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 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:

  • Sacco, A, Guillon S, David AL. The Impact of Maternal Illness and Therapy on the Fetus and Neonate in "Avery and MacDonald's Neonatology Pathophysiology and Management of the Newborn" 8th Edition, edited by James P Boardman, Alan Groves and Jayashree Ramasethu. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health: Medical Practice 2020.
  • 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
  • Kindinger LM, David AL. The role of the obstetrician in the prevention of retinopathy of prematurity. Semin Perinatol. 2019 May 11. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2019.05.003. PMID: 31174873
  • Sagar R, Götherström C, David AL, Westgren M. Fetal stem cell transplantation and gene therapy. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2019 Mar 5. pii: S1521-6934(18)30243-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2019.02.007
  • Olearo E, David AL, Sultan P. Abnormal Placentation in “Obstetric Anesthesiology: An Illustrated Case-Based Approach”, edited by Tauquer Husain, Roshan Fernando and Scott Segal. Published by Cambridge University Press, 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:

  • 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 in press.
  • 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
  • Deprest J, Van Ranst M, Lannoo L, Bredaki E, Ryan G, David AL, Richter J, Van Mieghem T. Feto-placental surgeries during the COVID?19 pandemic: starting the discussion. Prenatal Diagnosis 2020 11 April, in press.
  • 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.
  • Maneas E, Aughwane R, Huynh N, Xia W, Ansari, R, Singh, MKA, Hutchinson JC, Sebire NH, Arthurs OJ, Deprest T, Ourselin S, Beard PC, Melbourne A, Vercauteren T, David AL, Desjardins AE. Photoacoustic imaging of the human placental vasculature. Journal of Biophotonics 2019 Oct 29:e201900167. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201900167
  • 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. pii: S0002-9378(19)31206-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.09.040
  • Sacco A, Ahmed S, Deprest J, David AL. A study to assess knowledge and acceptability of foetal surgery for spina bifida amongst healthcare professionals in the UK. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2019 Aug 20:1-7. doi: 10.1080/01443615.2019.1621820
  • Carter J, Seed P, Watson HA, David AL, Sandall J, Shennan AH, Tribe RM. Development and validation of prediction models for the QUiPP App v.2: a tool for predicting preterm birth in women with symptoms of threatened preterm labor. Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology 2019;55:357-367. doi:10.1002/uog.20422
  • Vlahova F, Hawkins KE, Ranzoni AM, Hau KL, Sagar R, Coppi P, David AL, Adjaye J, Guillot PV Human mid-trimester amniotic fluid (stem) cells lack expression of the pluripotency marker OCT4A. Sci Rep. 2019;9:8126. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-44572-x.
  • Wang G, Zuluaga MA, Li W, Pratt R, Patel PA, Aertsen M, Doel T, David AL, Deprest J, Ourselin A, VercauterenT. DeepIGeoS: A Deep Interactive geodesic framework for Medical Image segmentation. IEEE Transactions On Pattern Analysis And Machine Intelligence, 2019;41(7):1559-1772 doi: 10.1109/TPAMI.2018.2840695
  • 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
  • Nicholls J, David AL, Iskaros J, Lanceley A. Consent in pregnancy: A qualitative study of the views and experiences of women and their healthcare professionals. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2019 May 11;238:132-137 doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2019.05.008
  • Loukogeorgakis SP, Shangaris P, Bertin E, Franzin C, Piccoli M, Pozzobon M, Subramaniam S, Tedeschi A, Kim AG, Li H, Fachin CG, Dias AIBS, Stratigis JD, Ahn JS, Thrasher AS, Bonfanti B, Peranteau WH, David AL, Flake AW, De Coppi P. In utero transplantation of expanded autologous amniotic fluid stem cells results in long-term hematopoietic engraftment. Stem Cells 2019;37:1176 doi: 10.1002/stem.3039
  • Ridout AR, Ibeto L, Ross, G, Cook KR, Sykes, L, David AL, Seed PT, Tribe R, Bennett PR, Terzidou V, Shennan AH, Chandiramani M. Collaborators, Brown R, Chatfield S, Sadeh D. Cervical length and quantitative fetal fibronectin in the prediction of spontaneous preterm birth in asymptomatic women with congenital uterine anomaly. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2019 May 24. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.05.032.
  • Ushakov F, Sacco A, Andreeva E, Tudorache S, Everett T, David AL, Pandya PP. Crash sign: a new first-trimester sonographic marker of spina bifida. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Apr 11. doi: 10.1002/uog.20285.
  • Harvey ME, David AL, Dyer J, Spencer R. Pregnant women’s experiences and perceptions of participating in the EVERREST Prospective Study, a qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2019 Apr 30 19(1):144.
  • 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.
  • Hill M, Lewis C, Riddington M, Crowe B, DeVile C, David AL, Semler O, Westgren M, Götherström C, Chitty LS. Stakeholder views and attitudes towards prenatal and postnatal transplantation of fetal mesenchymal stem cells to treat Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Eur J Hum Genet. 2019 Mar 27. doi: 10.1038/s41431-019-0387-4.
  • 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.
  • Spencer R, Rossi R, Lees M, Peebles DM, Brocklehurst P, Martin J, Hansson SR, Hecher K, Marsal K, Figueras F, Gratacos E, David AL. Achieving orphan designation for placental insufficiency: annual incidence estimations in Europe. BJOG 2018:126-1157-1167.
  • Sacco A, Simpson L, Deprest J, David AL. Study to assess global availability of fetal surgery for myelomeningocele. Prenat Diagn. 2018 Oct 30. doi: 10.1002/pd.5383.