Keynote Speakers

Professor Dilly Anumba

Dilly Anumba (MBBS, FWACS, MD, FRCOG, LLM Medical Law) is Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the University of Sheffield, Honorary Consultant Obstetrician Gynaecologist and Subspecialist in Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. He is Faculty Director for Clinical Academic Training.

Dilly runs specialist clinics in Fetomaternal Medicine, and conducts research on the physiology of human birth, reproductive immunology, placental function disorders and preterm birth, and improving health equity for women/families. These are variously funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, DHSC (the National Institute for Health Research, NIHR), the Medical Research Council (DPFS and Knowledge Exchange Schemes) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) amongst others. His UK research has “rippled out” into Global Health as Principal Investigator on the NIHR-funded Global Health Research Group on Preterm Birth Prevention and Management in LMICs (PRIME – involving researchers in South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Ghana) and several studies funded by Research England’s QF-GCRF scheme. Dilly serves on the Preterm Birth Committee of the International Federation for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (FIGO), the NIHR Advisory Group for Clinical Academic Training, and is Chair of four Selection Committees of the NIHR Academy including the Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (SPARC) and the Global Health Research SPARC. He is one of the leaders of the Tommy’s Centre for Maternity Improvement at the RCOG and served on the committee for the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle version 3 of NHS England and NHS Improvement.  He is a member of the RCOG Council representing Sub-Sahara Africa. He served two terms on the NICE Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme.

Dr Sarah Bates

National Quality Lead for the British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM)

Dr Sarah Bates is a Consultant Paediatrician & Neonatologist in Swindon, where she is now the joint Clinical Lead for Neonatal Medicine. Dr. Bates is a co-author of the 2019 BAPM Extremely Preterm Framework, and she is passionate about perinatal team culture, working together to reduce death and brain injury in preterm infants through implementation of simple, low cost evidence-based interventions, with particular focus on Optimal Cord Management and Early Maternal Breast Milk. She is the PERIPrem Operational Clinical Lead across the South West of England and has been involved in national perinatal preterm optimisation toolkits for BAPM, National Neonatal Audit Programme (NNAP) and MatNeoSIP, chairing both working groups for QI toolkits to optimise Maternal Breast Milk for Preterm Babies.

Miss Ciara Curran

Ciara is the lead and founding member of the patient support and advocacy group, Little Heartbeats. She is also part of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust preterm birth PPI Group. Ciara has tirelessly worked as a volunteer to support thousands of pregnant women facing a PPROM pregnancy in the UK and internationally since she lost her daughter, Sinead, to complications of PPROM at 21 week’s gestation in April 2010.

Ciara runs a website and closed patient support group for women and families with PPROM and provides care packs at the time of PPROM. Ciara also instigated and been involved in numerous research projects related to PPROM, including working with Obstetricians Dr Lisa Story and Dr Megan Hall and Clinical Psychologist Dr Fiona Challacombe  at King’s College London, Obstetricians Dr Laura Goodfellow and Dr Angharad Care at Liverpool and Professor Anna David and Dr Tina Chowdhury at UCL. These collaborations have already resulted in three publications on PPROM in the last six months alone.

Ciara and her team have also contributed to national guidance on PPROM, informing the RCOG when they archived the previous RCOG PPROM guidelines that they felt there was an urgent need for them to be reinstated.  These documents were both subsequently rewritten for PPROM over 24 weeks and Ciara has contributed to both of these new versions.

Ciara was crowned a King’s Coronation volunteer champion in 2023 for her hard work and dedication and won ‘The Butterfly Award’ in 2017. She was nominated for ‘Women of the Year’ in both 2016 and 2023. She has also been shortlisted for The Sun ‘Who Care’s Awards’.

Ciara has also contributed significantly by her fundraising efforts having completed the London Marathon twice and undertaken a skydive from 13,000ft to raise funds for research and awareness into preterm birth and baby loss. She has also cowritten and released a song with Nicolle Rochelle and Simon Ward, in memory of her daughter Sinead whom she never got the chance to bring home.

