Dr Fiona M. Docherty PhD. MPhil. BSc hon

Dr Fiona M. Docherty

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Postdoctoral Researcher

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

A stem cell biologist by training, Dr Docherty is an expert in the generation of pancreatic beta cells from human pluripotent stem cells, specialising in beta cell maturation and functional characterisation. Fiona joined the Akerman lab in 2021 where she  works on novel transcription factors involved in human beta cell maturation, her work is supported by Diabetes UK and JDRF UK.

Key expertise: hPSC culture and differentiation, beta cell characterisation and functional studies, CRISPR based gene editing


  • 2015 PhD in Stem Cell Biology, Cambridge University
  • 2010 MPhil Research, Cambridge University
  • 2009 BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, University of Edinburgh


Dr Docherty completed her PhD in stem cell biology at the Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine, University of Cambridge. She then undertook postdoctoral positions at University of Aberdeen and Barbara Davis Centre for Diabetes, University of Colorado working on human beta cell differentiation and characterisation. In 2021 Fiona joined the Akerman lab where she has established differentiation of mature beta cells from human pluripotent cells.

Other activities

  • 2023 – 2027: Public Engagement Committee Member, Society for Endocrinology
  • 2022 – present: Mental Health First Aid Champion
  • 2014- 2016: Communications Executive, Society for Endocrinology/ Bioscientific
  • 2013- 2014: Policy Advisor, Her Majesty’s Government, Department for Business Innovation and Skills
  • 2012-2013: Deputy President and Founding Committee Member, Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange (CUSPE)


  1. Docherty, F. M., Riemondy, K. A., Castro-Gutierrez, R., Dwulet, J, M,. Shilleh, A. H., Hansen, M. S., Williams, S. P. M., Armitage, L. H., Santostefano, K. E., Wallet, M. A., Mathews, C. E., Triolo, T. M., Benninger, R. K. P., Russ, H. A. (2021) ENTPD3 Marks Mature Stem Cell–Derived β-Cells Formed by Self-Aggregation In Vitro.Diabetes. 70 (11): 2554–2567
  2. Docherty, F. M. & Sussel. L.Islet Regeneration: Endogenous and Exogenous Approaches.(2021)Int J Mol Sci.  24;22 (7): 3306
  3. Lorberbaum, D. S. Docherty, F. M. & Sussel, L. (2020). Animal models of pancreas development, developmental disorders, and disease. Animal models of human birth defects. Advances in experimental medicine and biology, vol 1236. Springer
  4. Docherty, F. M. & Russ, H. A. (2019) Cell–Cell Interactions Driving Differentiation of Adult Pancreatic Stem Cells, Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences, Elsevier.
  5. ‘Working to reduce the use of animals in scientific research’ (2014) Policy Paper. Home Office, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, and The Department of Health
  6. Docherty, F. M. Brown, S. Vallier, L. HEY2: a novel pluripotency factor in human pluripotent stem cells. (Manuscript in preparation).
  7. Cho, C.H. Hannan, N.R. Docherty, F.M. Docherty, H.M. Joao Lima, M. Trotter, M.W. Docherty, K. Vallier, L. (2012) Inhibition of Activin/nodal signalling is necessary for pancreatic differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells. Diabetologia. 55(12): 3284-95.
  8. Docherty, F. M. (2010) The identification of FGF-dependent phosphorylation events in embryonic stem cells using mass spectrometry. Bioscience Horizons: The International Journal of Student Research 3: 1. 21-28.