MRC Centre for Reproductive Health
MRC Logo JAN 2019

Professor Jane Norman

Research interests, current research projects and the Edinburgh Tommy's Centre.

Professor Jane Norman

Professor of Maternal and Fetal Health

  • MB ChB, MD, FRCOG, F MedSci, FRCP Edin, FRSE
  • Director of the Edinburgh Tommy's Centre.
  • Vice-Principal People and Culture.

Contact details



The Queen's Medical Research Institute
Edinburgh BioQuarter
47 Little France Cresent

Post Code
EH16 4TJ

Stillbirth is a pervasive worldwide problem

Research in a nutshell

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Video: Jane Norman research in a nutshell
Professor Jane Norman describes in her video her role as director in the Edinburgh Tommy's Centre

Research Interests, grants and other professional activity

My research work focusses on the pregnancy “stressors” of obesity, 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.

  • STOPPIT 2: An open randomised trial of the Arabin pessary to prevent preterm birth in twin pregnancy (Funded by the National Institute of Health, Health Technology Assessment Board)

Visit the STOPPIT 2 website

  • 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).

Visit the AFFIRM website

  • Studies to understand the pathophysiology of parturition and to develop therapies for preterm birth prevention (Funded by Tommy's)

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.

Visit the Edinburgh Tommy's Centre website

Visit Tommy's the baby Charity website

Grant income

Current and key recent grants as Principal Investigator

  • Norman, JE et al £4,000,000 Core funding for Edinburgh Tommy’s Centre for Maternal and Fetal Health. Tommy’s the baby charity. 2008 – 2019         
  • Norman JE et al. £1,370,000 An open randomised trial of the Arabin pessary to prevent preterm birth in twin pregnancy - STOPPIT- 2. National Institute of Health, Health Technology Assessment Board 2014 – 2019
  • Norman JE et al. £330,000 AFFIRM Does promoting increased awareness of decreased fetal movements reduce stillbirth, a stepped wedge cluster randomised trial? Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Executive, (HSRC) and Sands. 2014 – 2018
  • Norman JE, et al £1,208,000 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 EME Programme. 2009 – 2014
  • Norman JE et al. £ £3,009,743 Does progesterone prophylaxis to prevent preterm labour improve outcome- a randomised double blind placebo controlled trial? (OPPTIMUM). Medical Research Council 2008-2015

Current and key recent grants as co-investigator

  • Gray N et al (University of Edinburgh) £1,494,491 Poly(A)-binding proteins highlight the importance of regulated mRNA translation and stability in determining a functional materno-fetal interface. MRC Programme Grant. 2012 – 2017 
  • Denison FC et al (University of Edinburgh) £1,712,125. A pragmatic adaptive sequential placebo controlled randomised trial to determine the effectiveness of Glycerin trinitrate for retained placenta (Got-it trial). NIHR HTA programme. 2014 – 2018.
  • Stock S et al (University of Edinburgh) £ 997,820. QUIDS: Quantitative Fetal Fibronectin to help decision making in women with symptoms of preterm labour. NIHR HTA programme. 2016 – 2018
  • Murray S (University of Edinburgh) £262,646. PhD studentship from Wellcome trust 2015-2019
  • Quenby S et al (University of Birmingham) £1,156,000. Tommy's Reproductive Health Biobank. MRC 2017 - 2021
  • Bennett PR et al. (Imperial College) £274,295.40. A systems biology approach to prematurity: microbiome metabolome interactions during pregnancy. Global Alliance for Prevention of Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS)
  • Slater R, et al. (University of Oxford) £722,730.80. A blinded randomised controlled trial investigating the efficacy of morphine analgesia for procedural pain in infants. NIHR, EME. 2015- 2018
  • Coomarasamy A, et al. (University of Birmingham) £1,756,618. Effectiveness of progesterone to prevent miscarriage in women with early pregnancy bleeding: PRISM Trial. NIHR HTA 2014 – 2018.
  • Ismail K, et al. (University of Birmingham) £1,090,069. Suture Type for Incompetent Cervix and effect on Health outcomes. NIHR HTA 2014 – 2018
  • Flenady V et al (University of Queensland) $ (AUD) 1,364,274. My baby’s movements. NHMRC 2014 – 2018
  • Tarnow-Mordi W et al (University of Sydney) $ (AUD) 2,050,000 Should we treat iron deficiency anaemia of pregnancy with lactoferrin? A randomised controlled trial. NHMRC 2014 – 2018.
  • Saunders P et al.  (University of Edinburgh) £1,100,000. Core support for the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health.  Medical Research Council 2011 - 2016

