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Professor Andres Lopez Bernal

Professor Andres Lopez Bernal

Professor Andres Lopez Bernal
L.M.C. (Murcia), D.Phil. (Oxon.), D.M.C., E.O.G.

Emeritus Professor

Area of research

Endocrinology of human parturition. Prevention of preterm labour

Dorothy Hodgkin Building,
Whitson Street, Bristol BS1 3NY
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 34 25341
+44 (0) 117 331 3081


My research concerns the adaptation of the human uterus to pregnancy and the prevention of prematurity. Preterm labour is the major cause of perinatal mortality and neurological disability in the surviving infants, but it is difficult to predict and manage. Current medication for preterm labour is inefficient or has serious maternal or fetal side effects. I have focused on the study of the neurohypophyseal hormone oxytocin and inflammatory lipid mediators including prostaglandins in the control of uterine activity. Moreover, in order to predict preterm labour and identify women at risk, I am studying potential biomarkers among proteins, peptides and other molecules released from the feto-placental unit into the maternal circulation.  We have established novel functional methods in uterine smooth muscle (myometrium) combining contractility measurements with identification of specific phosphorylated residues in key contractile proteins. My research will lead to better understanding of the mechanism of parturition in women, and provide new approaches for pharmacological intervention in preterm labour and better methods for induction and augmentation of labour.

Activities / Findings


Teacher on Modules 01, 02, 03 and 06 of the MSc in Reproduction and Development.

Module Leader for Module 03 of the MSc in Reproduction and Development.


  • human parturition
  • preterm labour
  • uterine function
  • oxytocin receptor
  • myometrial smooth muscle

Processes and functions

  • Endocrinology of pregnancy


My research interests include; molecular aspects of hormone action and signal transduction; the control of uterine contraction/relaxation; prostaglandin and oxytocin receptors; signaling pathways in ovarian cells. Preterm labour is a major cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity. Our failure to deal effectively with this problem is related to the difficulty in anticipating or even diagnosing this condition, however it also stems from our ignorance about the control of uterine contractility. Our studies focus on signal transduction pathways in human myometrium, especially the role of oxytocin and prostaglandin receptors. I am also interested in hormone signaling in ovarian cells The process of follicular maturation in preparation for ovulation is not well understood. However the effect of gonadotrophins in theca and granulosa cells is of paramount importance in this process. FSH and LH/hCG act via G Protein coupled receptors, which stimulate adenylyl cyclase and influence intracellular cyclic AMP levels.

  • hormone action
  • signal transduction
  • uterine contraction
  • ovarian cells
  • perinatal mortality
  • uterine contractility
  • hormone signalling
  • Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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