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Gabriella Kountourides

PhD Candidate in Biological Anthropology, University of Oxford

I am a PhD candidate researching female reproductive health. I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at St John’s College, Oxford where my research is supervised by Dr Alexandra Alvergne, and funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). I am currently investigating whether premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the manifestation of environmentally induced inflammation. The experience of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) varies between individuals and across populations, but the causes of such variation are not fully understood. While PMS has recently been described as an inflammatory disease, there is a dearth of data on why levels of inflammation vary between people. The proposed research will be the first to test the hypothesis that variation in inflammatory markers during the premenstrual experience is partially explained by environmental factors, both internal (infection) and external (social expectation of the premenstrual experience). The research will be done in partnership with departments within the medical sciences division at Oxford, and the digital period tracker app, Clue. The findings will have implications for rethinking the discourse surrounding PMS and pave the way for novel therapeutic perspectives.

Prior to starting my doctorate, I worked as a science educator at the Natural History Museum in London. I was also part of a research team for the BBC and PBS documentary “Neanderthals”. I am listed as a BBC expert woman, where I am called upon to comment on news pieces surrounding evolution and biological sciences.

I hold a MSc in Human Evolution from University College London, where I researched paternity certainty in hunter gatherer populations. My MSc was funded by a full scholarship by University College London, I was put on the Dean’s list for academic excellence and graduated with distinction. I also hold a BSc in Zoology from the University of Leeds, where I researched how male responses to sperm competition affect female life history trade offs in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and graduated with first class honours. Research interests include: sexual selection, sexual health, mate choice, human evolution, evolutionary demography, science communication, women in STEM and primatology. Please feel free to get in touch, by email or through twitter, I am keen to collaborate with those who have similar interests.


  • –present
    PhD Candidate in Biological Anthropology , University of Oxford


  • 2016 
    University College London, MSc Human Evolution
  • 2012 
    University of Leeds, BSc Zoology


  • 2022
    Research square PREPRINT, The polarity and diversity of premenstrual testimonies are influenced by question framing in an online experiment
  • 2022
    Medrxiv PREPRINT, COVID-19 vaccination and menstrual cycle changes: A United Kingdom (UK) retrospective case-control study
  • 2021
    International journal of epidemiology, The COVID-19 pandemic and the menstrual cycle: research gaps and opportunities

Grants and Contracts

  • 2004
    Grand Union Scholarship
    Funding Source:
    Economic and Social Research Council