U2B: PCOS beyond the ovary


Metabolic dysfunction in ‘PCOS males’

Dr Kasia Siemienowicz, Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, UK

Presentation learning objectives:

  • First-degree male relatives of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) sufferers can develop metabolic abnormalities evidenced by elevated circulating cholesterol and triglycerides, suggestive of a male PCOS equivalent.
  • Similarly, male sheep overexposed to excess androgens in fetal life develop dyslipidaemia in adolescence.
  • Excess in utero androgen exposure in male fetuses leads to a PCOS-like metabolic phenotype in adulthood, with increased accumulation of hepatic cholesterol and glycogen, together with perturbed glucose and fatty acid metabolism, mitochondrial dysfunction, and signs of early liver fibrosis, with clinical relevance to NAFLD progression.

Dr Kasia Siemienowicz is a Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences in the School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland, UK.

Kasia has a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences from the Edinburgh Napier University and MSc by Research (with Distinction) in Reproductive Sciences from the University of Edinburgh. In 2013 she was awarded an MRC Studentship to study for her PhD in the lab of Prof. Colin Duncan at QMRI Centre for Reproductive Health, the University of Edinburgh. She was awarded her PhD in 2017 with a thesis examining causes and consequences of dysregulation in an ovine model of PCOS. Following on from her PhD she has worked as a Research Fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Mick Rae at Edinburgh Napier University and in the laboratory of Prof. Colin Duncan at the University of Edinburgh. She has recently taken up a lecturing position in the School of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University.

Kasia’s research focuses upon understanding how altered hormonal exposure during fetal life affects development and predisposition to adult disease, to ensure best lifelong health opportunities for our children and providing information regarding possible treatment routes.


The role of the brain in PCOS

Professor Rebecca Campbell, Professor of Physiology, University of Otago, New Zealand

Presentation learning objectives:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is associated with persistently elevated luteinizing hormone secretion and impaired gonadal steroid hormone feedback, implicating a role for the brain in PCOS.
  • Clinical and preclinical evidence suggests that GABAergic signalling is elevated in the PCOS condition.
  • Prenatal androgen exposure drives PCOS features in preclinical models and this is associated with a programmed elevation in GABAergic neurotransmission and innervation to GnRH neurons.
  • Evidence suggests that enhanced GABA innervation and activation of GnRH neurons are both driven and maintained by androgen excess and involve reduced developmental pruning by microglia.

Rebecca Campbell, PhD is a Professor and Principal Investigator in the Centre for Neuroendocrinology (CNE) and Department of Physiology at the University of Otago in New Zealand. She is also serves as the Deputy Head of Department of Physiology and Deputy Director of the CNE. She received her PhD from Oregon Health & Science University in 2002, joined the Centre for Neuroendocrinology as a Postdoctoral Fellow and then established her independent research group in 2009. Her research focuses on defining and understanding the neuronal network regulating gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons, the final output neurons controlling fertility. She is particularly interested in understanding how this neuronal network is involved in the common female infertility disorder, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The majority of her work uses mouse models of PCOS and a wide range of transgenic anatomical and functional neuroscience tools to better understand how androgen excess impacts the female brain. Rebecca is a Board member of the Androgen Excess-PCOS Society, an Editorial Board member for Endocrinology, co-Series Editor for the Master Class in Neuroendocrinology book series and the recently elected Program Organizing Chair for the 2026 International Congress of Neuroendocrinology.


The PCOS phenotype throughout a woman’s life span 

Professor Joop S.E. Laven, Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility (REI) Specialist, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Presentation learning objectives:

  • Learn how PCOS develops during a woman’s lifespan
  • Learn how phenotypical features develop over a woman’s lifespan.
  • Learn some new aspects of reproductive fitness in women with PCOS.
  • Learn about some genetic factors governing these developments.

Professor Joop S.E. Laven is Professor and Head of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility of Erasmus University Medical Center. He was initially trained and board certified in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and in 2000 he became a subspecialist in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

For many years he has a particular interest in the management of polycystic ovary syndrome covering the full spectrum of the syndrome during a woman’s lifespan and it’s on menstrual cycle, fertility, body weight and health. During the last decade the research focussed on long-term health risks as well as the genetic basis of the disease.

Clinical work focuses on women’s health in particular reproductive endocrinology and menopause as well as on infertility treatment and ART and pregnancy outcome in infertile couples especially women with PCOS.

He has published over 350 peer-reviewed papers and several reviews as well as chapters in books, and has delivered over 300 lectures to international scientific audiences. He is a visiting professor at the Universities of Shandong, Shandong, China and the University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia. He is also a member of the international guideline groups for PCOS, POI and unexplained infertility within the Center of Research Excellence (WHIRL) Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.