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Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Women's Health Research Unit

Women's Health Research Unit Team

The Women’s Health Research Unit undertakes multidisciplinary research to understand why a woman and her unborn child can become ill and how they can stay healthy.

The unit conducts clinical trials and systematic reviews collaboratively with patient and public involvement. Input from a range of disciplines such as clinical epidemiology, biostatistics and health technology assessment are the cornerstones of research that improve policy and practice, embedded within communities and health systems locally, nationally and globally.


Studies currently recruiting:

Probiotics in the prevention of preterm birth - pilot randomised trial
This is a Barts Charity funded feasibility trial to determine the biological effects of probiotics on the vaginal flora and examine the components that will be essential to the success of a double-blinded, placebo-controlled randomised trail (RCT) on the effects of oral probiotics administered daily from early pregnancy on the risk of pre-term birth. 
Chief Investigator: Professor   Khalid Khan  ( )
Trial Coordinator: Miss  Zoe Drymoussi ( )
GBS2 is a cluster randomised trial designed to investigate the real time accuracy of a rapid PCR test to detect GBS colonisation among women in labour with risk factors. GBS2 will also evaluate if using this rapid intrapartum test for GBS colonisation reduces maternal and neonatal antibiotic usage compared with the usual care of Intrapartum Antibiotic Prophylaxis (IAP) based on maternal risk factors alone. We aim to recruit a minimum of 8 clusters per arm (total 16 hospitals), from which we estimate 84 women with risk factors will be recruited.
Chief Investigator: Professor
Trial Coordinator: Mr William McKinnon (
Research Assistant: Maria D’Amico( )
The RfPB funded randomised, feasibility trial  aims to identify if a smart phone app that delivers psychological approaches can help women with chronic pelvic pain.
Participating sites: The Royal London Hospital and Whipps Cross hospital
Chief Investigator: Miss Elizabeth Ball( )
Trial Coordinator: Sian Newton( )

Other ongoing studies:

  • GIFTS - Genomic and lifestyle predictors of foetal outcome relevant to diabetes and obesity and their relevance to prevention strategies in South Asian peoples
  • SALVO- A randomised controlled trial of intra-operative cell salvage during caesarean section in women at risk of haemorrhage
  • ESTEEM: Effect of simple, targeted diet in pregnant women with metabolic risk factors on pre-eclampsia. A randomised trial. 
  • IPPIC: Accuracy of clinical characteristics, biochemical and ultrasound markers in the prediction of pre-eclampsia: an Individual Patient Data (IPD) Meta-analysis

Ongoing research with other institutions (Subcontracted to QM)

  • HABselect (Leeds) - Selection of sperm for Assisted Reproductive Treatment by prior hyaluronic acid binding: increasing live birth outcomes and reducing miscarriage rates (Hyaluronic Acid Binding Sperm Selection; HABSelect).
  • TABLET (Birmingham) - Efficacy and mechanism of thyroxine treatment on pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in women with thyroid antibodies: A randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multi-centre trial [The TABLET (Thyroid AntiBodies and LEvoThyroxine) Trial]

 Previous studies:

  • EMPiRE Antiepileptic drug (AED) management in Pregnancy: An evaluation of effectiveness, cost effectiveness and acceptability of dose adjustment strategies
  • MEDAL- Can magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) scan replace or triage the use of laparoscopy in establishing a diagnosis among women presenting in secondary care with chronic pelvic pain (CPP)?
  • PREP - Development and validation of a prediction model for risk of complications in early onset pre-eclampsia  
  • iWIP IPD M-A - Effects of weight management interventions on maternal and fetal outcomes in pregnancy: Individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis of randomised trials and model based economic evaluation
  • EBM Connect - Evidence-based Medicine Collaboration Network for guideline development, teaChing and disseminaTion
  • Cervical Cancer (PET CT) - Clinical effectiveness of PET-CT imaging in restaging recurrent cervical cancer: Systematic review of evidence and economic modelling
  • Obesity in Pregnancy - Interventions to reduce or prevent obesity in pregnant women: A systematic review of evidence synthesis (Obesity  in pregnancy)
  • Vulval Cancer (Sentinel Node) - Sentinel lymph node (SLN) status in vulval cancer: Systematic quantitative reviews and decision analytic model based economic evaluation
Previous studies with other institutions (Subcontracted to QM):
  • BUS (Birmingham) - Accuracy of Bladder Ultrasound (BUS) in the diagnosis of Detrusor Overactivity: a study to evaluate if ultrasound can reduce the need for urodynamics
  • PLUTO (Birmingham) - Percutaneous Shunting in Bladder Outlet Obstruction Trial
  • STAMP (Edinburgh) - (A Proof of Principle, Double-Blind, Randomised Placebo-Controlled, Multi-Centre Trial of pravaStatin to Ameliorate Early Onset Pre-eclampsia)
  • DAPPA - How accurate is spot urinary protein: creatinine ratio (SPCr) and spot albumin:creatinine ratio (SACr) compared to 24-hour protein estimation to assess women with hypertensive disease in pregnancy (HDP) after 24 weeks gestation


Katie’s Team – The women’s health research patient and public advisory group for East London.

