Centre for Biological Sciences

Tom P. Fleming

BSc, PhD

Primary position:
Professor of Developmental Biology
Other positions:
Head of Developmental Biology Group


The University of Southampton
Professor Tom P. Fleming's photo

Career history

1998-present: Professor of Developmental Biology. University of Southampton, UK.
Senior Research Associate. Anatomy Department, University of Cambridge, UK.
Demonstrator. University of Keele, UK.

Academic qualifications

PhD in Cell Biology. University of London, CNAA, South Bank Polytechnic,London, UK.
BSc Zoology. University of Wales, Swansea, Wales.



The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)


Fleming, Tom P., Watkins, Adam J., Sun, Congshan, Velazquez, Miguel A., Smyth, Neil and Eckert, Judith J (2015) Do little embryos make big decisions? How maternal dietary protein restriction can permanently change an embryo. Reproduction Fertility and Development, 27, (4), 684-692. (doi:10.1071/RD14455). (PMID:25730413).
Sun, Congshan, Denisenko, Oleg, Sheth, Bhavwanti, Cox, Andy, Lucas, Emma S, Smyth, Neil R and Fleming, Tom P (2015) Epigenetic regulation of histone modifications and Gata6 gene expression induced by maternal diet in mouse embryoid bodies in a model of developmental programming. BMC Developmental Biology, 15, (1), 1-10. (doi:10.1186/s12861-015-0053-1).
Sun, C., Velazquez, M.A., Marfy-Smith, S., Sheth, B., Cox, A., Johnston, D.A., Smyth, N. and Fleming, T.P. (2014) Mouse early extra-embryonic lineages activate compensatory endocytosis in response to poor maternal nutrition. Development, 141, (5), 1140-1150. (doi:10.1242/dev.103952). (PMID:24504338).
Sellayah, Dyan, Dib, Lea, Anthony, Frederick W., Watkins, Adam J., Fleming, Tom P., Hanson, Mark A. and Cagampang, Felino R. (2014) Effect of maternal protein restriction during pregnancy and postweaning high-fat feeding on diet-induced thermogenesis in adult mouse offspring. European Journal of Nutrition, 1-9. (doi:10.1007/s00394-014-0657-4). (PMID:24481689).
Barker, D.J., Barker, M., Fleming, T. and Lampl, M. (2013) Developmental biology: support mothers to secure future public health. Nature, 504, 209-211. (doi:10.1038/504209a). (PMID:24350368).
Shevchuk, A.I., Novak, P., Velazquez, M.A., Fleming, T.P. and Korchev, Y.E. (2013) Combined ion conductance and fluorescence confocal microscopy for biological cell membrane transport studies. Journal of Optics, 15, (9), 094005. (doi:10.1088/2040-8978/15/9/094005).
Fleming, T.P., Velazquez, M.A., Eckert, J.J., Lucas, E.S. and Watkins, A.J. (2012) Nutrition of females during the peri-conceptional period and effects on foetal programming and health of offspring. [in special issue: Reproductive Health Management of Sheep and Goats] Animal Reproduction Science, 130, (3-4), 193-197. (doi:10.1016/j.anireprosci.2012.01.015). (PMID:22341375).
Kimura, Tomomi E., Merritt, Anita J., Lock, Francesca R., Eckert, Judith J., Fleming, Tom P. and Garrod, David R. (2012) Desmosomal adhesiveness is developmentally regulated in the mouse embryo and modulated during trophectoderm migration. Developmental Biology, 369, (2), 286-297. (doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2012.06.025).
Fleming, Tom P., Lucas, Emma S., Watkins, Adam J. and Eckert, Judith J. (2011) Adaptive responses of the embryo to maternal diet and consequences for post-implantation development. Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 24, (1), 35-44. (doi:10.1071/RD11905). (PMID:22394716).
Lucas, E.S., Watkins, A.J., Cox, A.L., Marfy-Smith, S.J., Smyth, N. and Fleming, T.P. (2011) Tissue-specific selection of reference genes is required for expression studies in the mouse model of maternal protein undernutrition. Theriogenology, 76, (3), 558-569. (doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2011.03.008). (PMID:21550104).
