Rafiatu Azumah

Rafiatu Azumah

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

School of Biomedicine

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

I am a PhD candidate working on the pathophysiology of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) with focus on the genetic and fetal origins of the syndrome under the supervision of Prof. Raymond Rodgers.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex syndrome which presents endocrine, metabolic and reproductive symptoms, affecting about 10% of women of reproductive age. However, the pathogenesis of PCOS is poorly understood hence diagnosis is usually delayed due to the numerous associated symptoms, and treatment is mainly based on management of presenting symptoms. Moreover, studies involving animals and women with the syndrome as well as their offspring have shown similar patterns that infer the possible fetal origin of PCOS. Thus, children born to women with PCOS have an increased risk of the syndrome compared to those not exposed. Interestingly, candidate genes associated with PCOS have been identified in human and bovine fetal ovaries, further confirming the genetic and fetal origins of the syndrome. Considering the strong similarities between human and bovine ovaries in morphology and physiology, gestational length and relative number of birth outcomes, my project seeks to define the upstream regulators and mechanisms associated with PCOS candidate genes using the bovine fetal ovaries.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex syndrome affecting about 10% of women of reproductive age. 

 ‘Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a frustrating experience for women, often complex for managing clinicians and is a scientific challenge for researchers’ (Teede et al, 2010). The outcomes of genome wide association studies and candidate gene studies towards defining PCOS have, arguably, almost impact on the diagnosis and treatment of the syndrome. This could be attributed mainly to the divergence of PCOS studies, thus these studies have not collectively defined the molecular mechanisms involved in PCOS phenotypes observed.  Currently, attempts to define the genetic and fetal origins have been become the focus of most research in PCOS. Also, the upstream mechanisms involved in expression of PCOS candidate genes have not been analysed in detail.

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