Professor Lucilla Poston
Tommy’s Professor of Maternal
& Fetal Health
Date started at King’s
Challenges and achievements
When and what was responsible for you becoming interested in your academic discipline?
I was fortunate to come from an academic family where science was always discussed, and I benefited from having excellent teachers at School and University who supported my career interests in science.
What are your research interests, and what drew you to this area?
I am committed to helping women have healthier pregnancies; I lead a team which employs rigorous standards in research to improve our understanding and treatment of problems faced all too often by women when they are pregnant. These include pre-eclampsia, premature birth and gestational diabetes. I was drawn to this area as obstetrics is a field which has often been neglected but one which is critically important, not only for the health of women but for the future health of the next generation.
Tell us about a couple of your achievements that have been particularly rewarding.
Our group has made many contributions to improving the health of women; we have contributed to the development of new ways of predicting common diseases in pregnancy where the use of biomarkers and the new technology in this area has led to rapid developments in our identification of women at risk. Personally I am proud to have been responsible for developing a large team which is held in respect both nationally and internationally.
Do you have professional role models? Who are they and what do you find inspiring about them and their accomplishments?
I don’t have any particular role models; but I have drawn inspiration from many people who I admire – at the level of research, teaching and management. I have extraordinary respect for Dame Sally Davies the Chief Medical Officer for showing us all what one woman can achieve through hard work, and with great modesty.
What if any support has most benefited you in your career?
Research required adequate funding and I am most grateful to the research councils and charities who have given me the responsibility of spending their funds. Most particularly I have been enormously helped by the many years of support from Tommy’s Charity. I hold the Tommy’s Chair in Maternal and Fetal Health. Without their support and their confidence in me, I would never have got my group of the ground, nor would it have continued.
What do you feel is the most enjoyable/rewarding aspect of your job at King’s?
All the people I work with. Having a supportive team who are happy and can laugh with you is hugely rewarding
How do you balance the various demands of a career in academia: research, teaching/learning, administration?
With difficulty; as Head of a Division, there is a huge administrative load and my own research is often done out of hours. Delegation is essential, but much of the work of Divisional Head cannot be delegated to others.
How do you balance an academic career with life outside the workplace?
I make it a priority to pursue two extra academic interests; singing and tennis. They are lifelines, but it is a struggle to keep them going
What have you learnt from your experiences that you would like to share with others?
It should be remembered that focussing on success above all other things is not the optimal recipe for longevity and sustained success of a Division. The work force is the most important aspect, and it best to lead by example.