Eckert, Judith J. and Fleming, Tom P. (2011) The effect of nutrition and environment on the preimplantation embryo. The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, 13, (1), 43-48. (doi:10.1576/toag.
Watkins, Adam J., Lucas, Emma S., Wilkins, Adrian, Cagampang, Felino R.A. and Fleming, Tom P. (2011) Maternal periconceptional and gestational low protein diet affects mouse offspring growth, cardiovascular and adipose phenotype at 1 year of age. PLoS ONE, 6, (12), e28745. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028745). (PMID:22194901).
Williams, Charlotte L, Teeling, Jessica L, Perry, V. Hugh and Fleming, Tom P. (2011) Mouse maternal systemic inflammation at the zygote stage causes blunted cytokine responsiveness in lipopolysaccharide-challenged adult offspring. BMC Biology, 9, 49-61. (doi:10.1186/1741-7007-9-49). (PMID:21771319).
Igosheva, Natalia, Abramov, Andrey Y., Poston, Lucilla, Eckert, Judith J., Fleming, Tom P., Duchen, Michael R. and McConnell, Josie (2010) Maternal diet-induced obesity alters mitochondrial activity and redox status in mouse oocytes and zygotes. PloS one, 5, (4), e10074. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010074).
Watkins, Adam J., Lucas, Emma S., Torrens, Christopher, Cleal, Jane K., Green, Lauren, Osmond, Clive, Eckert, Judith J., Gray, William P., Hanson, M.A. and Fleming, Tom P. (2010) Maternal low-protein diet during mouse pre-implantation development induces vascular dysfunction and altered renin-angiotensin-system homeostasis in the offspring. British Journal of Nutrition, 103, (12), 1762-1770. (doi:10.1017/S0007114509993783). (PMID:20128937).
Sellayah, D., Anthony, F.W., Watkins, A.J., Fleming, T.P., Hanson, M.A. and Cagampang, F.R. (2009) A mismatched pre- and post-weaning diet has window of exposure- and sex-specific effects on energy homeostasis; adiposity and cardiovascular function in mice. Proceedings of the Physiological Society, 12, (C10 and PC20)
Lucas, Emma S. and Fleming, Tom P. (2009) Developmental programming and epigenetics: DNA methylation makes its mark. Cell &Tissue Biology Research, 1, (1), 15-23.
Sheth, Bhavwanti, Nowak, Rachael L., Anderson, Rebecca, Kwong, Wing Yee, Papenbrock, Thomas and Fleming, Tom P. (2008) Tight junction protein ZO-2 expression and relative function of ZO-1 and ZO-2 during mouse blastocyst formation. Experimental Cell Research, 314, (18), 3356-68. (doi:10.1016/j.yexcr.2008.08.021).
Sellayah, D., Sek, K., Anthony, F. W., Watkins, A. J., Osmond, C., Fleming, T. P., Hanson, M. A. and Cagampang, F. R. (2008) Appetite regulatory mechanisms and food intake in mice are sensitive to mismatch in diets between pregnancy and postnatal periods. Brain Research, 1237, 146-152. (doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2008.07.126).
Williams, Charlotte L., Watkins, Adam J., Eckert, Judith Joana and Fleming, Tom P. (2008) Maternal immune challenge during early embryo development affects blastocyst cell lineage ration and postnatal phenotype. [in special issue: Meeting Abstracts] Biology of Reproduction, 78, (63. 47)
Watkins, Adam J., Wilkins, Adrian, Cunningham, Colm, Perry, V.Hugh, Seet, Meei J., Osmond, Clive, Eckert, Judith J., Torrens, Christopher, Cagampang, Felino R.A., Cleal, Jane, Gray, William P., Hanson, Mark A. and Fleming, Tom P. (2008) Low protein diet fed exclusively during mouse oocyte maturation leads to behavioural and cardiovascular abnormalities in offspring. Journal of Physiology, 586, (8), 2231-2244. (doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2007.149229).
