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Women in Science

Krina studied biomedical sciences in Holland and then moved to Oxford to do a DPhil. Her research focuses on the integration of genetic, molecular and environmental epidemiological research methods to uncover the aetiology of endometriosis.

Portrait of Krina Zondervan© Women in Science


at the time of the interview – November 2014

Krina is a Senior Research Fellow and Principal Investigator in the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Since her interview, Krina has been made full Professor in Reproductive & Genomic Epidemiology. She has two children. 

Extended biography

at the time of the interview - November 2014

Krina studied biomedical sciences at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. During this time she won an ERASMUS exchange scholarship and went to Oxford to do a project there, and enjoyed the experience. She got interested in women’s health and epidemiology and after finishing her MSc she returned to Oxford to read for a DPhil in Epidemiology.

For her first year Krina obtained a USB scholarship from the Netherlands, and also got a scholarship from St Edmunds Hall which paid for her accommodation for two years. She subsequently obtained a Bupa Foundation Grant to study the epidemiology of chronic pelvic pain in women. This paid for her salary for three years. It also allowed her to do her DPhil at the same time.

 I think ultimately that if you have great ideas and you’re persistent that you’ll get there

During this time Krina became interested in the genetic and environmental factors causing endometriosis. In 2000 she obtained a four year MRC Training Research Fellowship, which allowed her to do a one year MSc in genetic epidemiology, which she did in Rotterdam, and three years studying the genetic epidemiology of endometriosis. To do this work she moved to the Wellcome Trust Centre in Oxford.

In 2008 Krina applied to the Wellcome Trust for an Intermediate Career Development Award. She was delighted to get the award, and started her own group, working on the subject of endometrisosis. She had three postdocs and a student working with her.

Then Krina applied to the Wellcome Trust for a Senior Research Fellowship, but she was unsuccessful. She subsequently was offered a permanent position in the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and became an Associate Professor. Since her interview, she has been made a full Professor in Reproductive & Genomic Epidemiology.

Krina is the Principal Investigator of a number of international collaborative studies and initiatives in the field of endometriosis. She has not experienced any gender discrimination, though at times when going to conferences other people have assumed that her male colleagues were leading the work.

Krina is married and has twin daughters, which she had aged 39. They are now aged three. The Wellcome Trust gave her six months maternity pay and added the time she was away to the end of her Fellowship. Thus the Trust was very supportive and paid her salary and her postdoc’s salaries for the extra six months. Then her babies got places in the University nursery. Krina found this time quite tough, particularly because the children being at nursery they caught many infections. Her husband shares child care 50/50. However, Krina loves her work and says that flexible working hours are a huge benefit. Ethnic background/nationality: White Dutch.