Dr Victoria Cabrera-Sharp B.Sc. (Hons.) Ph.D. PRINCE2

Dr Victoria Cabrera-Sharp

School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Senior Research Facilitator

Contact details

Research & Knowledge Transfer Office (WG38a),
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Victoria is the senior research facilitator for the School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. She is a scientist, tweeter (@DrCabreraSharp), blogger, lover all things equine, cyclist and runner.

Victoria made the move to Birmingham after undertaking two post-docs in reproductive endocrinology; firstly at Imperial College and then at the Royal Veterinary College. She is a qualified project manager (PRINCE2) with experience in grant writing and reviewing, research commercialization, development of courses and funding schemes. Victoria has many years’ experience working with learned societies and undertaking public engagement activities to increase research impact. She is currently striving to build expertise to provide sound guidance in the areas of research impact, the 3Rs and searching for more underutilised/unusual sources of research funding.


The websites linked to above are not hosted by the University of Birmingham and any opinions expressed within them are entirely those of their authors and not the University.


  • PRINCE2 Practitioner
  • Ph.D.
  • B.Sc. (Hons.)


Horsey-mad since she was small, post A-levels, Victoria studied for a National Diploma in Equine Breeding and Stud Management at which point her fascination with reproductive biology began. This opened up doors for Victoria to travel to Australia for 2 years to work with the top thoroughbred breeding establishments. Back in the UK she was accepted into the University of Essex (Writtle College) from where she graduated with an Honours degree in Animal Science in 2003. This set her up for her next challenge; working for the Veterinary Laboratories Agency assisting in development of the disease surveillance centre at the Royal Veterinary College.

Victoria subsequently won a studentship position to undertake a PhD at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London with Dr Fowkes and Dr Michael, characterising the expression and hormonal regulation of the Cortisol (stress hormone) metabolising enzymes (11βHSD) in the male reproductive tract. During this time she was elected as the British Andrology Society’s ‘Young Researchers in Male Fertility’ representative, which gave Victoria her first taste of leadership, mentoring and working towards policy development including the BAS Response to the Human Tissue & Embryos (draft) Bill.

Post- PhD Victoria secured a place in the laboratory of Professor Huhtaniemi at Imperial College London. She developed many specialised lab skills, had a chance to work with Panterhei Biosciences and worked on a variety of reproductive biology projects from models of male infertility, to hormone induced pituitary tumors, to ovarian cancer.

After 4 years, Victoria moved into a 2nd post-doc position in the lab of Dr de Mestre (Royal Veterinary College), where she investigated the process of trophoblast differentiation. Trophoblast cells are specialised chorionic gonadotrophin secreting cells of the placenta, differentiation being the crucial process that these cells must undergo to secrete hormone and support successful placental development. This work has not only great potential therapeutically, through investigation of translational mechanisms but also the model acts as a method of reduction and replacement (3Rs) in terms of animal welfare.

After serving 4 years with the British Andrology Society, Victoria was elected onto the Society for Endocrinology Young Endocrinologist Steering Group and in 2009 subsequently took up position of chair (until 2013). This was an invaluable opportunity, equipping Victoria with skills in networking, leadership, organising conference symposia and social events, designing courses and developing science policy.

In the last year as a post-doc, her thoughts seriously turned to ‘what’s next, how do I climb the next rung of the ladder?’ Victoria built on her facilitation experience and became a qualified PRINCE2 Practitioner (project management), with a view to forging a career in research development. Victoria joined the team at the R&KT office in March 2014.


Hormone dependent-cancers and treatment

This research was conducted whilst Victoria was undertaking her first post-doctoral position in the laboratory of Professor Huhtaniemi at Imperial College London (2007-2011).

The aims were to:

  • Understand how hormone-dependent cancers may be induced, and to design an immunotherapy for the treatment of ovarian granulosa cell tumors. This study was evaluated as a must read (8) by Faculty 1000
  • Unravel the molecular mechanisms whereby ovarian hormones induce pituitary tumors

Regulation of male fertility and models for the development of a male contraception

The earliest part of Victoria’s research career focused mainly on male reproduction, firstly during her post-doctoral studies (1) and then throughout her first post-doctoral position (2).

