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Dr Vicky Taylor

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer in Biology
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Life, Health & Chemical Sciences
  • vicky.taylor

Professional biography

I joined the OU in late 2006 from the Department of Metabolic Medicine, Imperial College London. Prior to that I have held positions at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) field station and the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW).

I served on the SRF (Society for Reproduction & Fertility) Council of Management 2013-6.


My research interests are very broadly in the areas of:

  • Endocrinology of pregnancy and lactation and the regulation of appetite
  • Metabolic adjustments to the increased appetite of pregnancy and lactation
My current research concerns hormonal changes and interactions during mammalian pregnancy and lactation, focusing on appetite regulation by gastrointestinal hormones such as peptide YY and ghrelin. Pregnancy and lactation are physiological states characterised by metabolic changes associated with increased appetite and feeding behaviour. These occur due to changes in the setpoints of a number of orexigenic (appetite-stimulating) and anorexigenic (appetite-suppressing) signals as well as increased body weight, partly due to the promotion of adipose tissue accretion in early gestation to meet increased metabolic demands. Understanding the mechanisms behind these physiological shifts and the influence of maternal energy status on developing offspring may provide important insights for human health management.
Research areas cover: hormone interactions during different metabolic states, focusing on appetite regulation by gut-brain hormones, especially during development, pregnancy and lactation. Subject specialities include: reproductive physiology; endocrinology; nutrition; metabolism; obesity.

Research interests

Gut-brain peptides in relation to appetite & reproductive physiology in females

My current research efforts are revealing the roles of the appetite hormones (ghrelin, peptide-YY: PYY, glucagon-like hormone-1: GLP-1) produced by the gastrointestinal tract in feeding and structural changes that occur during the reproductive cycle, pregnancy and lactation.

My recent PhD student (Dr Michelle Johnson, now awarded) gave the prize-winning talk about this work at the the annual SRF conference 2015 (St Catherine’s College, Oxford) during the Post Doctoral Scientist Prize session.

Previous research interests have included:
  • the endocrinology, metabolism and reproductive health of high yielding dairy cows and interactions between their nutritional status and ovarian function;
  • reproductive health in captive Asian elephants
  • immune responses in common and grey seals

Teaching interests

  • Associate Programme Director (APD)/Qualification Lead (QL) for Biology pathway (Q64)
  • Presentation Module Team Chair and Award Board Chair: S295 The Biology of Survival
  • Production Module Team Chair and author: S295 The Biology of Survival
  • Production team member and critical reader S317 Biological Science: from genes to species
  • Topic leader, author and Topic Specialist: SXL288/SXHL288 Practical Science: Animal Physiology - Cold Adaptation, a virtual practical based on real experiments
  • Author on Long term health conditions courses: SK121 Understanding Cardiovascular Diseases and SDK122 Challenging Obesity.
  • S210/211/212 Health Sciences iCMA assessment
  • Courses during presentation: S104 Exploring Science; SDK122 Challenging Obesity; SK277/SK(YN)277 Human Biology; SXL390 Project course
  • Study adviser S829 Medical Physics (2010-12) 
  • Tutor on SXR374 Residential school, Fat - the physiology of adipose tissue (2007)
Other OU responsibilities include being a(n):
  • [Life, Health & Chemical Sciences Postgraduate Student Third Party Monitor];
  • Curriculum Innovation & eLearning Innovation Fellow;
  • Invited member of the Science Faculty Assessment Group and representative on the eAssessment Faculty Liaison Group;
  • Science Faculty representative on the Open Research Online (ORO) Users Group.


Impact and engagement

I have recently been an Academic consultant on the BBC/OU The Hunt and Life Story series.

Miranda Dyson and Vicky Taylor (2015) The Conversation invited article: The Hunt: a natural history series that challenges us to side with the predators.

Life Story (BBC/OU broadcast series) nominated for Royal Television Society Awards 2014 in the Best Science and Natural History category and Jackson Hole Film Festival winners (best Animal Behavior, best Limited series long form and Cinematography) .

