Dr Rod Mitchell

Rod Mitchell

WT-logoJob Title:
Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow
Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist

Contact Details:
Tel: 0131 242-6470      Email: rod.mitchell@ed.ac.uk

Research Interest

Development of the immature human testis in relation to disorders of sexual development (DSD) and testicular cancer.

Human fetal testis xenograft

Human fetal testis xenograft

Current Research Projects

  1. The germ stem cell niche in the human fetal testis and the origins of testicular cancer
  2. Fertility preservation in childhood cancer survivors
  3. The effect of exposure to endocrine disruptors on development of the human fetal testis using a xenograft approach

My research focus is on fetal development of the testis and particularly that of germ cells in relation to the origins of testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is thought to result from disrupted development of germ cells during fetal life which results in pre-malignant carcinoma in-situ cells. The precise mechanisms of how this occurs are unknown.

My other area of interest is of fertility preservation in the pre-pubertal testis and this focuses on developing strategies for removing and storing testis tissue from patients prior to potentially sterilizing treatments in order that germ cell development can be achieved using in-vitro or in-vivo techniques. We have recently become the first UK centre to establish a fertility preservation programme to store testicular tissue from young cancer patients prior to their treatment.

Fetal testis development may potentially be disrupted by environmental ‘endocrine disruptors’ and genetic factors and may increase the risk of developing testicular cancer. These factors are being investigated using a variety of animal and human models of testis development.

Understanding the origins of testicular cancer and developing fertility preservation strategies require further understanding of the germ stem cell niche and we hope that by using the models described above that we will learn more about the interactions between germ cells and their surrounding cells during testis development

External Grant Awards

Pre-malignant carcinoma in-situ cells in an adult human testis

Pre-malignant carcinoma in-situ cells
in an adult human testis.

    £2,949,521 – across 7 European Centres (2014-2018)
  2. Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship
    £1,036,886 (2012-2016)
  3. The Academy of Medical Sciences
    £30,000 (2011-2013)
  4. The Society for Endocrinology
    £10,000 (2011-2013)
  5. British Society for Paediatric Endocrinology/Diabetes     £25,000 (2011-2013)


Key Publications






Updated 19 April, 2014