Professional background

Professor Anna David is consultant in obstetrics and maternal/fetal medicine at UCLH. Joining University College London (UCL) in 2000 from Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, Professor David was awarded a PhD for her work on fetal gene therapy for treatment of early onset genetic disease in 2005. She then trained in maternal fetal medicine at UCLH under professor Charles Rodeck. In 2008 she was awarded a prestigious UK HEFCE/Department of Health funded senior clinical lectureship in women’s health at UCL and UCLH when she took up a consultant post.

Anna offers a range of diagnostic and therapeutic services in the fetal medicine unit at UCLH. She specialises in cases where the baby has a structural anomaly, a genetic condition or when the baby’s growth is poor (fetal growth restriction). She has close links with the talented UCLH neonatal team that are expert in caring for the smallest preterm infants.

Professor David set up the preterm birth clinical service at UCLH in 2008, which is now one of the busiest in the UK, providing continuity of care in a nurturing environment. The comprehensive service offers pre-conceptual counselling, a wide range of cerclage and other treatments and predictive tests. She is Deputy Director of the Tommy’s National Centre for Preterm Birth Research. She is research lead at the Centre for Prenatal Therapy, the team who performed the first fetal surgery for spina bifida in the UK in 2018.

Professor David is director of the EGA Institute for Women's Health, UCL. Her team are developing new treatments for fetal growth restriction using maternal gene therapy, and is pioneering the first clinical trial of in utero stem cell transplantation for brittle bone disease. She has won awards for her mentorship of academic trainees and colleagues, and is a fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Research interests

Clinical areas:

  • Prenatal diagnosis and fetal medicine
  • Fetal therapy / Fetal surgery
  • Management of pregnancies complicated by fetal growth restriction
  • Prevention of preterm birth
  • High risk obstetrics

Research areas:

  • Fetal medicine and fetal imaging
  • Fetal therapy including in utero stem cell transplantation and gene therapy
  • Prevention of preterm birth
  • Academic training in obstetrics and gynaecology


Recent book chapters and reviews: 

  • Waddington SN, Peranteau WH, Rahim A, Boyle AK, Kurian MA, Gissen P, Chan JKY, David AL. Fetal gene therapy. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease 2023;1-19 
  • David AL, Spencer RN. Clinical assessment of fetal well-being and fetal safety indicators. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2022;62:S67-S78. doi:10.1002/jcph.2126 
  • David AL, Ahmadzia H, Ashcroft R, Bucci-Rechtweg C, Spencer RN, Thornton S. Improving Development of Drug Treatments for Pregnant Women and the Fetus. Therapeutic Innovation and Regulatory Science 2022;56(6):976–990. doi: 10.1007/s43441-022-00433-w 
  • De Coppi P, Loukogeorgakis S, Götherström C, David AL, Almeida-Porada G, Chan JYK, Deprest J, Yuen Wong KK, Hang Tam PK. Regenerative Medicine - From Gene to Cell and Tissue therapies (I): Prenatal Approaches. Lancet Child & Adolescent Health 2022 
  • Morgan AS, Mendonça M, Thiele N, David AL. Management and outcomes of extreme preterm birth. British Medical Journal 2022;376:e055924 doi:10.1136/bmj-2021-055924 
  • Marlow N, Adams E, David AL. Refining regional organization of services in the UK to improve outcomes of pregnancies delivering at extremely low gestational age. Seminars in Perinatology 2022 
  • David AL. Ethical and regulatory considerations of placental therapeutics. Clinical Therapeutics: Placental Therapeutics Issue 2021;43(2):297-307. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2021.01.003
  • Sacco A, Ushakov F, Thompson D, David AL, Deprest J. Fetal surgery for spina bifida. Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine 2019;21:271-282 
  • Sacco A, Ushakov F, Thompson D, Peebles D, Pandya P, De Coppi P, Wimalasundera R, Attilakos G, David AL, Deprest J. Fetal surgery for open spina bifida: background, evidence and current availability in the UK. The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist 2019;21:271-282  
  • Aughwane R, Ingram E, Johnstone ED, Salomon LJ, David AL, Melbourne A. Placental MRI and its application to fetal intervention. Prenatal Diagnosis 2019 
  • David AL. Normal fetal growth and development in “Obstetrics by Ten Teachers” centenary 20th Edition. Edited by Louise C Kenny, Jenny E Myers. Published by CRC Press. 2017  
  • David AL. Assessment of fetal wellbeing in “Obstetrics by Ten Teachers” centenary 20th Edition. Edited by Louise C Kenny, Jenny E Myers. Published by CRC Press. 2017 
  • David AL. Prenatal diagnosis in “Obstetrics by Ten Teachers” centenary 20th Edition. Edited by Louise C Kenny, Jenny E Myers. Published by CRC Press. 2017 

Recently published research articles  

  • Banerjee A, Ivan M, Zazarenko T, Solda R, Bredaki EF, Casagrandi D, Tetteh A, Greenwold N, Zaikin A, Jurkovic J, Napolitano R, David AL. Prediction of spontaneous preterm birth in women with previous full dilatation cesarean section delivery. AJOG MFM 2024 
  • Gerli MFM, Calà G, Beesley MA, Sina B, Tullie L, Sun KY, Panariello F, Michielin F, Davidson JR, Russo FM, Jones BC. Lee D. Savvidis S, Xenakis T,  Simcock IC, Straatman-Iwanowska AA, Hirst RA, David AL, O’Callaghan C, Olivo A, Eaton SE, Loukogeorgakis S, Cacchiarelli D, Deprest J, Li VSW, Giobbe G, De Coppi P. Single cell-guided prenatal derivation of primary fetal epithelial organoids from the human amniotic and tracheal fluids. Nature Med 2024 
  • Sagar RL, Walther-Jallow L, Götherström C, Westgren M, David AL. Maternal and fetal safety outcomes after in utero stem cell injection: A systematic review. Prenat Diagn. 2023;43:1622-1637 doi: 10.1002/pd.6459.  
  • Mufti N, Aertsen M, Thompson D, De Vloo P, Demaerel P, Deprest J, Melbourne A, David AL, the GIFT-Surg Imaging Working Group. Longitudinal MRI in the Context of In-Utero Surgery for Open Spina Bifida: A Descriptive Study. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 2023;62:707-720 
  • Spencer R, Maksym K, Hecher K, Maršál K, Figueras F, Ambler G, Whitwell H, Nené N, Sebire N, Hansson S, Diemert A, Brodszki J, Gratacós E, Ginsberg Y, Weissbach T, Peebles DM, Zachary I, Marlow N, Huertas-Ceballos A, David AL. Maternal PlGF and umbilical Dopplers predict pregnancy outcomes at diagnosis of early-onset fetal growth restriction. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2023;133(18). 
  • Costa E, Thrasivoulou C, Becker DL, Deprest JA, David AL, Chowdhury TT. Cx43 regulates mechanotransduction mechanisms in human preterm amniotic membrane defects. Prenatal Diagnosis 2023;43(10):1284-1295. doi: 10.1002/pd.6429 
  • Jani D, Clark A, Couper S, Thompson JMD, David AL, Melbourne A, Mirjalili A, Lydon AM, Stone PR. The effect of maternal position on placental blood flow and fetoplacental oxygenation in late gestation fetal growth restriction – an MRI study. Journal of Physiology 2023 Jul 19. doi: 10.1113/JP284269 
  • Hunter PJ, Awoyemi T, Ayede AI, Chico RM, David AL, Dewey KG, Duggan CP, Gravett M, Prendergast AP, Ramakrishnan U, Ashorn P, Klein N, members of the Lancet Small Vulnerable Newborn Steering Committee. Biological and pathological mechanisms leading to the birth of a small vulnerable newborn. Lancet 2023 Part of The Lancet Small Vulnerable Newborn series 2023. 
  • Lingam I, Okell J, Maksym K, Spencer R, Peebles DM, Buquis G, Ambler G, Morsing E, Ley D, Singer D, Tenorio V, Dyer J, Ginsberg Y, Weissbach T, Huertas-Ceballos A, Marlow N, David AL on behalf of the EVERREST consortium. Neonatal outcomes following early fetal growth restriction: an EVERREST prospective study. Archives of Disease in Childhood 2023 doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2022-325285
