Pregnancy, Parturition and Prematurity
Research in the Section aims to increase our fundamental understanding of the biology of pregnancy and translate this knowledge to the bedside to better predict, prevent and treat pregnancy complications, thus improving outcomes for mothers and babies."
Professor David MacIntyre
Head of Section
The Section of Pregnancy, Parturition and Prematurity brings together a world-leading collective of clinical and scientific investigators who share a common objective- to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes for all mothers and babies.
Through the application of cutting-edge approaches, our research aims to improve understanding of how immune and hormonal signalling pathways regulate key events of pregnancy including implantation, placentation and fetal growth as well as the initiation of labour and birth. It is hoped that this knowledge will enable improved prediction, prevention and treatment of poor pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth, which remains the primary cause of death worldwide in children under the age of 5 years.
Head of Section of Pregnancy, Parturition and Prematurity
Key studies and research groups
- The March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centre at Imperial College London
Coordinating Director: Prof Phillip Bennett, Scientific Programme Director: Dr David MacIntyre
- Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research
ICL co-director: Prof Phillip Bennett
- The Women’s Health Research Centre
Research group leads
Professor David MacIntyre
Professor MacIntyre’s research investigates the role of microbiota: host interactions during pregnancy and how they may relate to poor pregnancy outcomes. He is also interested in the application of systems biology approaches to better understand mechanisms of pregnancy pathologies and the harnessing of this information for risk and outcome prediction modelling and patient stratification.
Professor Phillip Bennett
Professor Bennett is the Head of the Division of Reproductive and Developmental Biology. His principal research interests are the microbiology, biochemistry and endocrinology of pregnancy, human term and preterm labour, and the stratification, prediction and prevention of miscarriage and preterm birth.
Professor Catherine Williamson
Professor Williamson's research focuses on the endocrine signals that influence alterations in bile acid, lipid and glucose homeostasis in normal and pathological gestation. She also studies the maternal and fetal aetiology and outcomes of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
Professor Mark Johnson
Professor Johnson’s main research interests include understanding the role of cyclic AMP on uterine function, the role of maternal local and systemic immunity on normal and abnormal pregnancy, and the impact of pregnancy on cardiac function.
Dr Lynne Sykes
Dr Lynne Sykes' team primarily focuses on understanding the role of the maternal immune response in microbial driven preterm labour. Her team are also interested in determining how viral infection may augment subsequent local and systemic immune response to bacterial infection.
Dr Vasso Terzidou
Dr Terzidou’s group explore the application of circulating miRNAs for the prediction of pregnancy pathologies including preterm birth and fetal growth restriction. She also has a long-standing research interest in oxytocin receptor signaling and development of new therapeutics for modulation of labour.
Dr Beth Holder
Dr Beth Holder: A major focus of the Holder laboratory is to understand the interaction between the maternal immune system and the feto-placental unit, and its role in health and disease. Current research interests include exploring extracellular vesicle messaging in pregnancy and maternal vaccination.
Dr Victoria Male
Dr Victoria Male’s research group investigates how innate lymphoid cells in the lining of the uterus impact the success of pregnancy. This involves the use of novel experimental models as well as detailed investigation of patient-derived tissue and blood samples collected throughout pregnancy.
Dr Mark Sullivan
Dr Mark Sullivan is the course director for the BSC in Reproductive & Developmental Sciences (for undergraduate medical students) and the MSc in Reproductive & Developmental Biology. He also contributes to teaching reproductive biology on a number of other courses. His research interests include the feto-maternal interface of human pregnancy and the biochemistry of the placenta, decidua and fetal membranes as isolated tissues.