Vicky Taylor and David Robinson (2014) The Conversation invited article: New BBC series reveals more about the wise old elephant, but many mysteries remain.

My OpenLearn profile is here

I also work on multiple teaching assets within The OpenScience Laboratory

OpenScience Laboratory THE Awards Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year Project Leader and Academic Investigator (Dept of Life, Health & Chemical Sciences)

External collaborations

Woburn Safari Park

BBC Natural History Unit

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Biomedical Research Network (BRN)NetworkFaculty of Science


Gastrointestinal capacity, gut hormones and appetite change during rat pregnancy and lactation (2019-05-31)
Johnson, Michelle L.; Saffrey, M. Jill and Taylor, Victoria Jane
Reproduction, 157(5) (pp. 431-443)
Improved timed-mating, non-invasive method using fewer unproven female rats with pregnancy validation via early body mass increases (2019-04-01)
Stramek, Agata K.; Johnson, Michelle L. and Taylor, Victoria J.
Laboratory Animals, 53(2) (pp. 148-159)
Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) increases in plasma and colon tissue prior to estrus and circulating levels change with increasing age in reproductively competent Wistar rats (2017-04-30)
Johnson, Michelle L.; Saffrey, M. Jill and Taylor, Victoria J.
Peptides ((Early Access))
Plasma Ghrelin Concentrations Were Altered with Oestrous Cycle Stage and Increasing Age in Reproductively Competent Wistar Females (2016-11-09)
Johnson, Michelle L.; Saffrey, M. Jill and Taylor, Victoria J.
PLoS ONE, 11, Article e0166229(11)
Ghrelin and peptide YY (PYY) profiles in gastrointestinal tissues and the circulation of the rat during pregnancy and lactation (2009-12)
Taylor, Victoria J.; Patterson, Michael; Ghatei, Mohammed A.; Bloom, Stephen R. and Wilson, Catherine A.
Peptides, 30(12) (pp. 2213-2220)
Multiple correlation analyses of metabolic and endocrine profiles with fertility in primiparous and multiparous cows (2007)
Wathes, D. C.; Bourne, N.; Cheng, Z.; Taylor, V. J.; Brotherstone, S. and Coffey, M. P.
Journal of Dairy Science, 90 (pp. 1310-1325)
Pre-pubertal measurements of the somatotrophic axis as predictors of milk production in Holstein-Friesian dairy cows (2006-07)
Taylor, V. J.; Beever, D. E.; Bryant, M. J. and Wathes, D. C.
Domestic Animal Endocrinology, 31(1) (pp. 1-18)
Differences between primiparous and multiparous dairy cows in the inter-relationships between metabolic traits, milk yield and body condition score in the periparturient period (2006-06)
Wathes, D. C.; Cheng, Z.; Bourne, N.; Taylor, V. J.; Coffey, M. P. and Brotherstone, S.
Domestic Animal Endocrinology, 33(2) (pp. 203-225)
Relationships between the plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I in dairy cows and their fertility and milk yield (2004-11-06)
Taylor, V. J.; Cheng, Z.; Pushpakumara, P. G. A.; Wathes, D. C. and Beever, D. E.
Veterinary Record, 155(19) (pp. 583-588)
First lactation ovarian function in dairy heifers in relation to prepubertal metabolic profiles (2004-01)
Taylor, V. J.; Beever, D. E.; Bryant, M. J. and Wathes, D. C.
Journal of Endocrinology, 180(1) (pp. 63-75)
Metabolic profiles and progesterone cycles in first lactation dairy cows (2003-04-01)
Taylor, V. J.; Beever, D. E.; Bryant, M. J. and Wathes, D. C.
Theriogenology, 59(7) (pp. 1661-1667)
Follicle growth, corpus luteum function and their effects on embryo development in postpartum dairy cows (2003)
Wathes, D. C.; Taylor, V. J.; Cheng, Z. and Mann, G. E.
Reproduction Supplement, 61 (pp. 219-237)
