My research focusses on women's repoductive health disorders including; infertility, endometriosis and endometrial cancer. I aim to understand the fundamental mechanisms that regulate the endometrium, a complex tissue that exhibits active cyclical regeneration, remodelling and inflammation during each menstrual cycle.
My studies have explored the impact of sex steroid hormones on regulation of stromal, epithelial and immune celI populations. Using primary human endometrial cells isolated from tissue biopsies, I discovered that biosynthesis of oestrogens and androgens plays a critical role in the preparation of the endometrium for implantation (Gibson et al 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018). These were the first studies to demonstrate a role for ‘intracrine’ hormonal regulation of this tissue something that had previously been thought unique to malignant endometrium. I complemented and extended these results by showing that oestrogens synthesised by stromal cells could regulate the function of uterine natural killer cells resulting in cross-talk with the vascular system which was a novel mechanistic insight (Gibson et al 2015). Using a mouse model of endometrial repair I made novel insights into dynamic changes in mononuclear phagocyte populations during scar-free healing of this tissue (Gibson senior author 2016).
Academic recognition has included several awards at international conferences including the International Award for best abstract (SSR annual meeting Puerto Rico); best new investigator award (SRI, Montreal); Presidents Presenters Award (SRI/Pfizer, Orlando, USA); Best Early Career Researcher Oral Prize (Pharmacology Futures, Edinburgh, UK), as well as invitations to give oral presentations in Australia (SRF Prize exchange lecture) and the USA (Endometrial Satellite meeting). These studies have contributed to a number of successful applications for research and travel grants.
The impact of my studies has extended beyond academic research and my findings have attracted significant coverage in mainstream media (including articles in The Times, Sun and Daily Mail), commentaries by expert groups (RCOG) and widespread commentary on social media including interest from patient groups and members of the public.