Watkins, Adam J., Papenbrock, Tom and Fleming, Tom P. (2008) The preimplantation embryo: handle with care. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 26, (2), 175-85. (doi:10.1055/s-2008-1042956).
Eckert, Judith J. and Fleming, Tom P. (2008) Tight junction biogenesis during early development. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, 1778, (3), Spring Issue, 717-728. (doi:10.1016/j.bbamem.2007.09.031). (PMID:18339299).
Watkins, Adam J., Ursell, Elizabeth, Panton, Rose, Papenbrock, Thomas, Hollis, Lisa, Cunningham, Colm, Wilkins, Adrian, Perry, V.Hugh, Sheth, Bhavwanti, Kwong, Wing Yee, Eckert, Judith Joana, Wild, Arthur E., Hanson, Mark A., Osmond, Clive and Fleming, Tom P. (2008) Adaptive responses by mouse early embryos to maternal diet protect fetal growth but predispose to adult onset disease. Biology of Reproduction, 78, (2), 299-306. (doi:10.1095/biolreprod.107.064220). (PMID:17989357).
Fleming, Tom P., Torrens, Christopher, Cleal, Jane, Lauren Green, Lauren Green, Clive Osmond, Clive Osmond, Judith J. Eckert, Judith J. Eckert, Gray, William P., Mark A. Hanson, Mark A. Hanson and Adam J. Watkins, Adam J. Watkins (2008) Maternal protein restriction during mouse preimplanatation development induces vascular dysfunction and altered renin-angiotensin-system homeostasis in the offspring. Biology of Reproduction, 78, (Meeting Abstrac), p.64.
Watkins, A.J., Wilkins, A., Cunningham, C., Papenbrock, T., Warner, C.M., Torrens, C., Hanson, M.A. and Fleming, T.P. (2007) Cardiovascular health is compromised in mouse offspring following environmental or genetic manipulations on the preimplantation embryo. Early Human Development, 83, (Supplement 1), S146-S147. (doi:10.1016/S0378-3782(07)70396-1).
Eckert, Judith J., Houghton, Franchesca D., Hawkhead, Judith A., Balen, Adam H., Leese, Henry J., Picton, Helen M., Cameron, Iain T. and Fleming, Tom P. (2007) Human embryos developing in vitro are susceptible to impaired epithelial junction biogenesis correlating with abnormal metabolic activity. Human reproduction, 22, (8), 2214-24. (doi:10.1093/humrep/dem147).
Watkins, Adam, Torrens, Christopher, Cunningham, Colm, Wilkins, Adrian, Gray, Liam, Perry, Hugh, Hanson, Mark and Fleming, Tom (2007) Maternal low protein diet during oocyte maturation causes increased systolic blood pressure and abnormal behaviour in the mouse [In abstracts special issue]. Biology of Reproduction, 77, p.516.
Watkins, Adam J., Platt, Duncan, Papenbrock, Tom, Wilkins, Adrian, Eckert, Judith J., Kwong, Wing Yee, Osmond, Clive, Hanson, Mark and Fleming, Tom P. (2007) Mouse embryo culture induces changes in postnatal phenotype including raised systolic blood pressure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104, (13), 5449-5454. (doi:10.1073/pnas.0610317104).
Fleming, T.P. (2007) Influence of maternal diet on the developmental potential of the preimplantation embryo. The Journal of Nutrition, 137, 276S-277S.
Kwong, Wing Yee, Miller, Daniel J., Wilkins, Adrian P., Dear, Mark S., Wright, J. Neville, Osmond, Clive, Zhang, Junlong and Fleming, Tom P. (2007) Maternal low protein diet restricted to the preimplantation period induces a gender-specific change on hepatic gene expression in rat fetuses. Molecular Reproduction and Development, 74, (1), 52-60. (doi:10.1002/mrd.20606).
Watkins, A.J., Torrens, C., Wilkins, A., Cunningham, C., Perry, H.V., Gray, L., Hanson, M.A. and Fleming, T.P. (2007) The influence of maternal diet on postnatal growth, development and physiology. Proceedings of Life Sciences
Watkins, Adam, Wilkins, Adrian, Osmond, Clive, Warner, Carol M., Comiskey, Martina, Hanson, Mark and Fleming, Tom P. (2006) The influence of mouse Ped gene expression on postnatal development. Journal of Physiology, 571, (1), 211-220. (doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2005.099192).
