The future health of the child is greatly influenced by in utero fetal development. Establishing a pregnancy, maintaining it, and supporting fetal growth involves a complex interplay between maternal and fetal signals, largely mediated by the placenta. However, human placental development has been historically understudied, causing many knowledge gaps in basic biology related to its formation and function. Furthermore, there is so much heterogeneity in its form and structure that it is difficult to define ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ pathology.  In our lab, we use various genomic and epigenomic techniques to understand and assess placental health and its impact on fetal growth and newborn health.
Our studies are focused on understanding placental genetic and epigenetic variation including:
  • Confined placental mosaicism (aneuploidy and copy number variation) and its impact on fetal development including the occurrence of congenital heart defects
  • Sex differences in the placenta –defining them and identifying causes 
  • Genetic and epigenetic changes in the placenta associated with pathology, e.g. maternal vascular malperfusion; acute and chronic inflammation.
  • Population demographics (e.g. ethnicity, ancestry, SES, parental age) and epigenetic changes in the placenta.

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