof. Williams has also established the Rhino Fertility Project with the aim of developing techniques to culture rhino ovarian tissue and generate follicles and eggs in vitro. This project will develop techniques using Southern White Rhino ovarian tissue with the goal of saving the Northern White Rhino of which there are only two females left. 

More information is available about the studies being carried out by the Williams group on the Ovarian Research website.