Dr Fiona Saunders

Dr Fiona Saunders
Dr Fiona Saunders
Dr Fiona Saunders


Research Assistant

Email Address
Office Address
2.26 Institute of Medical Sciences
Foresterhill Campus
Ashgrove Road West
AB25 2ZD

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School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition


I studied Biomedical Sciences, specialising in Pharmacology at the University of Aberdeen. I graduated in 2004 with upper second class honours. My honours project was a literature review assessing the role of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as a potential class of chemopreventative agents for colorectal cancer, supervised by Prof. Heather Wallace. This lead toa PhD studying the role of polyamines in the chemoprevantative actions of NSAIDs in a colorectal cell line models, again supervised by Prof. Heather Wallace, awarded in 2009.

I then move to the Orthopaedic Research group, led by Prof Richard Aspden to work with Dr Jenny Gregory on her MRC New Investigator award investigating bone shape in knee osteoarthritis, first as a Research Assistant and then as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. I also worked as a Technician and Resaerch Manager within the wider Bone & Musculoskeletal group. I then worked with Prof. Richard Aspden, Dr Jenny Gregory and Dr Rebecca Barr as one of two Post-Docs investigating the life course and bone shape in the hip and spine, funded by the MRC in collaboration with the MRC Unit of Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL.

I then moved to laboratory of Dr Fiona Murray within the IMS to study the role of GPR75 in the pancreas funded by the Wellcome Trust ISSF fund for 6 months. I then returned to the Orthopaedic group for 6 months to complete the MRC funded work before returning to Dr Murray's lab to work on GRP75, funded by the Wellcome Trust for 18 months.

I moved back to the Orthopaedic group to take up the position of Post-Doc on a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Grant, led by Prof. Jon Tobias at the University of Bristol to derive bone phenotypes from 100,000 participant's DXA scans using statistical shape modelling (SSM) aquired as part of the UK BioBank. We are currently working on SSM models of the hip and knee with collaboration partners from Bristol and Manchester.

I also provide training and support for the qPCR facility.


  • PhD Medicine & Therapeutics 
    2009 - University of Aberdeen 
  • BSc (hons) Biomedical Sciences (Pharmacology) 
    2004 - University of Aberdeen 

Internal Memberships

IMS Core Facilities - qPCR

Latest Publications

  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry derived knee shape may provide a useful imaging biomarker for predicting total knee replacement: findings from a study of 37,843 people in UK Biobank.

    Beynon, R., Saunders, F., Ebsim, R., Frysz, M., Faber, B., Gregory, J., Lindner, C., Sarmanova, A., Aspden, R. M., Harvey, N. C., Cootes, T., Tobias, J. H.
    Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Open, vol. 6, no. 2, 100468
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Associations between life course longitudinal growth and hip shapes at ages 60 to 64 years: evidence from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development

    Staines, K., Saunders, F., Ireland, A., Aspden, R. M., Gregory, J., Hardy, R., Cooper, R.
    RMD Open, vol. 10, no. 2
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Femoral Neck Width Genetic Risk Score is A Novel Independent Risk Factor for Hip Fractures

    Tobias, J. H., Nethander, M., Faber, B. G., Heppenstall, S. V., Ebsim, R., Cootes, T., Lindner, C., Saunders, F., Gregory, J., Aspden, R. M., Harvey, N. C., Kemp, J. P., Frysz, M., Ohlsson, C.
    Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Hip geometric parameters are associated with radiographic and clinical hip osteoarthritis: findings from a cross-sectional study in UK Biobank

    Heppenstall, S., Ebsim, R., Saunders, F., Lindner, C., Gregory, J., Aspden, R., Harvey, N. C., Cootes, T. F., Tobias, J. H., Frysz, M., Faber, B. G.
    Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, vol. 31, no. 12, pp. 1627-1635
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Comparison between UK Biobank and Shanghai Changfeng suggests distinct hip morphology may contribute to ethnic differences in the prevalence of hip osteoarthritis

    Zheng, J., Frysz, M., Faber, B. G., Lin, H., Ebsim, R., Ge, J., Yong, Y., Saunders, F., Gregory, J., Aspden, R. M., Harvey, N. C., Jiang, B., Cootes, T., Lindner, C., Xin, G., Wang, S., Tobias, J. H.
    Osteoarthritis and Cartilage
    Contributions to Journals: Articles

View My Publications


Research Areas

Biomedical Sciences

Current Research

I am currently a Post-Doc on a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Project led by Prof. Jon Tobias, University of Bristol. Partners in this grant are University of Bristol, University of Manchester, University of Aberdeen, University of Southampton, Cardiff University, University of Oxford and University of Queensland Diamatina Institute.

In this project we are deriving bone phenotypes from DXA scans acquired from 100,000 participants of the UK BioBank. Currently work involves model design, testing and annotation of training images, grading of osteoarthritis features and analysis in the hip and knee. We will also be deriving spine bone shape phenotypes as part of this large-scale project.


2nd Superviser to Ron Coutts, MPhil student (P/T) with Dr Flora Groening

2nd Supervisor to Celia Rodriquez Rodriquez with Prof Val Speirs




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Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals