Professor Jane Norman

Job title

Professor of Maternal and Fetal Health
Director of the Edinburgh Tommy’s Centre
Vice Principal, Equality and Diversity

Contact details:

UoE/ MRC Centre for Reproductive Health,
The Queen’s Medical Research Institute,
47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ
Telephone: 0131 242 6623

PA: Karen Witherspoon
Telephone: 0131 242 2694


MB ChB 1986, MRCOG 1992, MD 1992, CCT (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) 1995, FRCOG 2004, FSB 2009, F Med Sci 2012, FRCPE 2012.

Research Interests

My research work focusses on the pregnancy “stressors” of maternal depression/stress, inflammation and hypoxia. These pregnancy stressors are largely responsible for the clinical conditions of gestational diabetes, preterm birth and stillbirth, all of which have devastating effects on pregnant women and their babies. My group aims to understand how these pregnancy stressors cause these clinical conditions and to develop preventive and therapeutic strategies. In all our research endeavours, we use a broad array of research strategies, from basic science, through animal models, to clinical trials and beyond to population based research to address these clinical problems.

Current research projects

  • OPPTIMUM: a multicentre double blind placebo controlled trial to address the question: Does progesterone prophylaxis to prevent preterm labour improve outcome? (Funded by the Medical Research Council).
  • EMPOWaR: Efficacy of Metformin in Pregnant Obese Women, a Randomised Controlled Trial. (Funded by MRC and managed by EME / NIHR)
  • Understanding and treating the link between obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation and adverse pregnancy outcome (funded by Tommy’s)
  • AFFIRM: Does promoting increased awareness of decreased fetal movements reduce stillbirth, a stepped wedge cluster randomised trial? (Funded by the Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Executive HSRC, Tommy’s and Sands).
  • Investigating the role of iNKT cells as drivers for preterm labour. (Funded by the Medical Research Council)

Jane Norman Page Logos

The Edinburgh Tommy’s Centre

Professor Jane Norman is Director of the Edinburgh Tommy’s Centre which is funded by the charity Tommy’s. Opened in May 2008 it is located within the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health. The Tommy’s Centre aims to conduct world class research that will have a direct impact on the health of pregnant women and their babies and to translate our research into improved health outcomes both locally and worldwide.

Please click here for full details »

Current Grants

2009 – 2015
Norman JE, Denison F, Drake M, Forbes S, Reynolds R, Walker B, Newby D, Murray G, Wray S, Quenby S. Does Metformin reduce excess birthweight in offspring of obese pregnant women. A randomised controlled trial of efficacy, exploration if mechanisms and evaluation of other pregnancy complications? NIHR. Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme. £996,000

2008 – 2015
Norman JE
et al.  Does progesterone prophylaxis to prevent preterm labour improve outcome- a randomised double blind placebo controlled trial? (OPPTIMUM). £2,700,000

2008 – 2015
Norman JE, Calder AA, Denison F, Reynolds R, Forbes S.  Core funding for Edinburgh Tommy’s Centre for Maternal and Fetal Health. Tommy’s the baby charity. £2,640,000

2011 – 2014
Denison FC, Norman JE, Semple SK, van Beek E, Walker J. Can 1H MRS and MRI at 3 tesla detect intrauterine hypoxia in pregnancies with uteroplacental insufficiency? Action Medical Research £97,450

2011 – 2016
Saunders P, Anderson R, Critchley H, Norman JE, Iredale J, Forbes S, Seckl J. Core support for the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health.  £1,100,000

2012  -2017
Gray N, Norman JE, Girardi G, Granneman S.
Poly(A)-binding proteins highlight the importance of regulated mRNA translation and stability in determining a functional materno-fetal interface. MRC Programme Grant. £1,494,491

2013 – 2014
Kersaudy-Kerhoas M, Norman JE, Desmulliez M, Bridle H, Kavanagh D. fetaSAFE – Microfluidic concentration of circulating foetal nucleic acids from maternal blood. MRC Confidence in Concept Scheme. £51,585.

