Research Summary for the Division of Reproductive Biology Research

Researchers in the Division of Reproductive Biology Research and affiliate faculty are actively pursuing research in several areas important to women’s health, including preterm birth, preeclampsia, depression, placental function, ovarian function, sperm motility, and childhood development. Research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Burroughs Wellcome Fund, March of Dimes, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, CCTR Endowment Fund Grant, various pharmaceutical companies and other agencies.

An NIH Center Grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities is supporting a multidisciplinary research team in basic and clinical research that will help identify African American women at risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and evaluate new interventions to improve maternal and neonatal health. The primary focus of the Center is to explore reasons for the high occurrence of preterm birth among African Americans, which is one of the leading causes of infant morbidity and mortality. This is a multiple P.I. grant with studies focused on genetic mechanisms relating to preterm birth, epigenetic and commensal bacterial mechanisms of preterm birth, social, economic, behavior and stress-related measures relating to epigenetic mechanisms of preterm birth, and vaginal microbiome and altered vaginal flora as a cause of racial disparity in preterm birth.

An NIH grant from the Human Placenta Project supports another multidisciplinary research team to develop a state-of-the-art detection system using photonics and mass spectrometry to identify a unique lipid profile in maternal blood or urine early in pregnancy that will predict women who will go on to develop preeclampsia or other complications of pregnancy.