  1. Stress response and male fertility (PhD thesis, Royal Veterinary College, awarded Jan 2008, supervised by Dr Fowkes and Dr Michael)
  2. To develop new methods of male contraception (Imperial College London, 2007-2011 )

Regulation of early placental development

Between July 2011 and March 2014, Victoria undertook a 2nd post-doctoral position in the laboratory of Dr de Mestre at the Royal Veterinary College in London. She changed fields slightly, working in early placental development, specifically equine binucleate chorionic girdle trophoblast differentiation.

Further details on all the research listed here can be found at http://drcabrerasharp.wordpress.com/research/ 



The websites linked to above are not hosted by the University of Birmingham and any opinions expressed within them are entirely those of their authors and not the University.

Other activities

  • Member – Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA)
  • Member - Society for Reproduction and Fertility
  • Member - Society for Endocrinology
  • Chair of the Society for Endocrinology’s Young Endocrinologist Steering Group (2009-2013).
  • British Andrology Society’s Young Researchers in Male Fertility Representative (2005-2009).
  • Contributor to open source endocrinology knowledge database, ‘You and Your Hormones’


Cabrera-Sharp, V., Mirczuk, S. M., Sherville, E., Michael, A and Fowkes, R. C. (2013) “Regulation of glucocorticoid metabolism in the boar testis and caput epididymidis by the gonadotrophin-cAMP signalling pathway” Cell and Tissue Research. 352(3):751-60. 

Walker, A. P., Fowkes, R. C., Saleh, F., Kim, S-H., Cabrera-Sharp, V., et al. and Bouloux, P-M. G. (2012) “Genetic analysis of NR0B1 in congenital adrenal hypoplasia patients: identification of a rare regulatory variant resulting in congenital adrenal hypoplasia and hypogonadal hypogonadism without testicular carcinoma in situ” Sexual Development, 6(6):284-91.

Krutskikh, A., Poliandri, A., Cabrera-Sharp, V., Dacheux, J. L., Poutanen, M. and Huhtaniemi, I. (2012) “Epididymal protein Rnase10 is required for post-testicular sperm maturation and male fertility”. FASEB J, 26(10): 4198–4209.

Rahman, N. A., Bennink, H. J., Chrusciel, M., Sharp, V., et al. and Huhtaniemi, I. (2012) “A novel treatment strategy for ovarian cancer based on immunization against zona pellucida protein (ZP) 3” FASEB J, 26 (1):324-33

Krutskikh, A., De Gendt, K., Sharp, V., Verhoeven, G., Poutanen, M. and Huhtaniemi I. (2011) “Targeted inactivation of the androgen receptor gene in murine proximal epididymis causes epithelial hypotrophy and obstructive azoospermia” Endocrinology, 152(2):689-96. 4.46 Impact factor.

Ahtiainen, P., Sharp, V., Rulli, S., Rivero-Muller, A., Mamaeva, V., Röyttä, M. and Huhtaniemi I (2010) ”Enhanced LH action in transgenic female mice expressing hCGβ subunit induces pituitary prolactinomas: the role of high progesterone levels” Endocrine Related Cancer, 17 (3) 611-21.

Sharp, V., Thurston, L. M., Fowkes, R. C. and Michael, A. E. (2009) “Expression and activities of 11βHSD enzymes in the testes and reproductive tracts of sexually immature male pigs” Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 115 98-106. 2.66 Impact factor.

Sharp, V., Thurston, L. M., Fowkes, R. C. and Michael, A. E. (2007) “11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11βHSD) enzymes in the testis and male reproductive tract of the boar (Sus scrofa domestica) indicate local roles for glucocorticoids in male reproductive physiology” Reproduction, 134, 473-482.