Dr Mark Dilworth BSc, Ph.D, FHEA


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I am a lecturer in Maternal and Fetal Health having recently completed my MRC Career Development Award Fellowship. My research is focused upon stillbirth and fetal growth retsriction and attempts to understand the placental mechanisms that underpin these complications of pregnancy. Specifically, my research attempts to:

- understand the role of fetal-placental interactions and their contribution to Fetal Growth Restriction

- determine how placental function is altered in higher-risk populations including women of advanced maternal age

- identify and test candidate therapies for Fetal Growth Restriction.

I am the programme director for MRes Reproduction and Pregnancy (https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/masters/courses/list/10058/mres-reproduction-and-pregnancy/), the consortium lead for the MRes Clinical Science PGT programmes and I currently supervise PhD students with Dr Susan Greenwood, Dr Michelle Desforges, Prof Alexander Heazell and Dr Lynda Harris. 


Mark Dilworth undertook his PhD in the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, focusing on renal physiology and how the transplantation of developing kidneys (metanephroi) may act as a possible intervention in renal failure. This PhD was part funded by a CASE award, which resulted in him spending a substantial period of time with an industrial partner, Intercytex Ltd. This link to industry built upon previous experience at GlaxoSmithKline, Hertfordshire where he spent a year as part of his BSc undergraduate degree. As part of his PhD, Mark also spent time in Aarhus, Denmark under the guidance of Professor Jens Nyengaard where he developed skills in stereological approaches.

Following discussions at a Physiological Society meeting with members of the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, University of Manchester, Mark developed an interest in the physiology of pregnancy and eventually moved there as a post-doctoral fellow under the supervision of Professor Colin Sibley. Here, Mark developed a passion for translational research investigating causes and treatments for Fetal Growth Restriction, a major contributor to stillbirth and childhood and adulthood diseases. This work has resulted in him spending time at the University of Alberta, Canada (in the lab of Prof Sandra Davidge) and in him publishing several papers, including one in PNAS (2010) which stoked an interest into the role of fetal nutrient demand and the failure of the placenta to adapt to these fetal signals as a causative factor in FGR.

In 2013, Mark was awarded a prestigious MRC Career Development Award Fellowship which he began in September 2013. The title of his Fellowship is 'Fetal Growth Restriction: A Failure of Placental Adaptation In Response to Fetal Nutrient Demand?' and will fund Mark and a postdoctoral research associate for a 5 year period. Mark has continued to secure research funding and specialises in improved understanding of the mechanisms underpinning placental dysfunction in Fetal Growth Restriction and Stillbirth. He has a considerable reputation in the use of pre-clinical models to assess candidate therapies for these complications of pregnancy.

In 2018, Mark was appointed as lecturer in Maternal and Fetal Health and became programme director for the MRes in Reproduction and Pregnancy course. He became consortium lead for the MRes Clinical Sciences programmes in 2019.


BSc (Hons) Biology with Industrial Experience. University of Manchester, 2003.

PhD Physiology. University of Manchester, 2007.  

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

European Placenta Group

International Federation of Placental Associations

The Physiological Society

External positions

Member of the International Scientific Committee , International Federation of Placenta Associations (IFPA)

1 Sep 2019 → …

Chair of the Elsevier Trophoblast Research Committee, International Federation of Placenta Associations (IFPA)

1 Jun 2017 → …

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2019 - Fellow of the Higher Education Authority, The Higher Education Academy
  • 2007 - Doctor of Medicine, PhD Physiology , The University of Manchester (2003 - 2007)
  • 2003 - Bachelor of Science, BSc (Honours) Biology with Industrial Experience, The University of Manchester (1999 - 2003)

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