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2008  Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award

2011  Churchill Fellowship

2019 HSJ Partnerhsip Award

2019 UNIVANTS of Healthcare Excellence

Group Members

Wei Zhang - Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Neva Kandzija - Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Sofia Cerdeira - Postdoctoral Clinical Fellow

Toluwalase Awoyemi- DPhil Student (Rhodes Scholar)

William Cooke - DPhil Student (Welcome Trust)

Shuhan Jiang - DPhil Student (CNSF)

Emily Mazey- DPhil Student

Gabriel Jones - DPhil Student (Clarendon Scholar)

Maryam Rahbar-DPhil Student

Prassana Logenthiran- DPhil Student

Catarina Palma dos Reis (Clarendon Scholar)

Yosuke Matsumiya (Jowett & Kobe Scholar)

Faheem Seedat (Novo Nordisk)

Emily Hyde (MRC iCASE)

Past Members:

Chiara Tersigni - Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli, Rome

Vuyane Mhlomi - CEO Quro Medical

Rannya Ri - Renal Physician in Training Programme

Alexandra Burdujan - placement student

Gavin Collett- Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Sylvia Shahjahan - Technician - now reading medicine at Imperial

Current Funding

2014- Research Grant - Silence Therapeutics

2014 - Research Grant - Roche Diagnostics

2006-2016 - Programme Grant MRC ( 2 yr extension)

2016-2019 - Jannsen Pharamaceuticals Research Grant

2018-2021 - GPADD (Global Platform for the Detection of Autoimmune Diabetes) Helmsley Trust

Group Photo 2021

Opportunities to work with us

We are always keen to hear from people interested in working or studying with us (e.g., potential DPhil, MSc by Research, ERASMUS students, summer students, postdocs). Please contact Dr Vatish by email in the first instance.

There are a number of scholarships that high-calibre candidates can apply for within the University of Oxford as well as the European Union.

John Todd

Manu Vatish

MBBCh BA(Hons) DPhil MA(Cantab) FRCOG

Professor of Obstetrics & Consultant Obstetrician

  • Principal Investigator
  • Research Group Leader
  • Grant Holding Senior Scientist
  • Clinical Consultant in Obstetrics
  • NIHR CRN Clinical Director (Thames Valley & South Midlands)
  • Academic Training Programme Director - Oxford University Clinical Academic Graduate School
  • RCOG College Tutor - Oxford
  • Associate Group Leader Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics

Translational Obstetrics Research


I undertook preclinical medicine at Keble College, Oxford followed by a DPhil at Brasenose College, Oxford (under the aegis of Dr. Richard Boyd) and I completed clinical training at Cambridge (Queens’ College). Specialist training in obstetrics & gynaecology on the Oxford training rotation was followed by a clinical lectureship at Warwick and senior lectureship/consultant at Warwick. Fulbright and Churchill Fellowships (in New York & Yale) preceded a move back to Oxford in 2013.


Pregnancy is generally a time of great happiness and expectation and yet a significant number of pregnancies are affected by diseases such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. These diseases cause significant short and long term problems for both the mother and her baby. It is clear that the placenta, the organ responsible for orchestrating the transfer of nutrients and oxygen from the mother to the fetus, is responsible for these diseases since delivery of the baby (and therefore the placenta) cures the diseases. My research focuses on the hormonal signaling between the placenta and the mother and the mechanisms by this signaling can be disrupted in disease. These studies are basic science in nature, but there also clinical studies being undertaken examining the use of circulating placental biomarkers in managing patients with preeclampsia.   More recently, working together with Professors Redman & Sargent we have started to examine the role of placental microvesicles (small particles shed from the surface of the placenta into the maternal circulation) in insulin resistance - a common feature of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.

Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) - these circulating biopsies of the placenta contain proteins and RNA involved in signaling to maternal organs. They are altered (by quantity and cargo) in diseases such as preeclampsia, growth restriction and gestational diabetes. We explore these moieties to understand the pathogenesis behind these diseases. We are also exploring vesicles from embryo as potential indicators of embryonic health/wellbeing. Together with Sysmex/JVCKenwood we have been optimisig a new device to identify exosomes (smaller EVs) in the blood.

Mitochondria as Therapy - intra-uterine growth restriction often occurs as a result of placental dysfunction. We have, in collaboration with an industrial partner (LUCA Science), optimised a method of isolating intact functional mitochondria and are now delivering these to placental cells and explants as a therapeutic approach. The mother and zygote share the same mitochondria and thus we aim at isolating mitochondria from maternal blood and delivering it to the placenta.

Circulating Angiogenic Biomarkers - we have been involved in using these markers (sFlt1 and PlGF) for the improved diagnosis of preeclampsia. I was involved in the study that defined the cut-off for the ratio of these molecules as well as the first interventional trial using these markers in clinical practice. I have been involved in the AHSN roll out of these tests and the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative's efforts to implement these tests into routine clinical practice. I have been a NICE SPecialist Committee Member in the area of angiogenic biomarkers.

Computerised CTG - I am involved in the Dawes-Redman Computerised CTG system (devised by Geoffrey Dawes and Chris Redman). We are now seeking to generate the next generation of antepartum CTG analysis using machine learning.

Genetic Screening of Newborns - with GPADD & Professor Todd and Professor Laurent Servais we have optimised screening newborn blood spots for both Type 1 Diabetes as well as Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). We conducted the INGR1D study in the Thames Valley and have just started a screening study for SMA.

Vaccines in Pregnancy - I have been involved in a number of vaccine studies (whooping cough, RSV, COVID19) in pregnancy and shown that these can be highly effective in protecting mother and baby.

InterBio 21st - with Professors Kennedy and Villar, I have been involved in biomarker discovery work for preterm birth.

I am a clinical academic and practicing obstetrician at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.  I see patients in clinics as well as on the labour ward and take full part in the on call rota for acute obstetrics at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

I am also NIHR CLRN Clinical Director for the Thames Valley & South Midlands, RCOG College Tutor Oxford and Academic Training Programme Director for OUCAGS.