Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction

Clinical Chair in Obstetrics



+44 (0)20 3315 7887mark.johnson




H3.35Chelsea and Westminster HospitalChelsea and Westminster Campus





  • Qualifications:


MBBS                                                            (1982)

MRCP UK                                                     (1985)

PhD                                                                (1995)

MRCOG                                                        (1996)


  • Personal history

Clinical: I qualified from St George’s Hospital Medical School in 1982 and spent the next 10 years working as a Physician with an interest in Diabetes in Endocrinology. I completed my PhD in 1993 and accredited in General Medicine, Endocrinology and Diabetes in 1992 and was about to take up a post as a Senior Lecturer, Consultant Endocrinologist in Bristol when I saw the light and became an SHO in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the Westminster Hospital just before it closed its doors, moving to the brand new Chelsea and Westminster Hospital when it opened in 1993. In the next 6 years, I trained in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and set up the IVF unit in Chelsea and Westminster. The IVF unit was predicted to fail with in 6 months, but actually was highly successful, achieving a 28.5% (75 of 263 cycles, 9th in the UK) clinical pregnancy rate per treatment cycle for women under 38 years of age and for women over 38, 31.5% (121 of 384 cycles, 3rd in the UK). I accredited in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1999 and took up my post as a Senior Lecturer, Consultant in Obstetrics and Obstetric Medicine in 1999, becoming a Reader in January 2006 and then a Professor in Clinical Obstetrics at Imperial College, based at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in 2010.

Research: My early research work (1986-1989) reflected the interests of my first mentor Professor Stafford Lightman and focused on the neuroendocrinology of the posterior pituitary. In 1989, I was awarded the William’s Fellowship by the University of London to study the role of the hormone Relaxin in reproduction. For the next 4 years Relaxin became my “raison d’etre”, finally influencing me to move from Endocrinology into Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1993. I wrote my thesis while an SHO and was awarded my PhD in 1996. I then moved my interest into pregnancy and parturition, under the guidance of Professor Philip Steer before moving firmly into preterm labour in 2001 with the award of a grant from Wellbeing to study the role of Mechanical Stretch in Preterm Labour. Since then I have worked closely with Professor Philip Bennett, holding several grants together and co-supervising several PhD students.

Professor Philip Steer, my predecessor, retired in 2010 after a highly successful career in Academic Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He built up a large clinic in Cardiac Disease in Pregnancy and I have continued with his work in this area. Supervising 2 MD students and writing several papers, chapters and editorials.

I have supervised 10 higher degree students to date, 5 being awarded their degrees in the last 12 months. Currently, I have 10 higher degree students and work with 4 post-doctoral scientists and one Senior Lecturer Miss Vasso Terzidou.


  • Research interests:

Preterm labour

Heart disease in pregnancy


  • Main research objectives:

Identify treatment modalities that will prevent or reduce the risk of preterm labour and its inflammatory consequences in the fetus.

Understand how the maternal immune system contributes to the onset of preterm labour.

Understand how pregnancy influences the progress of pre-existing heart disease and define the optimal management strategies for these complex cases.


  • Collaborators:

Imperial College:                       Professor Philip Bennett.

                                                      Professor Masao Takata.

                                                      Professor Michael Gatzoulis.

                                                      Dr Daqing Ma.

                                                      Dr James Leiper.

                                                      Dr Nesrina Imami.

                                                       Dr James Pease.


Outside Imperial:                       Professor Jolien Roos Hesselink, Erasmus.

                                                      Professor Dimitri Grammatopoulos, Wawick.

                                                      Professor Les Myatt, San Antonio.

                                                      Professor Jan Brosens, Warwick.


  • Membership of Professional bodies

Society for Endocrinology

The Society of Medicine of London

The Society for Gynecologic Investigation

British Maternal Fetal Medicine Society

Perinatal Research Society


  • Reviewer information

Journals: Endocrinology; Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism; PLOSone; Molecular Human Reproduction; Human Reproduction; BJOG.


Grant giving bodies: Wellcome; MRC; BBSRC; Action Medical Research; Wellbeing; Sparks.


