Obstetrical Research Division
The research division is focused on building the CAP as the site of major translational efforts within the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This involves several research ventures, the most important of which are: the program to investigate placenta accreta-related pathologies; and a program examining the effects of hypoxia (low oxygen) on fetal growth.
CAP is moving forward aggressively with a three-pronged research approach:
Retrospective study of all accreta cases over a ten year period to evaluate whether CAP has improved maternal outcomes, which has proven to be true. In addition, develop a staging system, which will be predictive of surgical complications and maternal morbidity in the future. In order to test how well the staging system works, all future cases will be evaluated and assigned a stage.
Collaboration with physicians at Oxford University in England (the John Radcliffe Hospital) to develop a 3-D imaging technique that will allow us to model the blood vessels within the placenta. This will assist in predicting the site of the greatest risk of hemorrhage prior to surgery. We will also be able to determine how deep the placenta has invaded into the uterus - which, to-date - can only be determined after surgery. It is crucial to determine the severity of the disease because the perinatologist needs to prepare the patient’s course of treatment well ahead of surgery.
Integrated physiological approach (molecular through bedside) to develop knowledge of the cause(s) of abnormal placentation, to investigate the mechanisms of trophoblast “over-invasion,” and eventually to develop therapies for the prevention of abnormal placentation in high-risk women (placenta previa and prior uterine scarring due to cesarean delivery, D & C, myomectomy, etc.).
Hypoxia & Fetal Growth
CAP scientists have two National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded grants: one from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health; and the other from Human Development.
The first, called Evolved Placental Response to Hypoxia funds a study of placental DNA from various populations around the world subjected to hypoxic (lack of oxygen) stress (pregnant women living at high altitude).
The second grant, called A Murine Model for Placental Metabolic Reprogramming, funds the development of a mouse model that will allow placenta-specific up- or down-regulation of genes of interest at specific time points in pregnancy.
Meet our Research Scientists