Professor James J Walker


Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James. Graduated in Glasgow 1976 and trained and progressed to Senior Lecturer/Reader Glasgow in 1987. Appointed to Professor in Leeds in 1994, UG and PG teaching in obstetrics and gynaecology; Patient safety; Clinical governance; Pre-eclampsia, Caesarean Section; Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Research Studies into the aetiology of pregnancy pathology, specifically the genetics of pre-eclampsia, the role of inflammation in pregnancy pathology and the pathophysiology of placental invasion. Patient safety, clinical governance and guideline development. Investigation, review and report writing. Qualifications;  MBChB, MD, FRCP(Edin), FRCPS (Glasgow), FRCOG.


  • Section Head, Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Research interests

For most of my career, I have been involved in research into pre-eclampsia. I studied the aetiology, prediction and intervention of the disease. I pioneered antenatal day units which are now established in all hospitals in the UK, I developed the use of oral labetalol as an intervention to lower blood pressure and developed the guidelines for its use to reduce the deaths from intracerebral bleeding. I pioneered the "run them dry" management of fluid replacement to reduce the deaths from pulmonary oedema. With these interventions, the UK now has the lowest maternal mortality for pre-eclampsia in the world. In the last ten years only about 1 women a year has died from this condition in the UK. 

I pioneered the research into the genetics of pre-eclampsia building liaisons leading to the largest genetic collection of pre-eclamptic pregnancies in the world. We were the first to demonstrate a fetal genetic link. I was one of the founding PIs of the SCOPE study into the predictors of pre-eclampsia. 


  • MBChB
  • MD

Professional memberships

  • FRCP(Edin)
  • FRCPS(Glasgow)

Student education

When I arrived in Leeds, I completely redeveloped the undergraduate teaching in Obstetrics and disease

I chaired the Assessment Committee for all the course in the medical school and developed the program for yearly assessments

I developed the concept of theme sessions in undergraduate teaching in obstetrics and gynaecology mixing up lectures with interactive sessions and patient involvement. 

I teach in both set sessions and the clinical area.

I provide teaching in global health to the first years. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
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