Professor Roger Sturmey


Professor in Reproductive Medicine

Role at Hull York Medical School
  • Principal Investigator of a research laboratory working to understand metabolic regulation of processes of early development.

Roger was awarded his PhD in 2004 from the University of York (UK), where he investigated the metabolic activity of porcine embryos in vitro with Professor Henry Leese. He then undertook a fresh challenge, studying the origin of DNA damage in oesophageal cancer and its pre-cancerous lesion, Barrett’s Oesophagus, in the lab of Dr Laura Hardie at the University of Leeds (UK). He combined the methods from this period of doctoral training with his prime interest of reproductive physiology to discover links between metabolic activity and DNA damage in the preimplantation embryo, during a second post-doctoral position at the University of York.On the strength of this, he was awarded a Wellcome Trust VIP fellowship, and funding from the Medical Research Council, which lead to his current position.  He joined Hull York Medical School in January 2010 as a Lecturer of Reproductive Medicine and was made Senior Lecturer in July 2014. He was made Chair of the Hull York Medical School Post Graduate Programmes Board and Post Graduate Board of Examiners in Jan 2016.


The lab is interested in how metabolic activity programmes cellular behaviour.

Research in the lab combines the use of model organisms and clinical samples to investigate how metabolic activity affects:

1) fertility

2) long-term metabolic health of offspring

3) platelet function.  

The lab uses a wide variety of techniques to address these questions, including

  • Nanofluorometric assays
  • Nanorespirometry
  • Seahorse bioenergetics
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography
  • Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • qPCR
  • Protein assays
  • Electrophysiology
  • Advanced Imaging techniques
  • Single-cell measurements of DNA damage

Roger delivers a number of lectures in the MBBS Phase 1 Block Hormones and Human Development, as well as lecturing on Tissues from Cells in the first block of the medical degree at Hull York Medical School. He moreover lectures on cell metabolism in the Centre for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research SSIP. Roger also delivers lectures to students at the University of Hull Biological Sciences and Biomedical Sciences courses, within the modules "Biological Basis of Disease" and "Human Physiology and Metabolism B". Prior to this, Roger was Block Lead of the Block Hormones and Human Development, and has also served as the Hull York Medical School Academic Lead for Post Graduate Training.


For an up to date list of publications link to Google Scholar:

Pennok R, Bray E, Pryor P, McKeegan P, Sturmey RG, Genever P.  Human cell dedifferentiation in mesenchymal condensates through controlled autophagy.  Scientific Reports, dos 10.1038/srep13113

Leary C, Leese HJ, Sturmey RG.  2015 Human embryos from overweight and obese women display phenotypic and metabolic abnormalities. Human Reproduction, 30(1):122-32

Forde N, Simintiras CA, Sturmey RG, Mamo S, Kelly AK, Spencer TE, Bazer FW, Lonergan P Amino acids in the uterine luminal fluid reflects temporal changes in transporter expression in the endometrium and conceptus during early pregnancy in cattle PLoS One  2014 Jun 24;9(6):e100010

Brison DR, Sturmey RG, Leese HJ.  Metabolic heterogeneity during perimplantation development: the missing link?  Human Reproduction Update.  In press

Leroy JLMR, Sturmey RG, Van Hoeck V, De Bie J, McKeegan P, Bols PEJ.  Dietary fat supplementation and the consequences for oocyte and embryo quality: hype or significant benefit for dairy cow reproduction? Reproduction in Domestic Animals.  Accepted

Leroy JLMR, Sturmey RG, Van Hoeck V, McKeegan P, Bols PEJ.   The effect of dietary fat on oocyte and embryo viability: a real benefit for cow reproduction?  Animal Reproduction.  Accepted

Guerif F, McKeegan PJ, Leese HJ & Sturmey RG. 2013 A simple approach for consumption and release (CORE) analysis of metabolic activity in single mammalian embryos.  PLoS One. 2013;8(8):e67834. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067834

Smith DG, Sturmey RG.  2013.  Parallels between embryo and cancer cell metabolism. Biochemical Society Transactions, 41(2):664-669

Forsey KE, Ellis PJ, Sargent CA, Sturmey RG, Leese HJ. 2013.  Expression and localization of creatine kinase in the preimplantation embryo.  Molecular Reproduction & Development, 80(3):185-92

Van Hoeck V, Leroy JL, Arias-Alvarez M, Rizos D, Gutierrez-Adan A, Schnorbusch K, Bols P, Leese H, Sturmey RG.  2013.  Oocyte developmental failure in response to elevated non-esterified fatty acid concentrations: mechanistic insights. Reproduction, 145(1):33-44

Huntriss, JD, Hemmings K, Hinkins M, Rutherford A, Sturmey RG, Elder K, Picton H.  2013. Variable Imprinting of the MEST Gene in Human Preimplantation Embryos.  European Journal of Human Genetics, 21(1):40-47

McKeegan PJ, Sturmey RG. 2011.  The role of fatty acids in oocyte and early embryo development.  Reprod Fertil Dev. 2011 24(1):59-67.

Leroy JL, Rizos D, Sturmey RG, Bossaert P, Gutierrez-Adan A, Van Hoeck V, Valckx S, Bols PE.  2011.  Intrafollicular conditions as a major link between maternal metabolism and oocyte quality: a focus on dairy cow fertility.  Reprod Fertil Dev. 2011 24(1):1-12

Van Hoeck V, Sturmey RG, Bermejo-Alvarez P, Rizos D, Gutierrez-Adan A, Leese HJ, Bols PE, Leroy JL.  2011.  Elevated non-esterified fatty acid concentrations during bovine oocyte maturation compromise early embryo physiology.  PLoS One. 6(8):e23183. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

Foster HA, Sturmey RG, Stokes PJ, Leese HJ, Bridger JM, Griffin DK. 2010.  Fluorescence in situ hybridization on early porcine embryos.  Methods Mol Biol. 659:427-36.

Sturmey RG, Bermejo-Alvarez P, Gutierrez-Adan A, Rizos D, Leese HJ & Lonergan P.  2010.  Amino acid metabolism of bovine blastocysts: a biomarker of sex and viability.  Molecular Reproduction and Development 77: 285-96

Sturmey RG, Reis A, Leese HJ, McEvoy TG.  2009.  Role of fatty acids in energy provision during oocyte maturation and early embryo development.  Reproduction in Domestic Animals 44:50-8 

Sturmey RG, Wild CP and Hardie, LJ.  2009.  Removal of red light minimises methylene blue stimulated DNA damage in oesophageal cells; implications for chromoendoscopy.  Mutagenesis 24:253-58

Sturmey RG, Hawkhead JA, Barker EA, Leese HJ.  2009.  DNA damage and metabolic activity in the preimplantation embryo. Hum Reprod. 24(1):81-91.

Leese HJ, Baumann CG, Brison DR, McEvoy TG, Sturmey RG.  2008.  Metabolism of the viable mammalian embryo: quietness revisited. Mol Hum Reprod. 14(12):667-72.

Sturmey RG, Brison DR, Leese HJ.  2008.  Assessing embryo viability by measurement of amino acid turnover.  Reprod Biomed Online. 17(4):486-96.

Leese HJ, Hugentobler SA, Gray SM, Morris DG, Sturmey RG, Whitear SL, Sreenan JM.  2008.  Female reproductive tract fluids: composition, mechanism of formation and potential role in the developmental origins of health and disease.  Reprod Fertil Dev. 20(1):1-8.

Leese HJ, Sturmey RG, Baumann CG, McEvoy TG.  2007.  Embryo viability and metabolism: obeying the quiet rules.  Hum Reprod. 2007 22(12):3047-50.

Sturmey RG, O'Toole PJ, Leese HJ.  2006.  Fluorescence resonance energy transfer analysis of mitochondrial:lipid association in the porcine oocyte. Reproduction. 132(6):829-37.

Humpherson PG, Leese HJ, Sturmey RG.  2005.  Amino acid metabolism of the porcine blastocyst. Theriogenology. 64(8):1852-66.

Sturmey RG, Leese HJ.  2003.  Energy metabolism in pig oocytes and early embryos. Reproduction. 126(2):197- 204.