  • Banerjee A, Al-Dabbach Z, Bredaki FE, Casagrandi D, Tetteh A, Greenwold N, Ivan M Jurkovic D, David AL, Napolitano R. Reproducibility of assessment of full dilatation caesarean section scar in women undergoing second trimester screening for preterm birth. Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology 2022;9:396  
  • Mufti N, Ebner M, Patel P, Aertsen M, Gaunt T, Humphries PD, Bredaki FE, Hewitt R, Butler C, Sokolska M, Kendall GS, Atkinson D, Vercauteren T, Ourselin S, Pandya PP, Deprest J, Melbourne A, David AL. Super Resolution Reconstruction MRI application in Fetal Neck Masses and Congenital High Airway Obstruction Syndrome. OTO Open 2021;5(4):2473974X211055372. doi:10.1177/2473974X211055372 
  • Spencer RN, Hecher K, Norman G, Marsal K, Deprest J, Flake A, Figueras F, Lees C, Thornton S, Beach K, Powell M, Crispi F, Diemert A, Marlow N, Peebles DM, Westgren M, Gardiner H, Gratacos E, Brodszki J, Batista A, Turier H, Patel M, Power B, Power J, Yaz G, David AL. Development of standard definitions and grading for Maternal and Fetal Adverse Event Terminology. Prenatal Diagnosis 2022;42:15-26. doi: 10.1002/pd.6047 
  • Aughwane R, Mufti N, Flouri D, Maksym K, Spencer R, Sokolska M, Kendall G, Atkinson D, Bainbridge A, Deprest J, Vercauteren, Ourselin S, David AL, Melbourne A. MRI measurement of placental perfusion and oxygen saturation in early onset fetal growth restriction. BJOG 2020 
  • Kunpalin Y, Burul G, Greenwold N, Tetteh A, Casagrandi D, Warner D, Fox G, Greig E. James CP, David AL. Factors associated with preterm birth in women undergoing cervical cerclage. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2020;251:141-145 
  • Oliver S, Uhm S, Duley L, Crowe S, David AL, James CP, Chivers Z, Gyte G, Gale C, Turner M, Chambers B, Dowling I, McNeill J, Alderdice F, Shennan A, Deshpande S. Top research priorities for preterm birth: results of a prioritisation partnership between people affected by preterm birth and healthcare professionals. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2019;19:528. doi: 10.1186/s12884-019-2654-3.  
  • Shennan A, Chandiramani M, Bennett P, David AL, Girling J, Ridout A, Seed PT, Simpson N, Thornton S, Tydeman G, Quenby S, Carter J. MAVRIC: a multicentre randomised controlled trial of transabdominal versus transvaginal cervical cerclage. AJOG 2019 Oct 1. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.09.040 
  • Story L, Simpson NAB, David AL, Alfirevic Z Z, Bennett PR, Jolly M, Shennan AH. Reducing the impact of preterm birth: Preterm birth commissioning in the United Kingdom. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2019 
  • Barrett DW, John RK, Thrasivoulou C, Mata A, Deprest JA, Becker DL, David AL, Chowdhury TT.  Targeting mechanotransduction mechanisms and tissue weakening signals in the human amniotic membrane.  Scientific Reports 2019 Apr 30 9(1):6718. 
  • Sacco A, Van der Veeken L, Bagshaw E, Ferguson C, Van Mieghem T, David AL, Deprest J. Maternal complications following open and fetoscopic fetal surgery: A systematic review and meta-analysis.  Prenat Diagn. 2019 Jan 31. doi: 10.1002/pd.5421