Physiological adaptations to milk production that affect the fertility of high yielding dairy cows (2004-02)
Taylor, V. J.; Beever, D. E. and Wathes, D. C.
In: Kebreab, E; Mills, J. and Beever, D. eds. Dairying: using science to meet consumers’ needs (pp. 37-71)
ISBN : 1-897676-14-X | Publisher : Nottingham University Press | Published : Nottingham
Hyperphagia of pregnancy and lactation is associated with changes in appetite-regulating hormones and gastrointestinal modifications in Wistar rats (2016-08-23)
Johnson, Michelle; Saffrey, M. J. and Taylor, V. J.
In : Annual Meetings of the Endocrine Society of Australia and Society for Reproductive Biology and Australia and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society 2016 (21-24 Aug 2016, Gold Coast, Australia)
Pup sex and body mass of rats raised in different lactation litter sizes affect ghrelin and peptide-YY concentrations (2016-07-11)
Johnson, Michelle L.; Saffrey, M. Jill and Taylor, Victoria J.
In : Society for Reproduction and Fertility Annual Conference 2016 (11 Jul 2016, Winchester, UK)
Hyperphagia of pregnancy and lactation is associated with changes in appetite-regulating hormones and gastrointestinal modifications in Wistar rats (2015-07-22)
Johnson, Michelle L.; Saffrey, Jill and Taylor, Vicky J.
In : Society for Reproduction and Fertility Annual Conference (20-22 Jul 2015, St Catherine's College, University of Oxford)
Lactation litter size differentially affects satiety hormone concentrations and gut adaptations in Wistar rat dams (2014-09)
Johnson, Michelle L.; Saffrey, M. Jill and Taylor, Vicky J.
In : World Congress of Reproductive Biology 2014 (2-4 Sep 2014, Edinburgh)
Sex differences in gut satiety hormones peptide-YY and glucagon-like peptide-1 in pups raised in larger lactation litter sizes (2014-09)
Johnson, Michelle L.; Saffrey, M. Jill and Taylor, Vicky J.
In : Society for Reproduction and Fertility Annual Conference 2014 (1-2 Sep 2014, Edinburgh)
Changes in appetite hormone-producing enteroendocrine cells in the C57BL/6 mouse stomach during ageing (2014)
Johnson, M. L.; Taylor, V. J.; Ranson, R. N. and Saffrey, M. J.
In : British Society for Research on Ageing 64th Annual Scientific meeting. 'Exercise, Activity and Ageing Mechanisms' (7-9 Jul 2014, Liverpool John Moores University)
Gastrointestinal changes during lactation are further altered by litter size in Wistar rats (2013-07)
Johnson, Michelle; Saffrey, Jill and Taylor, Victoria
In : The Society for Reproduction and Fertility Annual Meeting 2013 (11-13 Jul 2013, Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge)
Increased glucagon-like peptide-1 concentration in rat descending colon during proestrus is associated with decreased food intake at estrus (2013-07)
Johnson, Michelle; Saffrey, Jill and Taylor, Victoria
In : SSR's 46th Annual Meeting Reproductive Health: Nano to Global (22-26 Jul 2013, Montréal, Québec, Canada) (pp. 150-151)
Changes in appetite hormones and gut tissue architecture during the rat reproductive cycle, pregnancy and lactation (2013-04)
Johnson, Michelle; Saffrey, Jill and Taylor, Victoria
In : Programming obesity: central and peripheral contributors (14-16 Apr 2013, Cambridge, UK)
Do circulating and tissue concentrations of ghrelin and peptide-YY (PYY) change during the oestrous cycle in Wistar Rats? (2012-07)
Johnson, Michelle; Saffrey, Jill and Taylor, Victoria
In : Society for Reproduction and Fertility Annual Conference 2012 (9-11 Jul 2012, Edinburgh)
Gut hormones and the regulation of appetite (2004)
Taylor, V.
In : Trends in Pharmacological Sciences including Toxicological Sciences (Oct 2004)

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