  • Membership of Committees - both external and internal

Safety, Borne.


  • Publications (Top 5 recent):

1.   Lei K, Chen L, Cryar BJ, Hua R, Sooranna SR, Brosens JJ, Bennett PRand Johnson MR. (2011) Uterine stretch and progesterone action. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 96:E1013-24

2.   Chen L, Sooranna SR, Lei K, Kandola M, Bennett PR, Liang Z, Grammatopoulos D, Johnson MR. (2012) Cyclic AMP increases COX-2 expression via mitogen activated kinase in human myometrial cells. J Cell Mol Med. 16, 1447-1460.

3.   Roos-Hesselink JW, Ruys TP, Stein JI, Thilén U, Webb GD, Niwa K, Kaemmerer H, Baumgartner H, Budts W, Maggioni AP, Tavazzi L, Taha N, Johnson MR, Hall R; on behalf of the ROPAC Investigators. Outcome of pregnancy in patients with structural or ischaemic heart disease: results of a registry of the European Society of Cardiology. Eur Heart J. 2012 Sep 11.

4.   Hua R, Pease JE, Cheng WW, Sooranna SR, Viney JM, Nelson SN, Myatt L, Bennett PR, Johnson MR. Human labour is associated with a decline in myometrial chemokine receptor expression: the role of prostaglandins, oxytocin and cytokines. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology

5.   Lei K, Chen L, Georgiou EX, Sooranna SR, Khanjani S, Brosens JJ, Bennett PR, Johnson MR.

Progesterone Acts via the Nuclear Glucocorticoid Receptor to Suppress IL-1β-Induced COX-2 Expression in Human Term Myometrial Cells. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e50167. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050167. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


  • Current Grants (5 years) Current:

MRC: Kv7 channel activators -a novel treatment for preterm labour? PI R Tribe co-appl Johnson MR, Aaronson P, Taylor P, Greenwood I. £775,000 2012-4

AMR: Maternal Pre-treatment with Nitrous Oxide and/or Argon against Brain Damage in A Rat Model of Perinatal Asphyxia: Comparison with sevoflurane and/or Argon. PI Ma D, co-appl Johnson MR. £75,000 2012-4

Sparks:Argon and hypothermia in HIE. PI Ma D, co-appl Johnson MR. £80,000 2011-4.

Mother and Child Foundation: Maternal Omega-3 supplementation in high-risk pregnancies. Ogundipe E & Johnson MR PIs. £425,000 2009-12.

AMR: PDE4 inhibitors: a treatment for mothers and babies at risk of preterm delivery? PI Johnson MR, Tribe R and Bennett PB  £167,000 2011-4

Wellcome Trust:  Anti-inflammatory treatment of Preterm Labour PI Bennett PR co-applicants Johnson MR, Hagberg H, Peebles D £350,000 2010-2.

Beneficia: Progesterone in the prevention of preterm labour PI Johnson MR. £90,000 2010-2012.




Sliwa K, van der Meer P, Viljoen C, et al., 2024, Socio-economic factors determine maternal and neonatal outcomes in women with peripartum cardiomyopathy: A study of the ESC EORP PPCM registry., Int J Cardiol, Vol:398

Greer OYO, Anandanadesan R, Shah NM, et al., 2024, Cardiogenic shock in pregnancy, Bjog: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Vol:131, ISSN:1470-0328, Pages:127-139

Shah N, Charani E, Ming D, et al., 2024, Antimicrobial stewardship and targeted therapies in the changing landscape of maternal sepsis, Journal of Intensive Medicine, Vol:4, ISSN:2667-100X, Pages:46-61

Crawford MA, Sinclair AJ, Wang Y, et al., 2023, Docosahexaenoic acid explains the unexplained in visual transduction, Entropy: International and Interdisciplinary Journal of Entropy and Information Studies, Vol:25, ISSN:1099-4300

Dos Santos F, Dennehy N, Steer PJ, et al., 2023, B-type natriuretic peptide in low-risk pregnancy and pregnancy with congenital heart disease, International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Vol:163, ISSN:0020-7292, Pages:218-225

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