Professor Anna David

Anna is Director of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women’s Health at University College London in London and an Honorary Consultant in Obstetrics and Maternal Fetal Medicine at UCL Hospital. Clinically she specializes in fetal medicine, severe congenital disease, fetal growth restriction and prevention of preterm birth. Her research team is developing novel prenatal therapies and imaging. She has been studying fetal membrane biology, the effects of trauma and its healing properties for the last 15 years in collaboration with bioengineers from Queen Mary University of London and Little Heartbeats Patient Support Group.

Professor Alexander Heazell

Alexander Heazell is Professor of Obstetrics and Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre, University of Manchester, UK and the Regional Lead Obstetrician for the North-West of England. In this role, he has been involved in quality improvement projects to implement Omega-3 supplementation to reduce the risk of preterm birth.

His research portfolio includes basic science, clinical and qualitative research studies to gain better understanding in order to understand the causes of placental dysfunction, to prevent stillbirth and improve care for parents after stillbirth or perinatal death. He is the national lead for Rainbow Clinic, a specialist clinical service for parents in pregnancy after loss.

He has received over £6M of grant income and has published over 250 research papers. He was the lead investigator for the MiNESS case control study and national evaluation of Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle (SBLCB). He is currently leading a follow-up evaluation of Version 2 of the SBLCB, MiNESS 20-28 and a multidisciplinary project within the Wellcome LEAP In Utero Programme. He is on the national steering group of the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool in the UK.

 

Dr Victoria Hodgetts Morton

Victoria is an Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant in Obstetrics. Clinically, Victoria supports the running of the specialised preterm birth service at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. Her research interests include all aspects of maternal and fetal health, specifically preterm birth prevention, supporting large preterm birth trials aiming to prevent pregnancy loss.

Professor Louise Kenny

Louise is the Executive Pro Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool, deputy Chair of the Board of Liverpool Health Partners and a Non-Executive Director at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

She was the founding Director of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT www.infantcentre.ie) and was Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Cork University Maternity Hospital where she worked as a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist from 2006-2018.

Louise is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. She has written over 300 original scientific papers and didactic texts on the aetiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology and clinical management of this condition, supported by a portfolio of personal awards now in excess of £65 million. The work of Louise’s group has translated from the bench to clinical practice and has led to changes in guidelines both nationally and internationally. She is the founder and Principal Investigator of the Wellcome Trust funded programme Children Growing up in Liverpool (C-GULL), the first new birth cohort in the UK for two decades.

Louise has received numerous awards for her work; most recently she was elected a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to research in the NHS.

Professor Asma Khalil

Asma Khalil has been a Consultant in Obstetrics and Fetal Medicine at St George’s University Hospital since 2012 and Director of Fetal Medicine at Liverpool Women’s Hospital since 2021.

At St George’s, Asma set up and led the first Twins Trust Centre for Research and Clinical Excellence.
Asma is the Obstetric Lead of the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit, and Trustee and Treasurer of ISUOG. She also founded the first UK national registry of complicated multiple pregnancies.
Asma chaired the Twins and Multiple Births Association Maternity Engagement Project Steering Committee, a Department of Health-funded quality improvement project covering 30 maternity hospitals. She also successfully led several international initiatives. Over the years Asma has received over 15 national and international awards; the latest was FIGO’s Recognising Female Obstetricians and Gynaecologists award.

Dr Farràs Llobet

Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital

Dr Alba Farràs is an Obstetrician and Gynecologist, specialized on prenatal diagnosis at the Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus. As part of the Maternal and Fetal Medicine research group, her primary focus is on the prevention of prematurity, with a particular interest in the ultrasonographic study of the cervico-isthmic complex. Beyond her clinical and research roles, Alba Farràs is engaged in teaching and innovation and is an active member of the Hospital’s Innovation Committee.

Dr Farràs’ presentation on uterine isthmus contractions won first prize at the 2023 European Spontaneous Preterm Birth Conference in Amsterdam.

Ms Catherine McClennan

Catherine is the Programme Director of the Cheshire and Merseyside Women’s Health and Maternity Programme and is Senior Responsible Officer for the Cheshire and Merseyside Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS). Catherine has worked in public sector development and improvement roles for over twenty-five years. Catherine has held national policy positions, advising governments on improving education and skills, reducing inequalities, and business and community development.