“Katie’s Team” is the KT Network patient and public advisory group. It consists of mums and local members of the public who have a connection to our research areas of childbirth, pregnancy and reproductive issues.

What do we do?

We meet face to face 3 times a year to comment on specific research questions, to advise on the direction of the research, and to learn more about how research in women’s health is conducted. For example, Katie’s Team members have advised on how to reach women who had diabetes in pregnancy for follow-up studies; or given their opinion on what the relevant outcomes were for pregnant women who were anaemic; or commented on learning materials that are used to spread the word about research.

Why do it?

The purpose of the group is to ensure that women’s health research is done effectively and remains relevant to the needs of local mothers. That’s because women who have experienced pregnancy and childbirth issues have unique insight that is valuable to the researchers. “Katie’s Team” members also act as champions for research within their own communities.

Who can join?

Anyone with a personal experience of childbirth, pregnancy or reproductive issues, and their partners or family members. We particularly welcome members from East London.  If you live outside of London, you are welcome to join our mailing list – we also send out electronic newsletters every few months with updates and involvement opportunities.

Get in touch on, and we can send you a role description and further information.


Professor Khalid Khan - Professor of Women's Health and Clinical Epidemiology
0207 882 2621 / 07977 559 415 
Professor Shakila Thangaratinam - Professor of maternal and perinatal health
0207 882 5635 / 07887 775 891


Senior Lecturers

Dr Rashna Chenoy (clinical)
0207 880 2235 / 07961 198 131
Dr Javier Zamora (non-clinical) 


Academic Clinical Lecturer

Dr Natalie Cooper (Maternity leave)
0207 882 3446
Ms Ewelina Rogozińska 
0207 882 5881


Senior Research Manager

Dr Julie Dodds
0207 882 7211


Senior Project Coordinator 

Mr John Allotey
0207 882 6048 
Trial Co-ordinator
Dr Zoe Drymoussi 
0207 882 6692
Research Assistants
Miss Maria D'Amico - GBS2
0207 882 6695
Miss Sarah Yorke - COGS
Ms Tracy Holtham - Unit Administrator 
0207 828 2525
Jackie Martin - PA & Administrator
0207 828  5883


Research Midwives  

Ms Sal Higgins 
PhD and MD Students

Mr John Allotey
0207 882 6048

Dr Jahnavi Daru
0207 882 6309

Dr Michail Sideris

Miss (Chiamaka) Esther Amaefule

Honorary Staff

Professor Ovrang Djahanbakhch - Consultant Gynaecologist and Professor of Reproductive Medicine 
020 7363 9015
Miss Elizabeth Ball - Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist/Hon Senior Lecturer 
020 7882 2525 (Unit Administrator Tracy Holtham)
Dr Rehan Khan - Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and RCOG Tutor,O&G  
07929 005 240


Katherine Twining Research Network 

The Katherine Twining Network aims to facilitate multidisciplinary research in reproductive health and childbirth, providing leadership in development and delivery of women’s health studies. It is named after the first Matron and founder of the Plaistow Maternity Hospital (established in 1889 as St Mary's District Nurses' Home). Its services are currently delivered through the maternity provision at Newham General Hospital.

This initiative aims to bring together doctors, nurses, midwives and scientists working towards improvement in women's health in East London and beyond.

Katherine Twining Network supports and actively encourages the involvement in trainees in research. This includes the provision of academic training, supervision of MD and PhD students, and involvement of clinical trainees in ongoing research activities. We support the establishment of a trainee-led network that improves research literacy and trainee participation in research. This will be provided through our online website where trainees can complete EBM e-learning packages, access databases with research opportunities and learn about how to organise out of programme placements. Along with online resources, it will provide a network for those trainees already involved in research or interested in exploring the world of academic medicine.

See more information about the Katherine Twining:



The Senior Clinical Academics in the research unit are Professors Khalid Khan and Shakila Thangaratinam, and Senior Lecturer, Dr Rashna Chenoy.

Women's Health Research Unit
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health
Blizard Institute
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Yvonne Carter Building
58 Turner Street
London E1 2AB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 2525
Fax: +44 (0)20 7882 2552