Research

Our proud history in academic research dates back nearly fifty years. Today, we support academic research as co-funder of the Margaret Pyke Professor of Sexual & Reproductive Health at University College London.

The Margaret Pyke Professor of Sexual & Reproductive Health, Judith Stephenson

The Margaret Pyke Professor of Sexual & Reproductive Health is the only clinical academic chair for contraceptive research in England. In addition to her role as the Margaret Pyke Professor, Judith also holds honorary NHS consultant appointments in women’s health and public health at University College London Hospitals and Central North West London NHS Foundation Trusts.

With over twenty years’ experience leading sexual and reproductive health research, Judith’s work has led to policy and practice change, including EU guidance on chlamydia screening, the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists’ strategy for women’s health care, the Royal College of Physicians’ report on alcohol and sexual ill-health and the CONSORT guidelines for non-drug randomised trials. Judith’s recent awards include a National Institute for Health Research Senior Investigator Award in 2014 and the UCL prize for Leadership in Public Engagement in 2012. Judith’s current research focus is on improving use of contraception, how women plan and prepare for pregnancy and how early intervention can improve women’s and children’s health across the life course.

Key publications

  • Hall, J. A., Mann, S., Lewis, G., Stephenson, J., & Morroni, C. (2016). Conceptual framework for integrating ‘Pregnancy Planning and Prevention’ (P3). The Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care / Faculty of Family Planning & Reproductive Health Care, Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, 42 (1), 75-76. doi:10.1136/jfprhc-2015-101310
  • Wellings, K., Glasier, A., Brima, N., Copas, A. J., Mercer, C. H., Stephenson, J., Sadler K, McManus S, McDaid, L. (2015). Stopping and switching contraception methods: findings from Contessa, a prospective longitudinal study of women of reproductive age in England. Contraception, 91 (1), 57-66. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2014.09.008
  • Low N, Unemo M, Skov Jensen J, Breuer J, Stephenson JM. Molecular diagnostics for gonorrhoea: implications for antimicrobial resistance and the threat of untreatable gonorrhoea. PLoS Med 11 (2):e1001598 Feb 2014
  • Svenstrup HF, Dave SS, Carder C, Grant P, Morris-Jones S, Kidd M, Stephenson JM. A cross-sectional study of Mycoplasma genitalium infection and correlates in women undergoing population-based screening or clinic-based testing for Chlamydia infection in London. BMJ Open 4 (2):e003947 (2014)
  • Peake JN, Copp AJ and Shawe J. Knowledge and Periconceptional Use of Folic Acid for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects in Ethnic Communities in the United Kingdom: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Birth Defects Research 2013; 97: 444-51
  • Stephenson JM, Crane SF, Levy C, Maslin M, Prata N. Population, Development and Climate Change: what are the links and the impacts on human health? Lancet 2013; 382: 1665-73
  • Stephenson J, Shawe J, Panicker S, Brima N, Copas A, Sauer U, Wilkinson C, Akintomide H, O’Brien P. Randomized trial of the effect of tailored versus standard use of the combined oral contraceptive pill on continuation rates at one year. Contraception 2013; 88 (4): 523-531
  • Graham CA, Panicker S, Shawe J, Stephenson J. Women’s experiences with tailored use of a combined oral contraceptive: a qualitative study. Human Reproduction 2013; 28 (6), 1620-1625
  • Stephenson J, Kuh D, Shawe J, Lawlor D, Sattar NA, Rich-Edwards J, Hanson M, Inskip HM, Nelson SM (2011). Why should we consider a life course approach to women’s health care? RCOG 2011
  • Mann S, Brima N, Stephenson J. Early alcohol use and sexual activity in young people: a secondary analysis of the RIPPLE and SHARE school survey data. HIV Medicine 2010: 11 (suppl 1):48

Fiona McGregor; PhD student (University of Surrey) and Specialist Sexual Reproductive Health Nurse (Archway Centre, CNWL)

In the last two years, the Margaret Pyke Trust has also contributed towards the course fees of Fiona McGregor, who is undertaking a PhD on the sexual health of vulnerable young homeless people. Fiona’s PhD aims to improve the sexual health and contraceptive use of homeless young people in hostel accommodation in Central London.

Our research roots

Our research output has been prolific since long before Judith Stephenson’s appointment and, in the 1970s, was of particular significance as relatively few organisations funded contraceptive research at the time. Professor John Guillebaud led our research activities from 1978 until 2002 and published clinical research studies covering topics including hormonal methods of contraception (the combined and progestogen-only pill, and an innovative contraceptive vaginal ring), intrauterine methods (including GyneFix and the levonorgestrel releasing IUS), barrier methods (male and female condoms) and male and female sterilization.