As Professor of Reproductive Biology with an Honorary Consultant Clinical Scientist post with Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, I lead a team of clinical and research scientists working side by side in a programme of basic, translational and clinical science.
The close integration of clinical and research scientists is a cornerstone of the research programme in my lab. We aim to advance knowledge in the biology of germ cells and early embryos with a view to (i) improving the treatment and understanding of infertility (ii) extending the scope of reproductive technologies to prevent transmission of disease.
The fertilised zygote inherits its nuclear DNA from the male and female gametes – the oocyte and the sperm, which become haploid during a specialised form of cell division known as meiosis. By contrast, mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the oocyte, which contains some hundreds of thousands of copies. Our research encompasses the inheritance of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
Recent Key publications
Herbert M; Toth A, 2017. How Meiosis Creates the Single-Copy Genome. Dev Cell 40(1):3-4
Herbert M; Turnbull D, 2017. Mitochondrial Donation – Clearing the Final Regulatory Hurdle in the United Kingdom. N Engl J Med 376(2):171-173
Hyslop LA; Blakeley P; Craven L; Richardson J; Fogarty NM; Fragouli E; Lamb M; Wamaitha SE; Prathalingam N; Zhang Q; O’Keefe H; Takeda Y; Arizzi L; Alfarawati S; Tuppen HA; Irving L; Kalleas D; Choudhary M; Wells D; Murdoch AP; Turnbull DM; Niakan KK; Herbert M, 2016. Towards clinical application of pronuclear transfer to prevent mitochondrial DNA disease. Nature 534(7607):383-6
Craven L; Herbert M; Murdoch A; Murphy J; Lawford Davies J; Turnbull DM, 2016. Research into Policy: A Brief History of Mitochondrial Donation. Stem Cells 34(2):265-7
Pyle A, Hudson G, Wilson IJ, Coxhead J, Smertenko T, Herbert M, Santibanez-Koref M, Chinnery PF. Extreme-depth re-sequencing finds no evidence of paternal transmission in humans. PLoS Genet.2015;11:e1005040
Herbert M, Turnbull D. Mitochondrial replacement to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial DNA disease. 2015. EMBO Rep. 16(5):539-40
Herbert M, Kalleas D, Cooney D, Lamb M, Lister LM. Meiosis and maternal ageing: Insights from aneuploid oocytes and trisomy births. Cold Spring Harb. Perspect. Biol. 2015;7:a017970
Gorman GS*, Grady JP*, Ng Y, Schaefer AM, McNally RJ, Chinnery PF, Yu Wai Man P, Herbert M, Taylor RW, McFarland RM, Turnbull DM. Mitochondrial Donation: How many women could benefit.N. Engl. J. Med. 2015;372:885-887.
Richardson J, Irving L, Hyslop LA, Choudhary M, Murdoch A, Turnbull DM, Herbert M. Assisted reproductive technologies to prevent transmission of mitochondrial DNA disease. Stem Cells2015;33:639-645.
Greggains GD, Lister LM, Tuppen HA, Zhang Q, Needham LH, Prathalingam N, Hyslop LA, Craven L, Polanski Z, Murdoch AP, Turnbull DM, Herbert M. Therapeutic potential of somatic cell nuclear transfer for degenerative disease caused by mitochondrial DNA mutations. Sci. Report.2014;24:3844.
Full Publication list
2018. Assessing mitochondrial heteroplasmy using next generation sequencing: A note of caution.  Mitochondrion.,
2018. Barriers and facilitators towards fertility preservation care for cancer patients: a meta-synthesis.  Eur J Cancer Care (Engl) 27.,
2017. APC/CCdh1 Enables Removal of Shugoshin-2 from the Arms of Bivalent Chromosomes by Moderating Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Activity.  Curr Biol 27(10):1462-1476.e5,
2017. How Meiosis Creates the Single-Copy Genome.  Dev Cell 40(1):3-4,
2017. Mitochondrial Donation - Clearing the Final Regulatory Hurdle in the United Kingdom.  N Engl J Med 376(2):171-173,
2016. Towards clinical application of pronuclear transfer to prevent mitochondrial DNA disease.  Nature 534(7607):383-6,
2016. Research into Policy: A Brief History of Mitochondrial Donation.  Stem Cells 34(2):265-7,
2015. Meiosis and maternal aging: insights from aneuploid oocytes and trisomy births.  Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 7(4):a017970,
2014. The challenges of mitochondrial replacement.  PLoS Genet 10(4):e1004315,
2012. A novel isolator-based system promotes viability of human embryos during laboratory processing.  PLoS One 7(2):e31010,
2007. Estimating the risks of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): implications for egg donation for research.  Hum Fertil (Camb) 10(3):183-7,
2006. Can 'abnormally' fertilized zygotes give rise to viable embryos?  Hum Fertil (Camb) 9(3):157-69,
2005. Mad2 is required for inhibiting securin and cyclin B degradation following spindle depolymerisation in meiosis I mouse oocytes.  Reproduction 130(6):829-43,
2005. RNA interference in meiosis I human oocytes: towards an understanding of human aneuploidy.  Mol Hum Reprod 11(6):397-404,
2005. Restaging the spindle assembly checkpoint in female mammalian meiosis I.  Cell Cycle 4(5):650-3,
2005. Mad2 prevents aneuploidy and premature proteolysis of cyclin B and securin during meiosis I in mouse oocytes.  Genes Dev 19(2):202-7,
2004. Demographic, medical and treatment characteristics associated with couples' decisions to donate fresh spare embryos for research.  Hum Reprod 19(9):2091-6,
2004. Maintenance of sister chromatid attachment in mouse eggs through maturation-promoting factor activity. Dev Biol 275(1):68-81,
2003. Homologue disjunction in mouse oocytes requires proteolysis of securin and cyclin B1. Nat Cell Biol 5(11):1023-5,
2002. Cytogenetic analysis of human blastocysts. Prenat Diagn 22(12):1143-52,
2002. Time from insemination to first cleavage predicts developmental competence of human preimplantation embryos in vitro. Hum Reprod 17(2):407-12,
2000. Embryonic development in vitro is compromised by the ICSI procedure. Hum Reprod 15(7):1592-6,
1999. Severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome following salvage of empty follicle syndrome. Hum Reprod 14(7):1707-9,
1997. Detection of mosaic and non-mosaic chromosome abnormalities in 6- to 8-day old human blastocysts. Hum Genet 101(1):30-6,
1995. The thiol reagent, thimerosal induces intracellular calcium oscillations in mature human oocytes. Hum Reprod10(8):2183-6,
1995. Mitotic activity during preimplantation development of human embryos. J Reprod Fertil 103(2):209-14,