Our research aims to improve the lifelong health of women and babies through multidisciplinary programmes addressing the main themes of fertility and early embryo development, pregnancy, and gynaecological oncology (Kitchener, Jacobs, Cancer Sciences above).
Research on Embryo development includes EU FP7 funding to develop novel biotechnology for culture and embryo screening in IVF, and conducting long-term follow up studies of health outcomes in IVF children (collaborations with Brison, Honorary chair). Pregnancy research is focussed within the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre (MFHRC), one of only three Tommy’s: the Baby Charity-designated Pregnancy Research Centres in the UK; now renewed in Manchester for over 10 years.
MFHRC is based in Saint Mary’s Hospital with dedicated research laboratories and clinics embedded in the clinical setting of tertiary care obstetrics and gynaecology. MFHRC is the largest pregnancy research group in Europe (over 80 staff including clinician-scientists, scientists and research midwives) with current grant income >£10m including programme and project grant awards from the MRC. Work on maternity services is integrated with the Midwifery research group (Lavender, UoA3), aimed at understanding experiences of women and health professionals and developing effective public health interventions.
Research themes include:
(i) basic discovery e.g. Aplin, Westwood, work on early placental development;
(ii) new diagnostics e.g. NIHR- and Tommy’s-funded work by Jones, Heazell and Myers on tools for predicting risk of hypertension and stillbirth;
(iii) new treatments for the major pregnancy complications of foetal growth restriction, stillbirth, pre-eclampsia and diabetes, programmes on drug repurposing (Sibley) and specific delivery to placenta (Harris). Translation into patient benefit is facilitated through dedicated research clinics (Heazell, Myers).