Professor Katie Morris

Professor Katie Morris, Professor Maternal and Fetal Health, University of Birmingham, Director Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit. Her research aims to improve the care for women with multiple pregnancies, fetal anomalies, growth restriction, reducing infection in maternity and prevention of preterm birth, employing prognostic and diagnostic research, modelling, systematic reviews and clinical trials. She has received research funding from the HTA, RfPB, MRC and charities. She sits on the RCOG Research Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee, RfPB West Midlands Panel, Wellbeing of Women Scientific Advisory Committee,  British Maternal and Fetal Medicine Society Executive Committee as President and is Clinical Speciality Lead for Reproductive Health and Childbirth for the West Midlands.

Her clinical practice is at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust where she cares for women with complex pregnancies including maternal cardiac disease, fetal growth restriction and multiple pregnancies including providing fetal therapy. She is lead for the Women’s and Children’s Health theme of Birmingham Health Partners.

Dr Sarah Murray

Sarah is a Subspecialty Trainee in Maternal and Fetal Medicine and a SCREDS Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics at the University of Edinburgh. Sarah is the Co-chief investigator of the NIHR funded ‘STOPPIT-3’ randomised control trial of antenatal corticosteroids prior to planned birth in twins. Along with clinical trials her research focuses on the use of routinely collected pregnancy data to study pregnancy outcomes in twins.

Professor Andrew Shennan

Andrew Shennan is Professor of Obstetrics at King’s College London, based at St. Thomas’ Hospital and is Clinical Director of South London Clinical Research Network. He is Chair of the FIGO Preterm Birth Committee (2012-23) and sits on the UK HTA commissioning board.
He specialises in clinical trials in antenatal and intrapartum care. His research interests include interventions to predict and prevent preterm birth, pre-eclampsia, and reduce global maternal and perinatal mortality. He has published >500 peer reviewed research reports (H index >50).
He has an active clinical role in managing high risk obstetric patients, including a regular hands-on labour ward commitment, and a specialist award winning preterm birth surveillance clinic that accepts national and international referrals.
He is the recipient of the international 2017 Newton Prize for excellence in research and innovation in support of economic development and social welfare in low and middle-income countries. He was awarded an OBE in 2018 for services to maternity care.

Dr Nigel Simpson

Nigel Simpson is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust and Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds. He is also the NIHR Clinical Research Network National Specialty Lead for Reproductive Health. He has a particular clinical and research interest in the causes and prevention of preterm birth. His work on the Reproduction and Perinatal Health Research Group at the University of Leeds focuses on unravelling the cellular mechanisms regulating normal and abnormal pregnancy, and the health and well-being of the newborn infant.

Professor Sarah Stock

Sarah Stock is a Professor in Maternal and Fetal Health at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Consultant and Subspecialist in Maternal and Fetal Medicine. Her research interests focus on the pregnancy complications preterm birth and stillbirth, developing better ways of predicting and diagnosing pregnancy complications enabling safe, personalised care for mothers and babies.

Dr Lisa Story

Lisa Story is an NIHR Clinician Scientist and Honorary Consultant in Obstetrics and Fetal Medicine. Following graduation from Oxford University and commencing clinical training in obstetrics and gynaecology she undertook a PhD at Imperial College London assessing brain development in fetuses with growth restriction using MRI and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Her current research programme focuses on investigating the anatomical and physiological changes associated with preterm delivery utilising advanced MRI protocols.

Dr Gemma Sullivan

MRC Clinician Scientist at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Consultant in Neonatology

Dr. Gemma Sullivan is a MRC Clinician Scientist at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Consultant in Neonatology. Her research interests focus on the role of inflammation in preterm brain injury and neonatal neuroimaging.

Dr Vasso Terzidou

Vasso Terzidou is a Reader/Associate Professor in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and a Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. She is a member of the Imperial College Parturition Research Group. Her principal research interests are the biochemistry and endocrinology of human term and preterm labour and the prediction and prevention of preterm birth.