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Pregnancy and Diabetes

The Pregnancy and Diabetes group's mission is to improve understanding of variation in birth weight and its links with diabetes (both in pregnancy and in later life), using human genetics as a tool to dissect causal mechanisms.

The group uses human genetics data in babies, mothers and fathers, together with information about pregnancy and birth, to better understand (i) how a fetus regulates its own growth (ii) how the mother’s environment (e.g. glucose and blood pressure) affect the fetus, and (iii) whether the genetics of the fetus can influence changes in the mother’s body in pregnancy. By clarifying these underlying mechanisms the group will provide essential information for improved, targeted antenatal healthcare for women and their babies, according to their level of risk.

Pregnancy and Diabetes is a multidisciplinary team of biological scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, data scientists and clinicians who are all interested in using human genetics data to improve understanding of pregnancy, diabetes and birth weight. The main approaches it uses are genome-wide association studies to identify novel genetic markers associated with birth weight and related characteristics, and Mendelian randomization studies, which use natural genetic variation in a similar way to a randomized clinical trial, to test for causal relationships between maternal factors (e.g. blood pressure) and offspring birth weight.

The group enjoys collaborating with many other investigators in international consortia aiming to understand the genetic basis of early growth and diabetes in pregnancy (the Early Growth Genetics (EGG) Consortium and the Genetics of Diabetes in Pregnancy (GenDiP) Consortium.

Professor Rachel Freathy Associate Professor and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow
Dr Robin Beaumont Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Mr Brandon Lim Graduate Research Assistant
Alice Hughes Postdoctoral researcher and honorary clinical research fellow
Maneka Haulder PhD Student
Caitlin Decina PhD Student
Annika Jaitner PhD Student


The Pregnancy and Diabetes research group uses the following facilities:

  • High Performance Computing

More details of all of these can be found here.