Kwong, Wing Yee, Miller, Daniel J, Ursell, Elizabeth, Wild, Arthur E., Wilkins, Adrian P., Osmond, Clive, Anthony, Fred W. and Fleming, Tom P. (2006) Imprinted gene expression in the rat embryo–fetal axis is altered in response to periconceptional maternal low protein diet. Reproduction, 132, (2), 265-277. (doi:10.1530/rep.1.01038).
Eckert, Judith J., McCallum, Amanda, Mears, Andrew, Rumsby, Martin G., Cameron, Iain T. and Fleming, Tom P. (2005) Relative contribution of cell contact pattern, specific PKC isoforms and gap junctional communication in tight junction assembly in the mouse early embryo. Developmental Biology, 288, (1), 234-247. (doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2005.09.037).
Eckert, Judith J., McCallum, Amanda, Mears, Andrew, Rumsby, Martin G., Cameron, Iain T. and Fleming, Tom P. (2004) Specific PKC isoforms regulate blastocoel formation during mouse preimplantation development preimplantation development. Developmental Biology, 274, (2), 384-401. (doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2004.07.027).
Eckert, Judith J., McCallum, Amanda, Mears, Andrew, Rumsby, Martin G., Cameron, Iain T. and Fleming, Tom P. (2004) PKC signalling regulates tight junction membrane assembly in the pre-implantation mouse embryo. Reproduction, 127, (6), 653-667. (doi:10.1530/rep.1.00150).
Fleming, T.P., Wilkins, A., Mears, A., Miller, D.J., Thomas, F., Ghassemifar, M.R., Fesenko, I., Sheth, B., Kwong, W.Y. and Eckert, J.J. (2004) Society for Reproductive Biology Founders' Lecture 2003 - The making of an embryo: short-term goals and long-term implications. Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 16, (3), 325-337. (doi:10.1071/RD03070).
Thomas, F.C., Sheth, B., Eckert, J.J., Bazzoni, G., Dejana, E. and Fleming, T.P. (2004) Contribution of JAM-1 to epithelial differentiation and tight-junction biogenesis in the mouse preimplantation embryo. Journal of Cell Science, 117, (23), 5599-5608. (doi:10.1242/jcs.01424).
Kwong, W.Y., Miller, D.J., Wild, A.E., Osmond, C. and Fleming, T.P. (2003) Effect of maternal low protein diet on imprinted gene expression in the rat preimplantation embryo. Pediatric Research, 53, p.46A.
Lloyd, S., Fleming, T.P. and Collins, J.E. (2003) Expression of Wnt genes during mouse preimplantation development. Gene Expression Patterns, 3, (3), 309-312. (doi:10.1016/S1567-133X(03)00046-2).
Miller, D.J., Eckert, J.J., Lazzari, G., Duranthon-Richoux, V., Sreenan, J., Morris, D., Galli, C., Renard, J.P. and Fleming, T.P. (2003) Tight junction messenger RNA expression levels in bovine embryos are dependent upon the ability to compact and in vitro culture methods. Biology of Reproduction, 68, 1394-1402. (doi:10.1095/biolreprod.102.009951).
Ghassemifar, M. Reza, Eckert, Judith J., Houghton, Franchesca D., Picton, Helen M., Leese, Henry J. and Fleming, Tom P. (2003) Gene expression regulating epithelial intercellular junction biogenesis during human blastocyst development in vitro. Molecular Human Reproduction, 9, (5), 245-252. (doi:10.1093/molehr/gag033).
Benais-Pont, Gaelle, Punn, Anu, Flores-Maldonado, Catalina, Eckert, Judith, Raposo, Graca, Fleming, Tom P., Cereijido, Marcelino, Balda, Maria S. and Matter, Karl (2003) Identification of a tight junction-associated guanine nucleotide exchange factor that activates Rho and regulates paracellular permeability. Journal of Cell Biology, 160, (5), 729-740. (doi:10.1083/jcb.200211047).
Eckert, J.J., Houghton, F.D., Hawkhead, J.A., Leese, H.J., Picton, H., Cameron, I.T. and Fleming, T.P. (2003) Differentiation and metabolic activity are related in cultured human embryos. Pediatric Research, 53, (6), 48A-49A.
Ghassemifar, M. Reza, Sheth, Bhavwanti, Papenbrock, Tom, Leese, Henry J., Houghton, Franchesca D. and Fleming, Tom P. (2002) Occludin TM4(-): an isoform of the tight junction protein present in primates lacking the fourth transmembrane domain. Journal of Cell Science, 115, (15), 3171-3180.
Fleming, T.P., Sheth, B. and Fesenko, I. (2001) Cell adhesion in the preimplantation mammalian embryo and its role in trophectoderm differentiation and blastocyst morphogenesis. Frontiers in Bioscience, 6, D1000-D1007.
Sheth, B., Fontaine, J.J., Ponza, E., McCallum, A., Page, A., Citi, S., Louvard, D., Zahraoui, A. and Fleming, T.P. (2000) Differentiation of the epithelial apical junctional complex during mouse preimplantation development: a role for rab13 in the early maturation of the tight junction. Mechanisms of Development, 97, (1-2), 93-104. (doi:10.1016/S0925-4773(00)00416-0).
Kwong, W.Y., Wild, A.E., Roberts, P., Willis, A.C. and Fleming, T.P. (2000) Maternal undernutrition during the preimplantation period of rat development causes blastocyst abnormalities and programming of postnatal hypertension. Development, 127, (19), 4195-4202.
Fleming, T.P., Papenbrock, T., Fesenko, I., Hausen, P. and Sheth, B. (2000) Assembly of tight junctions during early vertebrate development. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 11, (4), 291-299. (doi:10.1006/scdb.2000.0179).
Fesenko, I., Kurth, T., Sheth, B., Fleming, T.P., Citi, S. and Hausen, P. (2000) Tight junction biogenesis in the early Xenopus embryo. Mechanisms of Development, 96, (1), 51-65. (doi:10.1016/S0925-4773(00)00368-3).
Wallis, S., Lloyd, S., Wise, I., Ireland, G., Fleming, T.P. and Garrod, D. (2000) The alpha isoform of protein kinase C is involved in signaling the response of desmosomes to wounding in cultured epithelial cells. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 11, (3), 1077-1092.
Fleming, T.P., Ghassemifar, M.R. and Sheth, B. (2000) Junctional complexes in the early mammalian embryo. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 18, (2), 185-193. (doi:10.1055/s-2000-12557).
Sheth, B., Fesenko, I., Collins, J.E., Moran, B., Wild, A., Anderson, J.M. and Fleming, T.P. (1997) Tight junction assembly during mouse blastocyst formation is regulated by late expression of ZO-1 a+ isoform. Development, 124, 2027-2037. (PMID:9169849).
Marsden, Mark D., Collins, Jane E., Greenwood, Matthew D., Adams, Michael J., Fleming, Tom P., Magee, Anthony I. and Buxton, Roger S. (1997) Cloning and transcriptional analysis of the promoter of the human type 2 desmocollin gene (DSC2). Gene, 186, (2), 237-247. (doi:10.1016/S0378-1119(96)00715-9). (PMID:9074502).
Dunglison, G.F., Jane, S.D., McCaul, T.F., Chad, J.E., Fleming, T.P. and Kaye, P.L. (1995) Stimulation of endocytosis in mouse blastocysts by insulin - a quantitative morphological analysis. Reproduction, 105, 115-123. (doi:10.1530/jrf.0.1050115). (PMID:7490702).
Collins, J.E., Lorimer, J.E., Garrod, D.R., Pidsley, S.C., Buxton, R.S. and Fleming, T.P. (1995) Regulation of desmocollin transcription in mouse preimplantation embryos. Development, 121, 743-752. (PMID:7536656).
Collins, Jane and Fleming, Tom (1995) Specific mRNA detection in single lineage-marked blastomeres from preimplantation embryos. Trends in Genetics, 11, (1), 5-7. (doi:10.1016/S0168-9525(00)88975-1). (PMID:7900194).
Lorimer, J.E., Hall, L.S., Clarke, J.P., Collins, J.E., Fleming, T.P. and Garrod, D.R. (1994) Cloning, sequence and expression patterns of mouse desmocollin 2 (DSC 2): a cadherin-like adhesion molecule. Molecular Membrane Biology, 11, (4), 229-237. (PMID:7711832).
Fleming, T.P., Javed, Q., Collins, J.E. and Hay, M. (1993) Biogenesis of structural intercellular junctions during cleavage in the mouse embryo. Journal of Cell Science, 17, 119-125. (PMID:8144686).

Book Section

Velazquez, M.A. and Fleming, T.P. (2013) Maternal diet, oocyte nutrition and metabolism and offspring health. In, Oogenesis. New York, US, Springer, 329-351. (doi:10.1007/978-0-85729-826-3).
Velazquez, M.A. and Fleming, T.P. (2013) Transgenerational risks by exposure in utero. In, Trounson, Alan, Gosden, Roger and Eichenlaub-Ritter, Ursula (eds.) Biology and Pathology of the Oocyte. Role in Fertility, Medicine and Nuclear Reprograming. Cambridge, GB, Cambridge University Press, 353-361. (doi:10.1017/CBO9781139135030).
Sheth, Bhavwanti, Eckert, Judith, Thomas, Fay and Fleming, Tom P. (2006) Tight junctions during development. In, Gonzalez-Mariscal, Lorenza (ed.) Tight Junctions. New York, USA, Springer, 164-174. (Science and Business Media). (doi:10.1007/0-387-36673-3_12).

Additional publications

Fleming TP (2006) Periconceptional events and the embryo. In Developmental Origins of Health and Disease – A Biomedical Perspective, eds PD Gluckman and MA Hanson, pp. 51-61, Cambridge Univ Press.

Fleming TP, Eckert JJ, Thomas FC and Sheth B (2005) Morphogenesis of the early mammalian embryo: cell lineage heterogeneity and developmental potential. In Implantation and Early Development, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Hanson M, Gluckman P, Bier D, Challis J, Fleming T, Forrester T, Godfrey K, Nestel P, Yajnik C. (2004). Report on the 2nd World Congress on Fetal Origins of Adult Disease, Brighton , U.K. , June 7-10, 2003 . Pediatr Res. 55: 894-7.

Fleming, T.P. (2002). Cell-Cell Interactions: A Practical Approach (editor). IRL Press at Oxford University Press.

Fleming, T.P., Eckert, J.J., Kwong, W.Y., Thomas, F.C., Miller, D., Fesenko, I., Mears, A. and Sheth, B. (2002). Cell-cell interactions in early mammalian development. In: Cell-cell interactions: a practical approach . T.P. Fleming (editor), pp. 203-228, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Fleming, T.P., Ghassemifar, M.R., Eckert, J., Destouni, A., Thomas, F., Collins, J.E., and Sheth, B. (2001). Cell junctions and cell interactions in animal and human blastocyst development. In: Art and the Human Blastocyst . D.K.Gardner and M.Lane (editors), pp.91-102, Proceedings of Serono Symposium, USA, Springer.

Fleming, T.P., Sheth, B., Thomas, F., Fesenko, I. and Eckert, J. (2001). Developmental assembly of the tight junction. In: Tight Junctions. M. Cereijido and J. Anderson (editors), pp.285-303, CRC Press.

Fleming, T.P., Ghassemifar, M.R. and Sheth, B. (2001). Junctional complexes in the early mammalian embryo. Sem. Reprod. Med. 18 : 185-193.



Research Interests

Embryo environment and developmental potential and health

We are interested in how the environment of the oocyte and preimplantation embryo can influence its development and future long-term potential. We investigate how maternal diet (in vivo), maternal sickness (in vivo) or IVF-related culture conditions (in vitro) can affect blastocyst development including gene expression patterns, cell proliferation and cellular phenotype. We derive embryonic stem cell lines to further characterise environmental effects on developmental potential.

We also examine long-term consequences of rodent preimplantation environment on subsequent fetal growth and gene expression, maternal nutrient provision, postnatal growth, cardiovascular and metabolic physiology, behaviour, immune reactivity.

Our data indicate that programming of postnatal phenotype can derive from early embryonic environment which has important implications for embryo potential and fetal/postnatal health. Our studies comprise a range of molecular, epigenetic, cellular and physiological technologies on extra-embryonic and embryonic cell lineages and postnatal tissues.

Mechanisms of early mammalian development

We are also interested in the basic mechanisms regulating early mammalian development. Following fertilization, the egg undergoes a series of cell divisions to form a blastocyst which implants into the uterus wall. The blastocyst initially contains two types of cells, one an outer epithelium (trophectoderm) which gives rise to most of the placental tissues of the conceptus, the other, (inner cell mass), which gives rise to the entire foetus after implantation. Blastocyst formation is therefore an essential first step in our development. We use the mouse embryo to tackle the fundamental questions: How do different cell types expressing different genes and proteins emerge during development? What role is played by cell-cell interactions in this process? How do cells mature and differentiate into an epithelium, the commonest tissue in our bodies?

