Dr Franchesca Houghton is an Associate Professor in Stem Cells and Developmental Biology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton.
She leads a research group with two main foci:
1) Understanding mechanisms which regulate the maintenance and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells.
2) Investigating environmental impacts on the metabolism and development of preimplantation embryos
Dr Houghton is committed to training the next generation of scientists and teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students. She has supervised 12 PhD students through to successful completion and is a Personal Academic Tutor to several medical students.
Dr Houghton conceived, designed and is now the Director of the first MRes programme in the Faculty of Medicine, the MRes in Stem Cells, Development & Regenerative Medicine. She was the Deputy Director of Faculty Postgraduate studies for many years and is currently Doctoral Programme Lead for the School of Human Development and Health.
Potential PhD students, Post-Doctoral Research Fellows or Clinical Scientists are encouraged to contact Dr Houghton to find out more about current research opportunities available in her group.
- Pluripotent stem cells
- Regenerative medicine
- Preimplantation embryo development
Dr Houghton is committed to training the next generation of scientists and teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
She currently holds the following leadership roles in education:
- Doctoral Programme Lead for the School of Human Development and Health
- Director of the MRes in Stem Cells, Development & Regenerative Medicine programme
- Module lead for MEDI6223 Stem Cells, Development & Regenerative Medicine
- Module lead for MEDI6222 Research Project 2
- Deputy module lead for MEDI6225 Research Project 1
- Deputy module lead for MEDI6224 Advanced Scientific Skills
Dr Houghton teaches on the following:
- MEDI6232 Research Skills for Biomedical Science 1 (RSBS1)
- MEDI6223 Stem Cells, Development & Regenerative Medicine
- MEDI6224 Advanced Scientific Skills
- MEDI6222 Research Project 2
- BIOL3043/BIOL6039 Cellular and Molecular Pathology
- Postgraduate student training programme - Lecture on stem cell research
She also supervises the following:
- BMedSc and MMedSc student projects
- MRes student laboratory research projects
External roles and responsibilities
Dr Houghton became fascinated with Developmental Biology during her undergraduate Biomedical Sciences degree. This led her to pursue a DPhil in embryo metabolism at the University of York under the supervision of Prof. Henry Leese. She then took up a Post-Doctoral position with Prof. Gerald Kidder at the University of Western Ontario, Canada where she studied the assembly and role of gap junctions in development. Dr Houghton returned to the University of York for further Post-Doctoral studies before being awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship entitled Nutrition of the mammalian preimplantation embryo which facilitated the establishment of her own research group. In 2006, Dr Houghton was appointed to a lectureship in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton before being promoted to Associate Professor in 2008 and her research expanded into the pluripotent stem cell field. Pluripotent stem cells namely, human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells proliferate by self-renewal and have the potential to differentiate into all cells of the body. As well as studying mechanisms which regulate self-renewal, Dr Houghton’s group is also investigating the regenerative medicine potential of pluripotent stem cells and in particular cartilage tissue generation.