Professor Philip Newton Baker


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Professor-Maternal &Fetal Hlth


Professor Baker’s track record is of building high calibre research groups.
After training in Nottingham, Cambridge and Pittsburgh, he was appointed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Nottingham. There, he established a critical mass of researchers; the group was notable for having more abstracts accepted at the Society of Gynecologic Investigation than any other centre.
In 2001, he was appointed Director of the newly established Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at the University of Manchester. The centre acts as a major focus of obstetric research and facilitates training of clinical and scientific researchers. His group became the largest obstetric research group in Europe.

In 2007-8, he led the successful Manchester application for an NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (approximately £30M funding from partner organisations) and became the Centre's inaugural Director. In 2009 he joined the University of Alberta. Alberta is home to the Human Metabolome project – and he has used his group’s expertise in metabolomics to develop screening tests for major pregnancy complications.

In 2012 he was appointed Director of Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development [formerly known as the National Resaerch Centre for Growth and Development (NRCGD). Gravida is a New Zealand Government-funded Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) and brings together leading scientists from organisations across New Zealand to address a single overarching question: what makes a healthy start to life? Insights gained through this work will lead to new therapeutic and public health policy approaches to diseases with a developmental origin, and to improved productivity in farm animals.
Visit the Gravida website

Research | Current

  • Professor Baker is an obstetrician scientist with a particular interest in the pregnancy complications preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. These conditions are studied at a molecular, cellular, blood vessel and whole body level with each project interacting with and strengthening other projects.
  • Major ongoing efforts include the use of murine models to identify novel potential therapies for preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction, and the application of metabolomic technologies for patient benefits, particularly to develop screening tests for major pregnancy complications.
  • Other research interests have included: vascular adaptation to pregnancy, placental cell invasion, placental cell turnover, endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), adverse pregnancy outcome in teenage pregnancies, fetal origins of adult disease (such as schizophrenia) and the effect of maternal stress on pregnancy outcome, and MRI imaging in pregnancy.


  • 2004 Sir William Liley Lecturer (Perinatal Research Society)
  • 2005 President’s Achievement Award of the Society of Gynecologic Investigation (The first time this award had been made outside North America).
  • 2008 Elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK)
  • International strategy: Principal author of the position paper on “Health of Women and Children”, presented to The Science Academies of the G8 countries, and considered at the G8 Summit held in Huntsville, Ontario, in June 2010.
  • 2013 Appointed National Distinguished Professor by Chinese Government

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • de Seymour, J. V., Conlon, C. A., Sulek, K., Villas Bôas SG, McCowan, L. M. E., Kenny, L. C., & Baker, P. N. (2014). Early pregnancy metabolite profiling discovers a potential biomarker for the subsequent development of gestational diabetes mellitus. Acta Diabetologica, 51 (5), 887-890. 10.1007/s00592-014-0626-7
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Silas Villas-Boas, Lesley McCowan
  • Khashan, A. S., Everard, C., McCowan, L. M. E., Dekker, G., Moss-Morris, R., Baker, P. N., ... Kenny, L. C. (2014). Second-trimester maternal distress increases the risk of small for gestational age. Psychological Medicine, 44 (13), 2799-2810. 10.1017/s0033291714000300
  • Kenny, L. C., Black, M. A., Poston, L., Taylor, R., Myers, J. E., Baker, P. N., ... Roberts, C. T. (2014). Early pregnancy prediction of preeclampsia in nulliparous women, combining clinical risk and biomarkers: the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) international cohort study. Hypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979), 64 (3), 644-652. 10.1161/hypertensionaha.114.03578
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lesley McCowan, Rennae Taylor
  • Solomon, A. L., Siddals, K. W., Baker, P. N., Gibson, J. M., Aplin, J. D., & Westwood, M. (2014). Placental alkaline phosphatase de-phosphorylates insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-binding protein-1. Placenta, 35 (7), 520-522. 10.1016/j.placenta.2014.04.014
  • Rueda-Clausen, C. F., Stanley, J. L., Thambiraj, D. F., Poudel, R., Davidge, S. T., & Baker, P. N. (2014). Effect of prenatal hypoxia in transgenic mouse models of preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction. Reproductive Sciences, 21 (4), 492-502. 10.1177/1933719113503401
  • Sharp, A. N., Heazell, A. E. P., Baczyk, D., Dunk, C. E., Lacey, H. A., Jones, C. J. P., ... Crocker, I. P. (2014). Preeclampsia Is Associated with Alterations in the p53-Pathway in Villous Trophoblast. PLoS ONE, 9 (1), e87621-e87621. 10.1371/journal.pone.0087621
  • Myers, J. E., Thomas, G., Tuytten, R., Van Herrewege, Y., Djiokep, R. O., Roberts, C. T., ... Baker, P. N. (2014). Mid-Trimester Maternal ADAM12 Levels Differ According to Fetal Gender in Pregnancies Complicated by Preeclampsia. Reproductive Sciences10.1177/1933719114537713
  • Sulek, K., Han, T. L., Villas-Boas, S. G., Wishart, D. S., Soh, S. E., Kwek, K., ... Baker, P. N. (2014). Hair metabolomics: Identification of fetal compromise provides proof of concept for biomarker discovery. Theranostics, 4 (9), 953-959. 10.7150/thno.9265
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Silas Villas-Boas, Peter Gluckman