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 preeclampsia. 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 preeclampsia 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 preeclampsia building liaisons leading to the largest genetic collection of preeclamptic 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 preeclampsia. 


  • 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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