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Professor John Aplin (MA, PhD) - personal details

Contact details

Professor John Aplin

Role: Professor of Reproductive Biomedicine

Tel: +44 (0)161 276 6487


Maternal and Fetal Health Research Group
The University of Manchester
5th Floor Research
St Mary's Hospital
M13 9WL

Fax: 0161 701 6971




As a Part II Chemistry undergraduate in Oxford, I became interested in biological chemistry. I moved to Vancouver and as a PhD student with Laurie Hall, developed biophysical approaches to investigating surface topography. Realising that surface glycoconjugates were important in cell-cell communication, I moved to MRC's laboratories at Mill Hill in London to work with Colin Hughes and learn about the biology of cell adhesion. Inspired by the possibility of applying new cell biological concepts to human pathophysiology, I moved to Manchester to a joint appointment between Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Biological Sciences. Most of my reproductive biology is self-taught, though Harold Fox's course on gynaecological pathology was a formative experience; Carolyn Jones, his former student, has been a staunch and resourceful colleague.  Stanley Glasser at Baylor, in whose lab I spent a sabbatical period, was a kind and persuasive mentor.  I acted as senior editor for the monograph The Endometrium (2008), a project first inspired by Stan:




My research group investigates fundamental problems in embryo implantation and placental development.  Maternal preparation for pregnancy and the role of the maternal environment as pregnancy begins are important, as are factors in both the embryo and the mother that predispose to failed implantation, miscarriage, preeclampsia, growth restriction and abruption.  Trophoblast cell biology is central in our research. We are also interested in vascularisation of the placenta and the role of stem cells in this process.

 I am Programme CoDirector for the Master of Research in Reproduction and Pregnancy. 

I teach reproductive biology and physiology at undergraduate level both in Life Sciences and Medicine. 

I have a longstanding interest in yoga and teach classes both outside and within the university.

Social Responsibility

I teach yoga to staff and stufents at the university's WellBeing Centre and in the community, including classes for students with exam stress, back pain and other problems.   See: and

I am a keen cyclist, user of public transport, recycler and composter.  


I currently cosupervise 8 PhD students.  Two esteemed senior colleagues have recently been awarded advanced research degrees under my supervision.  I welcome enquiries from students wishing to study for a higher research degree in the general areas of pregnancy or infertility.

I codirect the masters programmes in Reproduction and Pregnancy (MRes MFH and MMed Sci (MFH)), and supervise projects for the students:

Undergraduate teaching includes a long tenure as Unit Coordinator for the popular final year Life Sciences course Human Reproductive Biology.    I teach glycobiology to final year life sciences students and reproductive physiology to first year MBChB students.   The laboratory hosts undergraduate students from FLS and FMHS for special study modules, dissertations and/or project placements.

From 2013 I have been on the teaching faculty of the annual placenta postgraduate workshop in Kingston, Ontario: