Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Campus: Camden

Research Groups: Safe and Sustainable Food, Livestock Production and Health

Lisa is a member of the Reproductive Sciences research group and her recent research examines the biochemistry and genetics of male and female reproductive tissues.

Lisa Marie Thurston graduated with a BSc in Physiology and Zoology from Royal Holloway College, University of London in 1995. Subsequently, she spent 2 years working in the NHS as a surgical perfusionist on the Liver Transplant Team of Kings College Hospital, London.

Pursuing her interest in animal sciences, she continued her studies at the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London and obtained her PhD entitled “An investigation into sources of variation and the genetic basis of boar spermatozoa survival following cryopreservation”, in 2000. During her graduate research, Lisa trained in the industrial laboratories of Sygen International (then PIC) at the University of Cambridge and at Berkeley, University of California, USA, where she analysed genetic variation in boars.

In 2000, Lisa moved to University College, London (Department of Biochemistry) where she investigated the “Association between cortisol metabolism in the human ovary and the clinical outcome of in vitro fertilisation-embryo transfer”. In 2001, she began working at the Royal Veterinary College on the “Hormonal and Cellular Regulation of Glucocorticoid Metabolism in the Bovine Ovary”. In 2003, Lisa accepted a Lectureship at the Royal Veterinary College (Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences).

Lisa’s research group continues to investigate the biochemistry and molecular biology of both spermatozoa and ovarian tissues. She has contributed to scientific publications in reputable journals and was awarded the transatlantic Young Investigator Lecture by the Society for the Study of Reproduction, USA and the Society for Reproduction and Fertility, UK in 2005.

Lisa focused on investigating methods to improve the fertility of spermatozoa following long-term storage at ambient temperatures and following cryopreservation. These investigations have centered on both the identification of a genetic basis for post-thaw sperm survival and the development of supplements for preservation diluents with the view to extend storage times and improve fertilisation rates. This research has lead to the development of 2 international patents.

THURSTON, L. M., ABAYASEKARA, D. R. & MICHAEL, A. E. (2007) 11beta-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase expression and activities in bovine granulosa cells and corpora lutea implicate corticosteroids in bovine ovarian physiology. J Endocrinol 193, 299-310. PubMed ID 17470521

SUNAK, N., GREEN, D. F., ABEYDEERA, L. R., THURSTON, L. M. & MICHAEL, A. E. (2007) Implication of cortisol and 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzymes in the development of porcine (Sus scrofa domestica) ovarian follicles and cysts. Reproduction 133, 1149-1158. PubMed ID 17636169

SHARP, V., THURSTON, L. M., FOWKES, R. C. & MICHAEL, A. E. (2007) 11Beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzymes in the testis and male reproductive tract of the boar (Sus scrofa domestica) indicate local roles for glucocorticoids in male reproductive physiology. Reproduction 134, 473-482. PubMed ID 17709565

HOLT, W. V., MEDRANO, A., THURSTON, L. M. & WATSON, P. F. (2005) The significance of cooling rates and animal variability for boar sperm cryopreservation: insights from the cryomicroscope. Theriogenology 63, 370-382. PubMed ID 15626405

MCMULLEN, S., OSGERBY, J. C., THURSTON, L. M., GADD, T. S., WOOD, P. J., WATHES, D. C. & MICHAEL, A. E. (2004) Alterations in placental 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11 betaHSD) activities and fetal cortisol:cortisone ratios induced by nutritional restriction prior to conception and at defined stages of gestation in ewes. Reproduction 127, 717-725. PubMed ID 15175508

THURSTON, L. M., NORGATE, D. P., JONAS, K. C., GREGORY, L., WOOD, P. J., COOKE, B. A. & MICHAEL, A. E. (2003) Ovarian modulators of type 1 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11betaHSD) activity and intra-follicular cortisol:cortisone ratios correlate with the clinical outcome of IVF. Hum Reprod 18, 1603-1612. PubMed ID 12871869

THURSTON, L. M., JONAS, K. C., ABAYASEKARA, D. R. & MICHAEL, A. E. (2003) Ovarian modulators of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11beta HSD) activity in follicular fluid from bovine and porcine large antral follicles and spontaneous ovarian cysts. Biol Reprod 68, 2157-2163. PubMed ID 12606327

THURSTON, L. M., HOLT, W. V. & WATSON, P. F. (2003) Post-thaw functional status of boar spermatozoa cryopreserved using three controlled rate freezers: a comparison. Theriogenology 60, 101-113. PubMed ID 12620584

THURSTON, L. M., CHIN, E., JONAS, K. C., BUJALSKA, I. J., STEWART, P. M., ABAYASEKARA, D. R. & MICHAEL, A. E. (2003) Expression of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11betaHSD) proteins in luteinizing human granulosa-lutein cells. J Endocrinol 178, 127-135. PubMed ID 12844344

MICHAEL, A. E., THURSTON, L. M. & RAE, M. T. (2003) Glucocorticoid metabolism and reproduction: a tale of two enzymes. Reproduction 126, 425-441. PubMed ID 14525525

THURSTON, L. M., WATSON, P. F. & HOLT, W. V. (2002) Semen cryopreservation: a genetic explanation for species and individual variation? Cryo Letters 23, 255-262. PubMed ID 12391486

THURSTON, L. M., SIGGINS, K., MILEHAM, A. J., WATSON, P. F. & HOLT, W. V. (2002) Identification of amplified restriction fragment length polymorphism markers linked to genes controlling boar sperm viability following cryopreservation. Biol Reprod 66, 545-554. PubMed ID 11870056

THURSTON, L. M., NORGATE, D. P., JONAS, K. C., CHANDRAS, C., KLOOSTERBOER, H. J., COOKE, B. A. & MICHAEL, A. E. (2002) Ovarian modulators of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11betaHSD) activity in follicular fluid from gonadotrophin-stimulated assisted conception cycles. Reproduction 124, 801-812. PubMed ID 12530918

THURSTON, L. M., WATSON, P. F., MILEHAM, A. J. & HOLT, W. V. (2001) Morphologically distinct sperm subpopulations defined by Fourier shape descriptors in fresh ejaculates correlate with variation in boar semen quality following cryopreservation. J Androl 22, 382-394. PubMed ID 11330638

Lisa is currently responsible for teaching reproductive biology on 4 RVC courses; BVetMed (years 2 and 4), BVetMed Graduate entry, BVetMed Gateway Programme and the BSc Vet Sciences degree. In addition, she teaches on the RVC-Kings College BSc reproduction module. Lisa’s teaching is composed of lectures, dissection and histology classes, directed learning and small group tutorials. Furthermore, she is actively involved in the teaching of communication skills to the RVC vets. Lisa is also involved in teaching administration at the RVC.

During the 2008-9 academic year Lisa will be responsible for the organisation of the Comparative Reproduction and Inheritance Module run for the Gateway students. During 2004 and 2005, she held the post of course director for the BVetMed Graduate Year and was responsible for the development of the graduate year from its initial concept, taking on much of the accountability for course content and planning. Lisa has received the Jim Bee Teaching award as an individual in 2004 and 2007, and as part of a group in 2006.

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