Our lab focuses on genetics and epigenetics as they relate to human development. We use various genomic techniques to understand developmental processes and answer clinically relevant questions. We are greatly interested to understand the factors that set newborns onto a healthy trajectory at birth.
Establishing a pregnancy, maintaining it, and supporting fetal growth involves a complex interplay between maternal and fetal signals, all mediated by the placenta. Early exposures (to nutrition, stress and disease) are increasingly appreciated to play a role in modifying gene expression in development and affecting fetal growth and neonatal outcomes. Our studies are focused on understanding 1) normal placental variation including changes associated with sex and gestational age; 2) what the placenta can tell us about fetal health; 3) the role of pregnancy associated inflammation and development.
Some more goals of our research include:
- Improved early diagnosis of pregnancy complications
- An understanding of how genetic and epigenetic errors arise in development
- Epigenetic characterization of in the placenta and its relationship to maternal hypertension, intrauterine growth restriction, birth defects, and development of the immune system
- Sex differences in development
- The role of gene polymorphisms and pregnancy outcomes
- Characterizing epigenetic changes in fetal tissues and newborn blood to understand developmental processes