Maternal and Fetal Medicine


1. To perform research that leads to a demonstrable improvement in maternal and neonatal outcomes of pregnancy.

2. To train and enthuse scientists and clinicians in Women’s Health at the undergraduate and postgraduate stage with the long term aim of building research/clinical capacity in Women's Health.

3. To be identified as a leading world centre for obstetric research on the basis of research excellence indicated by publications and impact on Women’s Health.


The UCL Research Department of Maternal and Fetal Medicine (Head since Jan 2008 – Professor Donald Peebles) has a long established track record at UCL, until recently under the leadership of Professor Charles Rodeck, who retired in Sept 2007. Currently research activity is centered around 6 research groups that encompass many of the major causes of UK maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity:

Perinatal Neuroscience (Leads- Professor G. Raivich, Dr Mariya Hristova) – comprises 2 professors, 1 lecturer and 4 PhD students. This is a multidisciplinary group including basic neuroscience and clinical obstetrics and neonatology. Their aim is to identify mechanisms contributing to inflammation associated injury to developing brain and to devise therapeutic interventions to reduce the incidence of long term neuro-disability in infants born prematurely or following peri-partum hypoxia-ischaemia.

Placental Development (Lead - Prof E Jauniaux) – group consists of 1 professor, 1 lecturer  and 2 PhD students. The aim is to investigate the molecular mechanisms of early placental development and their role in the pathophysiology of placental-related complications of pregnancy.

Prenatal Gene and Cellular Therapy (Lead - Dr A David) – group consists of 1 professor, 1 senior lecturer, 1 research assistant and 2 PhD students. The research aims are to develop prenatal treatment of severe and life-threatening disorders using gene and cellular therapy, and to investigate the efficacy, safety and ethical issues of such treatment.

Prenatal Diagnosis (Lead -Dr L Chitty) – 1 reader and 2 research midwives. Collaborative research involving much larger multinational group with broad interests in aetiology of congenital abnormality, psychosocial and technical aspects of prenatal diagnosis, with a particular emphasis on the development and clinical implementation of novel methods of non-invasive prenatal diagnosis.

Maternal Medicine (Lead Dr D Williams)- group consists of 1 consultant/SL and 2PhD students. They perform clinical research into the role of angiogenic factors and vascular function in pre-eclampsia; parallel studies assess the prognostic value of pregnancy outcome in determining later cardiovascular health.

Professor K Nicolaides- The potential to improve perinatal outcome through translational research was strengthened enormously by the appointment in April 2009 of Kypros Nicolaides as Professor of fetal medicine (on a 50:50 basis with KCL). With over 900 publications and a string of important trials and discoveries to his name Prof Nicolaides has an international reputation as an outstanding leader in the field of obstetric research. Current research interests include early screening for fetal abnormalities and pregnancy complications.

Gene Transfer Technology Group (Lead- Dr S Waddington) – group consists of 1 reader, 1 senior lecturer, 1 senior research associate and 2 PhD students. The research aims are to develop gene transfer technology for treatment of early onset, lethal genetic disease.

Page last modified on 06 feb 14 10:35