Professor Helen Mason has been carrying out research on the ovary for over 20 years and has developed a special interest in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS is an ovarian condition which causes irregular menstrual cycles and in some patients, infertility. PCOS is also associated with a metabolic defect which includes insulin resistance.
Having completed her PhD on the mechanism of anovulation in PCOS patients Professor Mason’s research interests expanded to cover many aspects of the function of polycystic ovaries and the ovary in general. Professor Mason established a group of scientists with a primary interest in this condition. The group are currently interested in the direct effects of the common treatment metformin on the ovary and on the implications of the high levels of anti-Mullerian hormone. For many years she has been fascinated with understanding how the ovary regulates the release of oocytes such that the pool laid down before birth lasts throughout the reproductive lifespan. The group is now addressing this question in her laboratory.
In addition to this Professor Mason has an interest in the reproductive function of patients with eating disorders and has established an active collaboration with eating disorder psychiatrists and radiologists. Professor Mason has published over 80 papers in the area, contributed to a number of books and has several grant-funded programmes. Shehas been on the editorial board of a number of journals.
Professor Mason also teaches on the subject of reproductive function of patients with eating disorders . She offers a number of programmes to educate students about this condition.
Professor Mason is deputy head of Biomedical Sciences at St George’s, University of London.
She joined St George’s in 1998 as a senior lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She graduated from Aston University in 1983 and worked in the laboratory of Professor Stephen Franks at Birmingham University Medical School and then later at St Mary’s Hospital gaining her PhD in 1995. She remained at Imperial College until 1998.
Professor Helen Mason also holds the following posts:
Scientific advisor to the Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) self-help group Verity
Executive director of PCOS-UK
Fellow of Society of Biology
Member of Androgen Excess and PCOS Society
Consultant for Novo Nordisc
Rice S, Elia A, Jawad Z, Pellatt L, Mason HD. Metformin inhibits follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) action in human granulosa cells: relevance to polycystic ovary syndrome. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism : in press.
Michael AE, Clarke RJ, Collins TD, Gregory L, Glenn C, Wood PJ, Pugh E, Webb RJ, Pellatt L and Mason HD (2013) Ovarian 11β-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase (11βHSD) activity is suppressed in women with anovulatory polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): apparent role for ovarian androgens. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in press.
Pellatt L, Rice S, Mason HD (2011) Phosphorylation and activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) by metformin in the human ovary: unravelling its mechanism of action. Endocrinology 152 (3): 1112-8.
Pasquali R, Stener-Victorin E, Yildiz BO, Duleba AJ, Hoeger K, Mason H, Homburg R, Hickey T, Franks S, Tapanainen JS, Balen A, Abbott DH, Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Legro RS. (2011) PCOS Forum: research in polycystic ovary syndrome today and tomorrow. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 74(4):424-433.
Hatzirodos N, Bayne R, Irving-Rodgers R, Hummitzsch K, Lee S, Bonner W, Gibson MA, Rainey W, Carr B, Mason HD, Anderson R, Rogers R.(2011) Linkage of regulators of TGFbeta activity in the fetal ovary to polycystic ovary syndrome. FASAB Journal. 25, 2256-2265.
Pellatt L, Rice S, DiLaver N, Heshri A, Galea R, Brincat M, Simpson E, Mason HD. (2011) Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) reduces follicle sensitivity to FSH in human granulosa cells. Fertil Steril 96;1246-1251.
Mason HD, Willis DS, Beard RW, Winston RML, Margara R and Franks S (1994) Estradiol production by granulosa cells of normal and polycystic ovaries: relationship to menstrual cycle history and concentrations of gonadotrophins and sex steroids in follicular fluid. J Clin Endo Metab 79: 1355-1360.
Pellatt L, Hanna L, Brincat M, Galea R, Brain H, Whitehead S, Mason HD (2007) Granulosa cell AMH production is increased in PCO. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 92(1):240-245.
Suman Rice: senior lecturer in reproductive physiology - polycystic ovary syndrome, insulin resistance, follicle growth
David Gillott: honorary senior lecturer - ovarian cryopreservation for fertility preservation prior to chemotherapy
Nafi Dilaver: PhD student in ovarian anti-Mullerian hormone
Biomedical Medical Sciences: Dr Tony Michael
Thomas Addison Unit: Dr Gul Bano and Dr Arshia Panhaloo
Gynaecology: Mr Kamal Ojha
Eating disorder psychiatry: Dr Pippa Hugo
Radiology: Dr. Rosemary Allen
University of Adelaide, Professor Raymond Rodgers
Prince Henry's Institute, Melbourne, Professor Evan Simpson
Medical School of Malta: Professor Mark Brincat and Galea
Cancer Research UK Cambridge: Professor John Griffiths
Medical Research Council UK
Professor Mason teaches the following at St George’s:
Life Cycle Module as part of Medicine MBBS (graduate entry) course.
Reproduction 1 as part of the Medicine MBBS course and the Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) course.
Science of Reproduction as part of the third year Intercalated Medicine MBBS and Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) BSc module. Reproduction 2 as part of the Medicine MBBS Transition year.
Also as part of the BSc project, Doctor Mason teaches the student selected component (SSC) transition year. She is an SSC first year supervisor.