Dr Mark Fenwick, BSc (Hons), PhD, PGCertHE, SFHEA

Mark Fenwick


Academic Unit of Reproductive & Developmental Medicine

Level 4, Jessop Wing
Sheffield S10 2SF
United Kingdom

Office: JW4 57

Telephone: +44 114 215 9664
Email: m.a.fenwick@sheffield.ac.uk


I obtained my BSc (Hons) and PhD (2004) from the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. After that I came to the UK, where I undertook two Postdoctoral positions in London - firstly at the Royal Veterinary College looking at the effect of negative energy balance on reproduction in dairy cows (2005-2007), and then Imperial College London working on projects relating to early follicle development in the ovary (2007-2012). I joined the University of Sheffield in December 2012 as a lecturer in the Academic Unit of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine.

Research interests


The ovary is an incredibly dynamic organ that is constantly producing and responding to internal molecular ‘cues’. Both environmental and genetic factors can exert influences on these internal signals, leading to dysregulation or failure of oocytes to develop. We are interested in understanding how these cues (i) coordinate the development of oocytes for ovulation and (ii) produce steroid hormones for other reproductive processes. For this, we use molecular tools and microscopic imaging to investigate these details in ovarian cells and tissue cultures (see link on right). Our research is motivated by its translational potential within the clinical context of infertility and disorders that affect follicle development such as endometriosis, premature ovarian failure and polycystic ovary syndrome. 

Teaching interests

I am the Course Leader for the MSc in Reproductive and Developmental Medicine since its inception in 2013 (see link). Within this course I lead and provide teaching on the Gonads to gametes: fundamentals of reproduction module. I also co-lead the Research project module on this course and provide ongoing training to BSc, MBChB, MSc and PhD research students. I am also the co-PGR lead for the Department of Oncology & Metabolism.

Professional activities

I regularly review papers for international journals in reproductive biology, am a member of the Society for Reproduction and Fertility, and have external roles as an examiner on undergraduate courses in other universities in the UK.

Current projects

  • Molecular mechanisms regulating TGFβ signalling during early follicle development
  • Modelling spatial relationships in the ovary to elucidate mechanisms of early follicle growth
  • Regulation of AMH expression and role of AMH during early development
  • Effect of endometriosis on ovarian function and fertility
  • Effects of nicotine and derivatives from e-cigarettes on the ovarian reserve

Key publications

Laird, M., Thomson, K., Fenwick, M., Mora, J., Franks, S., & Hardy, K. (2017) Androgen stimulates growth of mouse preantral follicles in vitro: interaction with follicle stimulating hormone and with growth factors of the TGFβ superfamily. Endocrinology 158(4): 920-935

Sharum, I. B., Granados-Aparici, S., Warrander, F. C., Tournant, F. P., & Fenwick, M. A. (2017) Serine threonine kinase receptor associated protein regulates early follicle development in the mouse ovary. Reproduction 153(2): 221-231

Hardy, K., Fenwick, M., Mora, J., Laird, M., Thomson, K., & Franks, S. (2017) Onset and heterogeneity of responsiveness to FSH in mouse preantral follicles in culture. Endocrinology 158(1): 134-147

Fenwick, M. A., Mora, J. M., Mansour, Y. T., Baithun, C., Franks, S., & Hardy, K. (2013) Investigations of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) signalling in preantral follicles of female mice reveal differential roles for bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15). Endocrinology 154(9): 3423-3436

Lavial, F., Bessonnard, S., Ohnishi, Y., Tsumura, A., Chandrashekran, A., Fenwick, M. A., Tomaz, R. A., Hosokawa, H., Nakayama, T., Chambers, I., Hiiragi, T., Chazaud, C., & Azuara, V. (2012) Bmi1 facilitates primitive endoderm formation by stabilizing Gata6 during early mouse development. Genes and Development 26(13): 1445-1458

Mora, J. M., Fenwick, M. A., Castle, L., Baithun, M., Ryder, T. A., Mobberley, M., Carzaniga, R., Franks, S., & Hardy, K. (2012) Characterization and significance of adhesion and junction-related proteins in mouse ovarian follicles. Biology of Reproduction 86(5), 153-14

Fenwick, M. A., Mansour, Y. T., Franks, S., & Hardy, K. (2011) Identification and regulation of bone morphogenetic protein antagonists associated with preantral follicle development in the ovary. Endocrinology 152(9): 3515-3526

Mani, A. M., Fenwick, M. A., Cheng, Z., Sharma, M. K., Singh, D., & Wathes, D. C. (2010) IGF1 induces up-regulation of steroidogenic and apoptotic regulatory genes via activation of phosphatidylinositol-dependent kinase/AKT in bovine granulosa cells. Reproduction 139(1): 139-151

For a full list of publications please visit myPublications