Dr Fiona Cousins is a post-doctoral research scientist within the Endometrial Stem Cells Group, led by Professor Caroline Gargett, at Hudson Institute. Her current research projects are focused on the immunomodulation of the peritoneal environment in women with endometriosis and identifying new targets for endometriosis treatment.

After completing a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Reproductive Biology in 2007 at The University of Edinburgh, Dr Cousins worked for bio-manufacturer Alba Bioscience (Quotient) before pursuing a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University in 2009.

From 2010-2014, Dr Cousins completed her PhD under the supervision of Professors Philippa Saunders and Hilary Critchley at The University of Edinburgh. Her project focused on delineating the mechanisms that contribute to the restoration of endometrial integrity following menstruation. During her PhD, Dr Cousins was also part of a group that developed an animal model for the study of endometriosis, closely mimicking the human disease. Dr Cousins undertook her first post-doctoral position with Professor Saunders from 2014-2015, exploring the inflammatory environment of the endometrium during post-menstrual repair.

In 2015, Dr Cousins was recruited to The Ritchie Centre under the supervision of Professor Caroline Gargett to continue her work on endometrial regeneration and endometriosis. Dr Cousins’ main research interests are in endometrial function and dysfunction and how the latter may contribute to endometrial pathologies including endometriosis, adenomyosis or heavy menstrual bleeding.

Dr Fiona Cousins, Endometriosis RRR broadcastEinstein A Go-Go: An Endometriosis Special Broadcast

As part of Endometriosis Awareness Month, Dr Fiona Cousins joined a panel of experts on the long-running science program Einstein A-Go-Go on RRR radio, to discuss the challenges and successes of endometriosis research as well as the realities of living with this frequently misunderstood condition.
Click here or on the image to access 3RRR audio

Selected publications

  • Cousins FL*, Kirkwood PM*, Saunders PTK, Gibson DA (2016) Evidence for a dynamic role for mononuclear phagocytes in endometrial repair and remodelling. Scientific Reports: 6:36748 doi: 10.1038/srep36748. *Authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Simitsidellis I, Gibson DA, Cousins FL, Esnal-Zufiaurre A, Saunders PT (2016) A role for androgens in epithelial proliferation and formation of glands in the mouse uterus. Endocrinology: 157(5):2116-28.

  • Gibson DA, Simitsidellis I, Cousins FL, Critchley HOD, Saunders PTK (2016) Intracrine androgens enhance decidualization and modulate expression of human endometrial receptivity genes. Scientific Reports: 6:19970.

  • Cousins FL, Murray AA, Scanlon JP, Saunders PTK (2016) Hypoxyprobe reveals dynamic and spatial and temporal change in hypoxia in a mouse model of endometrial breakdown and repair. BMC Research Notes: 9:30.

  • Greaves E, Cousins FL, Murray A, Esnal-Zufiaurre A, Fassbender A, Horne AW, Saunders PTK (2014) A Novel Mouse Model of Endometriosis Mimics Human Phenotype and Reveals Insights into the Inflammatory Contribution of Shed Endometrium. American Journal of Pathology: 184: 1930-1939.

  • Cousins FL, Murray A, Esnal A, Gibson DA, Critchley HOD, Saunders PTK (2014) Evidence from a Mouse Model That Epithelial Cell Migration and Mesenchymal-Epithelial Transition Contribute to Rapid Restoration of Uterine Tissue Integrity During Menstruation. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86378. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086378


  • Bellofiore N, Cousins FL, Temple-Smith P, Dickinson H, Evans J (2018) A missing piece: the spiny mouse and the puzzle of menstruating species.  Journal of Molecular Endocrinology; 61: 25-41. doi: 10.1530/JME-17-0278.

  • Cousins FL, O D, Gargett CE (2018) Endometrial stem/progenitor cells and their role in the pathogenesis of endometriosis. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology; special edition on Endometriosis; 50:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2018.01.011.

  • Gibson DA, Collins F, Esnal Zufiaurre A, Cousins FL, Saunders PTK (2018) The impact of 27-hydroxycholesterol on endometrial cancer proliferation. Endocrine Related Cancer; 25: 381-391. doi: 10.1530/ERC-17-0449.

  • Deane, JA, Ong YR, Cousins FL, Gargett CE (2018) Transplantation of whole bone marrow indicates that bone marrow very small embryonic-like cells do not contribute to endometrial lineages. Stem Cells, DOI:10.1002/stem.2784.

  • Bertoldo MJ, Andraweera PH, Bromfield EG, Cousins FL, Lindsay LA, Paiva P, Regan SL, Rose RD, Akison LK (2018). Recent and Emerging Reproductive Biology Research in Australia and New Zealand: Highlights from the Society of Reproductive Biology Annual Meeting, 2017. Reproduction, Fertility and Developmenthttps://doi.org/10.1071/RD17445

  • Ong YR, Cousins FL, Yang X, Musafi AAA, Breault DT, Gargett CE, Deane JA (2018). Bone Marrow Stem Cells do Not Contribute to Endometrial Cell Lineages in Chimeric Mouse Models. Stem Cells; 36(1):91-102. doi: 10.1002/stem.2706.

  • Deane JA, Cousins FL, Gargett CE (2017) Endometrial organoids: in vitro models for endometrial research and personalised medicine. Biology of Reproduction; 97(6), iox139, https://doi.org/10.1093/biolre/iox139.

  • Cousins FL, Xiao L, Gargett CE (2017) Adult Stem Cells in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Endometriosis. Journal of Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Disorders; 9(4): 223-231.

  • Nguyen HTP, Xiao L, Deane JA, Tan KS, Cousins FL, Masuda H, Sprung CN, A. R, Gargett CE (2017) N-cadherin identifies human endometrial epithelial progenitor cells by in vitro stem cell assays. Human Reproduction: 32 (11):2254-2268. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/dex289