Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Aneuploid fetal microchimerism: persistence and potential function

Edith Cheng, MD (PI: Hilary Gammill)

This research study involves recruitment of women during and after pregnancies complicated by fetal Trisomy 21 for studies of persistence of aneuploid fetal microchimerism. Recruitment of study subjects will depend on prospective identification of women receiving care for Trisomy 21 pregnancy at the University of Washington, as well as retrospective identification of women having received care for the same indication in the past 1-2 decades.

Funding Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (NIH)
End Date: 12-31-16


Placentomics using a novel method to isolate circulating placental derivatives

Hilary Gamill, MD (PI: Patrick Stayton)

The placenta plays crucial roles in ensuring adequate nourishment, protection, and support of the developing fetus, with importantramifications for long-term health. Once thought to be a perfect barrier between fetus and mother, the placenta is now understood to be involved in and perhaps to facilitate fetal-maternal communication through direct interaction and exchange of cells, extracellular vesicles, DNA and RNA. The quantity and type of placental material transferred to maternal circulation thus provides a window into the function of the placenta itself. The overarching goal of this proposal is to systematically evaluate the transcriptome and the epigenome of trophoblast cells and placental-derived extracellular vesicles in the maternal circulation during pregnancy, harnessing a novel, high-throughput approach for isolation of placental material. We will bring together an interdisciplinary team with expertise in bioengineering, obstetrics and reproductive sciences, genome sciences, and genomic biostatistics to study a meticulously defined cohort of women enrolled in the biorepository of the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS). Additionally, women with preeclampsia, a major manifestation of placental dysfunction, will serve as a comparator population. From these subjects, we will evaluate characteristics of nucleic acids, extracellular vesicles, and trophoblast cells transferred from the fetus to the mother during pregnancy. Specifically, we will isolate circulating trophoblast cells (using ensemble-decision aliquot ranking, eDAR) and syncytiotrophoblast-derived extracellular vesicles (using temperature-responsive enrichment module, TREM) from maternal circulation during pregnancy. Transcriptomic and epigenomic analysis of placental-derived material will establish foundational information about placentomics during pregnancy and inform future studies.

Funding Source: NIH
End Date: 7-31-21


Queenan Fellowships for Global Health: International Agency Mentored Research Fellowship in Geneva

Alisa Kachikis, MD

The purpose of this fellowship is to receive research training and contribute to research activities conducted at and through an international health agency, the World Health Organization, in Geneva, Switzerland. Research will be conducted under the mentorship of a senior scientist working in an international global health agency. A total time period of six months will be spent in Geneva, Switzerland. The projects conductive through this research fellowship will be reported via an interim report and summative evaluation as well as presentations at the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Funding Source: The Pregnancy Foundation
End Date: 12-31-17


Teaching the unteachable: How parents and physicians experience stillbirth, and how we can do better

Emily Fay, MD

The proposed project will develop and evaluate a curriculum to address the lack of training in stillbirth, with particular focus on understanding the patient perspective, improving communication skills among obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) residents, and addressing the effect difficult patient encounters can have on resident wellbeing.

Funding Source: Washington State Obstetrical Association (WSOA)
End Date: 12-31-17