Two Young Investigator Awards in Prenatal Diagnosis

21 June 2022

Dr David Barrett presenting our award winning paper
Dr David Barrett presenting our award winning paper
Clinical, scientific and engineering inter-disciplinary research teams
Clinical, scientific and engineering inter-disciplinary research teams

Malcolm Ferguson-Smith Young Investigator Award

Dr David Barrett presented our award winning paper "potential sealing and repair of human fetal membrane defects after trauma with peptide amphiphiles and Cx43 antisense" at the 26th International Conference on Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy in Montreal, Canada which took place between 19 and 23 June 2022.

This is the second time Dr David Barrett has won the Malcolm Ferguson-Smith Award for best original paper published by a young investigator. Our previous work in human fetal membrane defects showed upregulation of connexin 43 after fetoscopic surgery leading to rupture of the fetal membranes. Our new work presents a novel method using bioactive technology and Cx43 antisense technology to seal and potentially repair defects in the fetal membranes after fetal surgery.

Lightening Presentation

Dr Eleni Costa who recently passed her PhD viva spoke about the role of connexin 43 in preterm fetal membranes and there effects on mechanotransduction and inflammatory signalling.

Dr Tina Chowdhury who supervised Dr David Barrett and Dr Eleni Costa during their PhD programme said "Our work is really exciting. If we can find a way to fix defects in the membranes during fetal surgery, then clinicians like Prof Jan Deprest will be able use keyhole surgery to treat abnormalities in the fetus. By increasing access to fetal interventions, we will save babies lives."

Prof Anna David who is a Consultant obstetrician at UCLH, Director of the EGA Institute for Women's Health at UCL and co-supervisor said "Currently, there are no clinical solutions to repair the fetal membranes after they rupture spontaneously or after fetoscopic interventions during fetal surgery. If we are going to treat women who have congenital problems during pregnancy, then we need to find a clinical solution to repair defects during iatrogenic surgery."

Our research is funded by Great Ormond Street Hospital children's charity, the Rosetree Trust and UCLH Prenatal Charity (https://… ).

Contact:Dr Tina Chowdhury
Research Centre:

Updated by: Tina Chowdhury