We utilize mainly animal models for our research (principally the mouse) but also include human embryos where appropriate and under HFEA license.

We have strong links with the School of Medicine at Southampton, particularly staff within DOHaD (Developmental Origins of Health and Disease) and the early human development and stem cell consortium within the university.

Affiliate research group

Developmental Biology

PhD supervision

Joanne Gould (Co SV, Medicine)
Oliver Hutton (Co SV, Medicine)
Pooja Khurana (Main SV, Marie-Curie ESR, EU)
Yi-Lung Chang (Co SV, Overseas)
Ili Raja Khalif (Main SV, Overseas)
Claire Smith (Main SV, EU)
Anan Aljahdali (Main SV, Overseas)

Completed since 2008:
Rose Panton (MRC, Main supervisor)
Charlotte Williams (BBSRC, Main SV)
Franchesca Lock (Co SV, Medicine)
Sarah Finn (Co SV, Medicine)
Andy Cox (Co SV, BBSRC)
Congshun Sun (Main SV, University + Private)
Ayat Bakheet (Co SV, Overseas)

Primary research group:  Biomedical Sciences

Affiliate research groups:  Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS),

Research projects

Consequences of early embryo environment

Maternal nutrient restriction exclusive to the preimplantation period has a pronounced influence on fetal and postnatal growth and organ development, as well as postnatal physiology.

Maternal mechanisms induced by diet regulating embryo developmental plasticity affecting life-long health

Discovering the maternal mechanisms induced by diet which act through embryo developmental plasticity to alter later health.

Effect of mouse maternal high fat diet during preimplantation and later stages of pregnancy on offspring development and health

An analysis of effects of maternal high fat diet on embryo developmental potential.

Linking perturbed maternal environment during periconceptional development, due to diabetes, obesity or assisted reproductive technologies, and altered health during ageing

Mechanisms by which assisted conception treatments may affect embryo development and health into adulthood.

How do preimplantation embryos sense and respond to maternal nutrition affecting fetal development and adult health

Mechanisms by which maternal diet affects embryo development and health into adulthood.

EpiHealthNet: Environment during periconceptional development, due to diabetes, obesity or assisted reproductive technologies, and altered health during ageing

Effects of assisted conception treatments on embryo development and health into adulthood.

Role of maternal diet on regulation of embryonic neural stem cells

Effect of mouse maternal diet on development and characteristics of neural stem cells.

Teaching Responsibilities

Module Coordinator

BIOL2003 Animal Reproduction and Development
BIOL3001 Current Topics of Cell Biology
BIOL3006 Cellular and genetic aspects of animal development


BIOL1005 Cellular and Genetic Mechanisms
BIOL1006 Cellular and Genetic Mechanisms
BIOL1012 Foundations of Physiology
BIOL1013 Cell Communications-Foundations of Physiology II



Professional Contributions

2014: Treasurer, Society of Reproduction and Fertility
2013: Marshall Medal, Society of Reproduction and Fertility
2013: Honorary Fellow, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology
2008-13: Editor-in-Chief, Reproduction
2013: Nominating Committee Member, Society for Study of Reproduction
2013: Awards Committee Member, Society for Study of Reproduction
2010-13: Member, Research Advisory Committee grant panel, Wellbeing of Women
2011: Internat Advisor: Developmental Origins of Disease, National Institute of Child Health and Development, USA
2000: Editorial Board: Reproduction; Biology of Reproduction (reviews); J DOHaD; Cell Tissue Biol Res
2008: Member of Council: Society of Reproduction and Fertility

University of Southampton

Line Manager to 6 CfBS academic staff




Professor Tom P. Fleming
Professor of Developmental Biology Centre for Biological Sciences University of Southampton Mailpoint 840, Level D Lab & Path Block Southampton General Hospital Tremona Road Southampton, SO16 6YD Tel: +44 (0)2380 794145 Room number: LD62 Email:tpf@soton.ac.uk

Room Number: SGH/62A/