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Queen Mary one of five top universities forming a new collaborative research centre for preterm birth research

The Tommy’s National Centre for Preterm Birth Research brings together leading researchers from Queen Mary with colleagues from Imperial College, University College, King's College, and the University of Leeds. 

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An estimated 53,000 babies born are born preterm in the UK every year.  This is higher than the average across Europe.  We want to change this – which is why we’ve helped to create Tommy’s National Centre for Preterm Birth Research, the first research centre dedicated to understanding the causes of preterm birth and how it can be prevented.

The new Centre brings together leading experts to advance our understanding of the causes of preterm birth, and deliver new, innovative treatments to prevent it. The Centre’s research will reduce the number of preterm births in the UK, ensure everyone has access to the care they need, and improve the future health of families, mothers and babies.

Steve Thornton, Professor of Obstetrics, is the Centre lead at Queen Mary. He said:

“I am delighted we have been successful in this bid which will fund staff and students. Preterm Birth is the biggest cause of death and disability in newborns and we can now address this difficult issue by enhancing our collaborative research across the UK.”

Researchers from Queen Mary's Women’s Health Research Unit - Matina Iliodromiti, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Unit Lead, and Dr Elena Greco, Senior Clinical Lecturer - also played an essential role in supporting Queen Mary’s successful bid.  

Dr Tina Chowdhury, whose research on role of mechanobiology in spontaneous preterm birth is funded by the Tommy's Centre, said:

"I am really proud to be a part of the national campaign to improve outcomes for mothers and babies. We need significant investment to study the mechanisms and pathway interventions to stop early rupture. The Centre is training an army of Tommy's research leaders to aim to reduce rates of preterm birth in the UK from 8% to 6% by 2025.”

Tommy’s is a national charity supporting people who experience preterm birth and baby loss. The new centre joins their other research centres focused on miscarriage, pregnancy complications and improving maternity care.

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