Dr Joanne Murray

I am a reproductive biologist with a particular interest in the impact that specific nutrients have on the growth and development of the ovarian follicle.

Dr Joanne Murray

Senior Lecturer (Zhejiang) 

Hugh Robson Building

15 George Square

Edinburgh EH8 9XD

Contact details

 Work: + 44 (0) 131 651 1711

 Email: jmurra19@exseed.ed.ac.uk


Personal profile


  • 1991: PhD, University of Sydney
  • 1986: BSc(Agric) (Hons II:I), University of Sydney

Posts held

  • 2018 - present Senior Lecturer (Zhejiang) , University of Edinburgh
  • 2015 - 2018 Senior Lecturer (Zhejiang) Academic Tenure Track, University of Edinburgh
  • 2013 - 2015: Senior Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster
  • 2010 - 2013: Director of Learning, Teaching & Quality, Principal Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster
  • 2005 - 2010: Senior Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster
  • 2001 - 2004: Lecturer, St. George’s Hospital Medical School
  • 1997 - 2000: Postdoctoral research scientist, Royal Veterinary College and St. George’s Hospital Medical School
  • 1997: Postdoctoral research scientist, St. George’s Hospital Medical School
  • 1995 - 1997: Lecturer, Royal Veterinary College
  • 1994 - 1995: Postdoctoral research assistant, Royal Veterinary College
  • 1992 - 1993: Hospital scientist > Human Reproduction Unit, Royal North Shore Hospital, Australia
  • 1991: Postdoctoral research scientist > Institut National de la Recherché Agronomique, Station de Physiologie de la Reproduction, Nouzilly, France
  • 1987 - 1990: Postgraduate research student > Department of Animal Science, The University of Sydney and CSIRO, Division of Animal Production, Australia

Research Theme


I am a reproductive biologist with a particular interest in the impact that specific nutrients have on the growth and development of the ovarian follicle.  It could be hypothesized that the centre of a large preovulatory follicle, where the oocyte resides, may be relatively hypoxic because the oocyte and the several layers of surrounding granulosa cells are avascular.

To investigate oxygen concentration in individual ovarian follicles in vivo we have innovated and adapted tools first designed for research in oncology.   Surprisingly we found that the follicles fell into one of three groups with respect to how much oxygen was measured at their centre: about 50 % were anoxic (that is, almost no oxygen was detected), 25 % had concentrations of oxygen predicted to be normal of most tissues in the body and the remainder had oxygen concentrations significantly higher than normal.  Our next task is to determine which of these three groups of follicles gives rise to the oocytes with the best developmental competency.  The outcome of this research could be used to inform and improve current IVF practices.

In investigating how nutrition can interact with the reproductive axis I became interested in the hypothalamic role of the neuropeptide, MCH, and this in turn has led to work investigating the roles of the melanocortins on reproductive function.  We are currently characterizing the expression and distribution of each of the members of the melanocortin system in reproductive tissues at different ages and in different physiological states before commencing studies to determine their roles in modulating reproductive function.


Selected publications

Naufahu, J., Alzaid, F., Fiuza Brito, M., Doslikova, B., Valencia, T., Cunliffe, A., Murray, J.F. (2017) Melanin-concentrating hormone in peripheral circulation in the human.  Journal of Endocrinology, 232, 513-523.

Naufahu, J., Cunliffe, A.D., Murray, J.F.  (2013)  The roles of melanin-concentrating hormone in energy balance and reproductive function: Are they connected?  Reproduction, 146, R141-150.

Schaeffer, M., Hodson, D.J., Meunier, A-C., Lafont, C., Birkenstock, J., Carmignac, D., Murray, J.F., Gavois, E., Robinson, I.C., Le Tissier, P., Mollard, P. (2011) Influence of estrogens on GH-cell network dynamics in females: a live in situ imaging approach. Endocrinology, 152, 4789-4799.

Gillies, R.M., Robinson, S.P., McPhail, L.D., Carter, N.D., Murray, J.F. (2011) Immunohistochemical assessment of intrinsic and extrinsic markers of hypoxia in reproductive tissue: differential expression of HIF1alpha and HIF2alpha in rat oviduct and endometrium. Journal of Molecular Histology, 42, 341-354.

Leoni, G., Patel, H.B., Sampaio, A.L.F., Gavins, F.N.E., Murray, J.F., Grieco, P., Getting, S.J., Perretti, M. (2008) Inflamed phenotype of the mesenteric microcirculation of melanocortin type 3 receptor null mice after ischaemia-reperfusion. FASEB J, 22, 4228-4238.

Murray, J.F., Hahn, J.D., Kennedy, A., Small, C., Bloom, S.R., Haskell-Luevano, C., Coen, C.W., Wilson, C.A. (2006) Evidence for a stimulatory action of melanin concentrating hormone (MCH) on luteinising hormone release involving MCH1 and melanocortin-5 (MC-5) receptors. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 18, 157-167.

Lea, R.G., Andrade, L.P., Rae, M.T., Hannah, L.T., Kyle, C.E., Murray, J.F., Rhind, S.M., Miller, D.W. (2006) Effects of maternal undernutrition during early pregnancy on apoptosis regulators in the ovine fetal ovary. Reproduction, 131, 113-124..

Malik, N., Carter, N.D., Wilson, C.A., Scaramuzzi, R.J., Stock, M.J., Murray, J.F. (2005) Leptin expression in the fetus and placenta during mouse pregnancy. Placenta, 26, 47-52.

Murray, J.F., Dakin, C.L., Siddiqui, A., Pellatt, L.J., Ahmed, S., Omerod, L.J.A., Swan, A.V., Davies, D.C., Wilson, C.A. (2004) Neonatal 5HT activity antagonises the masculinising effect of testosterone on the luteinising hormone release response to gonadal steroids and on brain structures in rats. European Journal of Neuroscience, 19, 387 - 395.

Small, C.J., Goubillon, M-L., Murray, J.F., Siddiqui, A., Grimshaw, S.E., Young, H., Sivanesan, V., Kalamatianos, T., Kennedy, A.R., Coen, C.W., Bloom, S.R., Wilson, C.A. (2003) Central orexin A has site-specific effects on luteinizing hormone release in female rats. Endocrinology, 144, 3225-3236.

Information for students:

Willingness to discuss research projects with undergraduate and postgraduate students: YES - please click here