Scott W. Walsh, Ph.D.

Scott W. Walsh, Ph.D.

Professor and Chief, Division of Reproductive Biology Research
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Virginia Commonwealth University
Box 980034
1101 E. Marshall Street
Sanger Hall, Room 11-039
Richmond, VA  23298-0034


Research Interests

Dr. Walsh’s research interests concern immunologic, lipidomic and epigenetic mechanisms as they relate to the pregnancy complications of preeclampsia and preterm labor.

Pregnant woman's belly with the text Pregnancy Preeclampsia, Preterm Labor

Current Projects

  1. To develop a state-of-the-art detection system based on photonics using Raman spectroscopy to identify bioactive lipids in maternal blood and urine for real-time assessment of placental function throughout pregnancy. The initial focus is to identify a “lipid fingerprint” early in pregnancy that will predict women who will go on to develop preeclampsia.

  2. To determine the immunological role of neutrophils and the pregnancy specific expression of protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1) as a cause of vascular dysfunction, placental dysfunction, inflammation and enhanced vascular reactivity in preeclampsia. These studies may provide new strategies for treatment with PAR-1 inhibitors by identifying a key molecular target.

  3. To understand epigenetic and commensal bacterial mechanisms that may explain why African Americans have higher incidences of premature birth and low-birth-weight infants than other ethnic groups.

 Research Methods

  • Cell and tissue culture
  • collection of samples from pregnant patients
  • confocal microscopy
  • immunohistochemistry
  • qRT-PCR,
  • Western blot
  • DNA and RNA sequencing
  • DNA methylation
  • myograph experiments.


NIH, U01 HD087198, “The Utilization of Photonics Technology to Rapidly Detect Bioactive Lipids Associated with Preeclampsia Development”, Multi PI’s (Chalfant, Walsh, Wijesinghe) 09-17-2015 to 08-31-2019

NIH, P60 MD002256; “VCU NIMHD Comprehensive Center of Excellence”; Multi PI’s (Strauss, Jefferson, York, Walsh, Coney); 05/16/12 to 04/30/17.

Selected Publications

  • Estrada-Gutierrez G, Cappello R, Mishra N, Romero R, Strauss III JF, Walsh SW. Increased expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 in systemic vessels of preeclamptic women: A critical mediator of vascular dysfunction. Am J Pathol, 178: 451-460, 2011

  • Mishra N, Nugent WH, Mahavadi S, Walsh SW. Mechanisms of enhanced vascular reactivity in preeclampsia, Hypertension, 58: 867-873, 2011

  • Mousa AA, Strauss III JF, Walsh SW. Reduced methylation of thromboxane synthase gene is correlated with its increased vascular expression in preeclampsia. Hypertension, 59: 1249-1255, 2012

  • Mousa AA, Archer KJ, Cappello R, Estrada-Gutierrez G, Isaacs CR, Strauss III JF, Walsh SW. DNA methylation is altered in maternal blood vessels of preeclamptic women. Reprod Sci, 19: 1332-1342, 2012

  • Nugent WH, Mishra N, Strauss III JF, Walsh SW. Matrix metalloproteinase-1 causes vasoconstriction and enhances vessel reactivity to angiotensin II via protease activated receptor-1. Reprod Sci, 23: 542-548, 2016

List of Published Work in MyBibliography:

Lab Members

  • Sonya L. Washington, M.S., Lab Specialist and Research Coordinator
  • Karen Perez, Research Coordinator
  • Brittany Binion, M.S., Lab Technician
  • Daniel Reep, Masters Student