2013 – 2016
Norman JE, Calderwood C, Cunningham Burley S, Scott J, Weir C, Chalmers J, Murdoch E, Stock SJ, Ross-Davie M, McAuliffe F, Geary M, Hunter AJ, Heazell A, Froen F.  Does promoting increased awareness of decreased fetal movements reduce stillbirth, a stepped wedge cluster randomised trial?  Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Executive, (HSRC), Tommy’s and Sands. £330,000.

2013 – 2016
Norman JE, Saunders P, Rossi A, Freeman T. iNKT cells as drivers for preterm labour. MRC Project Grant. £125,788.

Publications 2009 onwards

Rinaldi SF, Catalano RD, Wade J, Rossi AG, Norman JE. Decidual neutrophil infiltration is not required for preterm birth in a mouse model of infection-induced preterm labour. J Immunol 2014 (in press)

Sharp GC, Saunders PTK, Greene SA, Morris AD, Norman JE. Intergenerational transmission of postpartum haemorrhage risk – analysis of  two Scottish birth cohorts Am J Obstet Gynecol 2014 (in press)

Denison FC, Norwood P, Bhattacharya S, Duffy A, Mahmood T, Morris C, Raja EA, Norman JE, Lee AJ, Scotland G. Association between maternal body mass index during pregnancy, short-term morbidity, and increased health service costs: a population-based study. BJOG 2014 121:72-82. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.12443

Sharp GC, Saunders P, Norman JE. Computer models to study uterine activation at labour. Molecular Human Reproduction 2013 19:711-7

Norman JE, Tong S (2013) (Editorial) MHR welcomes high-quality basic reproductive research around pregnancy. Molecular Human Reproduction 19: 709-710

King V, Hibbert N, Seckl JR, Norman JE, Drake AJ. The effects of an obesogenic diet during pregnancy on fetal growth and placental gene expression are gestation dependent. Placenta. 2013 Nov;34(11):1087-90. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2013.09.006

Horne AW, Skubisz M, Doust A, Duncan WC, Wallace EM, Critchley HOD, Johns T, Norman JE, Bhattacharya S, Mollison J, Rassmusen M, Tong S. Phase II single arm open label multicentre clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and side effects of combination gefitinib and methotrexate to treat tubal ectopic pregnancies (GEM II): study protocol. BMJ Open.

Frew L, Sugiarto NU, Rajagopal SP, He J, Leask R, Norman JE, Riley SC, Stock SJ. The effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on the inflammatory response of the amnion. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2013 Jul 23. doi:pii: S0952-3278(13)00138-5. 10.1016/j.plefa.2013.07.001. [Epub ahead of print].

Sharp GC, Ma H, Saunders PT, Norman JE. A computational model of lipopolysaccharide-induced nuclear factor kappa B activation: a key signalling pathway in infection-induced preterm labour. PLoS One. 2013 Jul 30;8(7):e70180. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070180.

Reynolds RM, Allan KM,  Raja EA, Bhattacharya S, McNeill G, Hannaford PC, Sarwar N, Lee AJ, Bhattacharya S, Norman JE. Maternal obesity during pregnancy and premature mortality from cardiovascular event in adult offspring: follow-up of 1 323 275 person years. BMJ 2013;347:f4539 doi: 10.1136/bmj.f4539.

Hutchinson JL, Rajagopal SP, Yuan M, Norman JE. Lipopolysaccharide promotes contraction of uterine myocytes via activation of Rho/ROCK signaling pathways. FASEB J. 2013 (in press).

Lannagan TR, Wilson MR, Denison FC, Norman JE, Catalano RD, Jabbour HN. Prokineticin 1 (PROK1) induces a pro-inflammatory response in murine fetal membranes but does not induce preterm delivery. Reproduction 2013 146(6):581-91

Stock SJ, Ferguson E, Duffy A, Ford I, Chalmers J, Norman JE. Outcomes of Induction of Labour in Women with Previous Caesarean Delivery: A Retrospective Cohort Study Using a Population Database.  PLOS One 2013 8(4):e60404.

Stock SJ, Josephs K, Farquharson S, Love C, Cooper SE, Kissack C, Akolekar R, Norman JE, Denison FC. Maternal and neonatal outcomes of successful Kielland’s rotational forceps delivery. Obstet Gynecol. 2013 May;121(5):1032-9.

King V, Dakin RS, Liu L, Hadoke PW, Walker BR, Seckl JR, Norman JE, Drake AJ. Maternal obesity has little effect on the immediate offspring but impacts on the next generation. Endocrinology. 2013 154(7):2514-24. doi: 10.1210/en.2013-1013.

Stock SJ, Norman JEElective delivery of twins at 37 weeks gestation decreases infant complications. Evid Based Med. 2013 Jun;18(3):e21. doi: 10.1136/eb-2012-100963

Kenyon S, Hagberg H, Norman JE.  Preterm Labour, Antibiotics, and Cerebral Palsy. Scientific Impact Paper no 33. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London, UK. URL -

Chou D, Tunçalp Ö, Hotamisligil S, Norman J, Say L, Volkmer B, Pattinson B, Rooney C, Serour G, de Mouzon J, Gardosi J, Thueroff J, Mark M, D’Hooghe T; Genito-Urinary Reproductive Medicine TAG. Steps through the revision process of reproductive health sections of ICD-11. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2012;74(3):228-32.

Norman JE, Shennan AS. Preterm birth – why can’t we do any better. Invited commentary. Lancet 2012 doi:pii: S0140-6736(12)61956-4.

Denison FC, Semple SI, Stock SJ, Walker J, Marshall I, Norman JE. Novel Use of Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (1HMRS) to Non-Invasively Assess Placental Metabolism. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42926. Epub 2012 Aug 10.

Norman JE, Shennan A, Bennett P, Thornton S, Robson S, Marlow N, Norrie J, Petrou S, Sebire N, Lavender T, Whyte S. Trial protocol OPPTIMUM- Does progesterone prophylaxis for the prevention of preterm labour improve outcome? BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2012 Aug 6;12(1):79.

Mohd-Shukri NA, Bolton JL, Norman JE, Walker BR, Reynolds RM. Evaluation of an FFQ to assess total energy and nutrient intakes in severely obese pregnant women. Public Health Nutr. 2012 10:1-9.

Stock SJ, Bricker L, Norman JE. Immediate versus deferred delivery of the preterm baby with suspected fetal compromise for improving outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012 , Issue 2 . Art. No.: CD008968. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008968.

Stock SJ, Ferguson E, Duffy A, Ford I, Chalmers J, Norman JE. Outcomes of Elective Induction of Labour compared to expectant management: a population based study. BMJ (2012) 344:e2838 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e2838.

Stock SJ, Norman JE. Treatments for precursors of cervical cancer and preterm labour (Editorial). BJOG  (2012) 119: 647 – 649.

Voltolini C, Battersby S, Etherington S, Petraglia F, Norman JE, Jabbour HN. A Novel Anti-Inflammatory Role for the Short Chain Fatty Acids in Human Labour. Endocrinology (2012) 153: 395-403.

Norman JE, Stock SJ. Intracervical Foley catheter for labour induction. Invited commentary. Lancet (2011) 378: 2054-5.

Maldonado-Perez, D, Golightly, E, Denison, FC, Jabbour, HN, Norman JE. A role for lipoxin A4 as anti-inflammatory and proresolution mediator in human parturition. Faseb J (2011 25:569-575).

Norman JE, Reynolds RM (2011) The consequences of obesity and excess weight gain in pregnancy. Proceedings of the nutrition society 70: 450 – 456.

Aslanidi O, Atia J, Benson AP, van den Berg HA, Blanks AM, Choi C, Gilbert SH, Goryanin I, Hayes-Gill BR, Holden AV, Li P, Norman JE, Shmygol A, Simpson NA, Taggart MJ, Tong WC, Zhang H. Towards a computational reconstruction of the electrondynamics of premature and fullterm human labour. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2011 107: 183-92.

Cantwell R, Clutton-Brock T, Cooper G, Dawson A, Drife J, Garrod D, Harper A, Hulbert D, Lucas S, McClure J, Millward-Sadler H, Neilson J, Nelson-Piercy C, Norman J et alSaving Mothers’ Lives: Reviewing maternal deaths to make motherhood safer: 2006-2008. The Eighth Report of the Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in the United Kingdom. BJOG. 2011 Mar;118 Suppl 1:1-203. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2010.02847.x.

Roberts CL, Ford, JB, Algert CS, Antonsen S, Chalmers J, Cnattingius S, Gokhale M,5 Kotelchuck M, Melve KK, Langridge A, Morris C, Morris JM, Nassar N, Norman JE, NChallis JR , Lockwood CJ, Myatt L, Norman JE, Strauss JF, Petraglia F (2009). Inflammation and Pregnancy.  Reprod Sci 16 206 – 215orrie J, Sørensen HT, Walker R, Weir CJ. Population-based trends in pregnancy hypertension and pre-eclampsia: an international comparative study. BMJ Open (2011). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000101.

Gorowiec MR, Catalano RD, Norman JE, Denison FC, Jabbour HN. Prokineticin 1 (PROK1) induces inflammatory response in human myometrium: a potential role in initiating term and preterm parturition. American Journal of Pathology 2011 179(6):2709-19.

Rinaldi SF, Hutchison JL, Rossi A, Norman JE. Antiinflammatory mediators as physiological and pharmacological regulators of parturition. Expert Rev Clin Immunol (2011) 7: 675 – 696.

Denison FC, Roberts K, Barr SM, Norman JE. Obesity, pregnancy, inflammation and vascular function. Reproduction (2010) 140: 373 – 385.

Dowswell T, Kelly AJ, Livio S, Norman JE, Alfirevic Z. Different methods for the induction of labour in outpatient settings. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2010) CD007701.

Catalano RD, Lannagan T, Gorowiec M, Denison FC, Norman JE, Jabbour HN. Prokineticins: Novel mediators of inflammatory and contractile pathways at parturition? Mol Hum Reprod (2010) 311-319.

Eddama O, Petrou S, Regier D, Norrie J, MacLennan G, Mackenzie F, Norman JE. Study of progesterone for the prevention of preterm birth in twins (STOPPIT): Findings from a trial-based cost-effectiveness analysis. International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care (2010), 26: 141–148.

Bhattacharya S, Raja EA, Mirazo ER, Campbell DM, Lee AJ, Norman JE, Bhattacharya S. Inherited Predisposition to Spontaneous Preterm Delivery. Obstetrics and Gynecology (2010) 1125-33.

Yuan M, Jordan F, McInnes I, Harnett MM, Norman JE. Leukocytes are primed in peripheral blood in preparation for activation during term and preterm labour (2009).  Molecular Human Reproduction 15: 713-24.

Norman JE, Mackenzie F, Owen P, Mactier H, Hanretty K, Cooper S, Calder A, Mires G, Danielian P, Sturgiss S, MacLennan G, Tydeman G, Thornton S, Martin B, Thornton JG, Neilson JP, Norrie J. Progesterone for the prevention of preterm birth in twin pregnancy (STOPPIT): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study and meta-analysis. Lancet 373: 2034–40 (2009).

Norman JE, Morris C, Chalmers J.  The effect of changing patterns of obstetric care in Scotland (1980 – 2004) on rates of preterm birth and its neonatal consequences. Perinatal Database Study. PLoS Med (2009) 6: e1000153. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000153.

Challis JR , Lockwood CJ, Myatt L, Norman JE, Strauss JF, Petraglia F (2009). Inflammation and Pregnancy.  Reprod Sci 16 206 – 215.

Staff/group members

  • Marian Aldhous
  • Sara Rinaldi
  • Yvonne Grieg
  • Hayley Moir
  • Graham Harold, Lab Manager
  • Sarah Stock
  • Sonia Whyte
  • Lorraine Adamson
  • Karen Witherspoon (PA)

PhD /MD Students

  • Jess Pennycard
  • Sofia Makieva
  • Caroline Chiswick

Principal collaborators


Obstetric and midwifery including: Prof P Bennett (Imperial), A Shennan (KCl), S Robson (Newcastle), S Thornton (Penninsula), S Quenby (Warwick), Tina Lavender (Manchester), A Weeks (Liverpool), H Lashen (Sheffield), Dr Cath Calderwood (NHS England and Scottish Government), Mary Ross-Davie (NHS Education Scotland), Prof Fionnuala McAuliffe (Dublin), Dr Mike Geary (Dublin), Dr Alison Hunter (Belfast), Dr Alex Heazell (Manchester), Prof Frederick Froen (Norway) and many other collaborators on OPPTIMUMEMPOWaR and AFFIRM.

Neonatal: Prof N Marlow (UCL)

Statistics / trials: Prof J Norrie (Aberdeen), Dr Ed Juszczak (NPEU, Oxford)

Health economics: Prof Stavros Petrou, (Warwick)

Epidemiology: Prof Jim Chalmers and Dr Rachael Wood (NHS information Scotland)

Physiology: Prof Susan Wray, (Liverpool)

PPI: Janet Scott (Sands)


Philippa Saunders, Fiona Denison, Sarah Stock, Edile Murdoch, Nik Morton, Brian Walker, Gordon Murray, Adriano Rossi, Jonathan Seckl, Rebecca Reynolds, Mandy Drake, Shareen Forbes,  Neil Roberts, Scott Semple, Mark Bastin, Niki Gray, Chris Weir, Ben Stenson, Mark Strachan, Sarah Cunningham-Burley.

Current Responsibilities

Director of the Tommy’s Centre for Maternal and Fetal Health
CRH lead for “Theme 3” of the Centre for Reproductive Health: Theme 3 “Developmental programming by steroid hormones and reproductive resilience”
Vice Principal Equality and Diversity

National and international
1. Journal editorships
Molecular Human Reproduction, Associate Editor (2012 onwards)
Faculty Member F1000 (2011 onwards)

2. Grant awarding committees
CSO Health Services Research 2012 onwards
GAPPs Preventing Preterm Birth Initiative, 2012 onwards
Finland National Academy of Sciences 2012 onwards (Chair 2014)

3. Membership of research consortia
Deputy Lead, Reproductive Health and Childbirth Specialty Research Group (Scotland), 2012 onwards
NIHR/ RCOG Preterm Birth Clinical Studies group, 2010 onwards, member since 2008
Global Obstetric Network {GONET) 2010 onwards, Vice Chair since 2013

4. Work for specialist societies
Executive committee, British Maternal and Fetal Medicine Society, 2010 onwards
Member of Council, Society for Gynecologic Investigation, 2011 onwards

5. Trial management committees
Member of Data Monitoring Committee, INFANT study [Intelligent Fetal Monitoring and Assessment] HTA funded 2009 onwards
Chair of Trial Steering Committee, MRC funded I2S2 study, 2008 onwards
Chair of Trial Steering Committee, EME funded Tablet study, 2011 onwards

6. Other
Member of the NETSCC, Health Technology Assessment programme – Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Panel, 2013 onwards
Member, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit Clinical Trials Advisory Group, 2012 onwards
Chair, NICE Guideline Development Group, Preterm labour and birth, 2012 onwards
Member, Stillbirth Subgroup, Child and Maternal Health Division of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates, 2011 onwards
Chair, Technical Advisory Group for Reproductive and Sexual health section of the International Classification of Disease, World Health Organisation), 2010 onwards

Public engagement in science (lecture)

University of Edinburgh Medical detectives series: The mysteries of birth, far from elementary my dear Watson.

Page last updated 1st Jan 2014