Telephone: 0131 242 6441
Research Aims & Outputs
My research focuses on the molecular and cellular signalling pathways that control ovarian function. It impacts fertility regulation and major disease processes, including ovarian cancer. I have helped explain why women normally ovulate only one egg in each menstrual cycle, leading to the design of safer and more effective methods for treating infertility.
Presently, we study the pro- and anti-inflammatory processes involved in ovulation and possibly the development of ovarian cancer. Most recently, we established that ovulation is a serial injury-repair process in which locally produced glucocorticoids act as natural anti-inflammatory agents. We hypothesise that this process may be deficient or defective in ovarian cancer.
I have enjoyed over 20 years uninterrupted Research Grant support from the Medical Research Council, totalling approx. £4m. Additional grant support over the same period from Research Councils, charitable trusts and European Commission, totalling approx. £1.5m.
As Vice Principal International, I lead the University of Edinburgh Internationalisation Strategy EDINBURGH GLOBAL
MRC Project Grant (G0900550)
Title: Postovulatory ovarian repair: a role for LOX in scar-free adult healing.
Investigators: SG Hillier, HOD Critchley, JI Mason, JP Iredale, S Brown, CR Harlow
MRC Developmental Clinical Studies
Title: Reversing endometrial glucocorticoid deficiency in heavy menstrual bleeding.
Investigators: Prof HOD Critchley, Prof BR Walker, Dr P Warner, Dr C Weir, Prof JP Iredale,
Prof PTK Saunders, Dr S Semple, Prof SG Hillier
Johnson N, Walker K, Gibson LJ, Orr N, Folkerd E, Haynes B, Palles C, CouplandB, Schoemaker M, Jones M, Broderick P, Sawyer E, Kerin M, Tomlinson IP, Zvelebil M, Chilcott-Burns S, Tomczyk K, Simpson G, Williamson J, Hillier SG, Ross G,Houlston RS, Swerdlow A, Ashworth A, Dowsett M, Peto J, Dos Santos Silva I, Fletcher O. CYP3A variation, premenopausal estrone levels, and breast cancerrisk. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2012 May 2;104(9):657-69. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djs156. Epub 2012 Apr 3. PubMed PMID: 22472546.
Hillier SG. Nonovarian origins of ovarian cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Mar 6;109(10):3608-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201029109. Epub 2012 Feb 22. PubMed PMID: 22357760; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3309793.
Hillier SG. Modern methods of fertility preservation: a tribute to Roger Gosden. Mol Hum Reprod. 2012 Feb;18(2):57-8. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gas003. PubMedPMID: 22287563.
Dickinson RE, Fegan KS, Ren X, Hillier SG, Duncan WC. Glucocorticoid regulation of SLIT/ROBO tumour suppressor genes in the ovarian surface epithelium and ovarian cancer cells. PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27792. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027792. Epub 2011 Nov 23. PubMed PMID: 22132142; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3223191.
Papacleovoulou G, Critchley HO, Hillier SG, Mason JI. IL1α and IL4 signalling in human ovarian surface epithelial cells. J Endocrinol. 2011 Dec;211(3):273-83. doi: 10.1530/JOE-11-0081. Epub 2011 Sep 8. PubMed PMID: 21903865.
Wells D, Hillier SG. Polar bodies: their biological mystery and clinical meaning. Mol Hum Reprod. 2011 May;17(5):273-4. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gar028. PubMedPMID: 23443970.
Betts DH, Kalionis B, Hillier SG. Stem cell roles in reproduction: what is the basic science? Mol Hum Reprod. 2010 Nov;16(11):791-2. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gaq078. Epub 2010 Sep 12. PubMed PMID: 20837505.
Hillier SG, Smitz J, Eichenlaub-Ritter U. Folliculogenesis and oogenesis: from basic science to the clinic. Mol Hum Reprod. 2010 Sep;16(9):617-20. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gaq068. Epub 2010 Aug 6. PubMed PMID: 20693269.
Hillier SG. Molecular diagnosis in the ART laboratory: making it matter. Mol Hum Reprod. 2010 Aug;16(8):511-2. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gaq050. Epub 2010 Jul 7.PubMed PMID: 20610615.
- Member, Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) (1990-6)
- Chairman, Society for Endocrinology (1996-2000)
- Editor-in-Chief, JOURNAL OF ENDOCRINOLOGY (2000-4)
- Editor-in-Chief, MOLECULAR HUMAN REPRODUCTION (2007-12)
- Member, UK Council of Graduate Education Executive Committee (2000-6)
- Member, Overseas Research Scholarships Committee (Universities UK) (2002-5)
- Member, Wellcome Trust Physiological Sciences Committee (2005-7, 2011)
- Co-ordinator, NETWORK OF EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES IN THE LIFE SCIENCES (EUROLIFE) (1997-2004)
- Member, MRC Training and Career Development Board (2007-2009)
- Member, MRC Training and Career Group (2009-12)