Publications on Google Scholar

Staff/group members

  • Prof Rebecca Reynolds

  • Dr Fiona Denison

  • Dr Sarah Stock

Research and administration staff

  • Sonia Whyte, Trial Manager
  • Lorraine Adamson, Trial Administrator
  • Gayle Beveridge, Trial Administrator
  • Marian Aldhous, Post Doctoral Fellow
  • Ashley Boyle, Post Doctoral Fellow
  • Lenka Hrabalkova, Research Associate
  • Morag Dalton, Research Midwife
  • Elaine Jack, Research Midwife
  • Karen Witherspoon, Personal Assistant to Professor Norman/Administrator for Tommy’s Centre

PhD /MD Students

  • Sarah Murray, Clinical Research Fellow

  • Eleanor Whitaker, Clinical Research Fellow

  • Sara van Boeckel, Clinical Research Fellow

  • Ioannis Pavlidis, PhD student

Other research staff associated with the Tommy’s Centre

  • Kathryn Carruthers, GOT-IT Trial Manager
  • Lisa Wotherspoon, QUIDS Trial Manager
  • Angela Niven, QUIDS Trial Administrator
  • Clare Wallace, Research Midwife
  • Aileen Jordan, Research Midwife
  • Michelle Rae, Research Associate

Current Responsibilities



Vice-Principal People and Culture

  • Oversight of the University strategy and performance in the area of equality and diversity
  • Provide academic leadership and perspective on people strategies and organizational culture


  • 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”

Current and key recent external roles

Governing Board membership

  • Equality Challenge Unit, 2014 onwards; Shadow Board, New Sector Agency, 2017 onwards

Membership/chairmanship of grant awarding committees

  • Efficacy and Mechanisms Evaluation Board, NIHR / MRC, 2008 – 2012; Chair Academy of Finland, Research Council for Health, 2012 – 2014; Chief Scientist’s Office Health Services Research Committee, 2012 onwards; GAPPs Preventing Preterm Birth Initiative (Gates funded), 2012 onwards; National Institute For Health Research, Health Technology Assessment programme, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Panel, 2013 onwards.

Executive positions for specialist societies

  • Council Member, Society for Gynecologic Investigation (now Society for Reproductive Investigation), USA, 2010 – 2014; Executive Committee Member, British Maternal and Fetal Medicine Society, 2010-2017; Council Member, Academy of Medical Sciences, 2015-2018; Regional Champion, Academy of Medical Sciences, 2014-2018; Working Group Lead, Royal Society of Edinburgh response to Scottish Government Clinical Governance Consultation, 2017.

Trial management and ethics committees

  • Chaired Trial Steering Committees for 5 HTA/MRC funded trials: Tablet, Phoenix, Health, Peacock, Infant; Member, Multicentre Research Ethics Committee for Scotland, 2002 – 2006.

Leadership roles in learning and teaching

  • Chair West of Scotland Deanery Specialist Training committee 2005-2007; Member, Speciality Training Committee RCOG 2003-6; Education Board, RCOG 2006 – 2008; Curriculum Committee RCOG 2006 – 2008 during the time of radical overhaul of medical postgraduate education.

Other positions of responsibility

  • Chair of the NICE Preterm Labour and Birth Guideline 2012 – 2015; Chair of the Genitourinary Technical Advisory Group for revision of International Classification of Diseases 10 (World Health Organisation) 2010 -2017; Board Member, Member Maternity Services Review Scotland, 2015 -2017; Member, Finance Committee, Academy of Medical Sciences, 2018 onwards.


  • Small and large pharma, and organisations such as the Confidential Enquiry on Maternal Deaths, the Irish Medical Council and the Police.

Public engagement in science (lecture)

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