Professor Mark Johnson is the Clinical Chair of Obstetrics at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and a leading expert in the study of preterm birth.

Mark began his research early in his career. His PhD, supported by The William's Fellowship from the University of London, defined the role of Relaxin in human pregnancy and was awarded in 1995.

Clinically, he initially trained in General Medicine, Endocrinology and Diabetes, specialising in Reproductive Endocrinology and set up the highly successful IVF unit in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. He later trained in Obstetrics and Gynaecology becoming the only dually accredited Consultant in General Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the UK, following which he became the Professor in Clinical Obstetrics in Imperial College in 2010.

Today, Mark leads a team of scientists and clinicians focussed on understanding and preventing preterm birth. The team includes 3 post-doctoral scientists and 17 higher degree students and is based alongside Borne's offices in our labs at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. During his career, Mark has supervised 16 PhD students, 6 of them having been awarded their degrees in the last 12 months.

As a physician and obstetrician, Mark saw the devastating effects of prematurity first hand, and was left feeling deeply frustrated by his inability to do more for his patients. He also recognised the scale of the problem, both in the UK and globally, where over 15 million babies are born prematurely, directly resulting in 1 million deaths annually. As a result of his dual expertise in obstetrics and research, Mark found himself in a unique position to tackle the problem of preterm birth.

Mark, and the dedicated team around him have big ambitions for Borne. You can read more about our aims and our strategy here, and more detail on our current research programmes here.

“As an experienced obstetrician, I can manage most complications that pregnancy can throw at me, with one exception, when a woman presents in preterm labour. When that happens, I know that there is virtually nothing that I can do to delay the inevitable delivery.

And always at the back of my mind I know that delivering early is the most important cause of childhood disability and death, more important than infection, trauma or cancer.

Only by investing in research will we understand what causes preterm labour. Only by investing in research will we stop preterm delivery.”

Professor Mark Johnson, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer.