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The Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology Program in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics is dedicated to research that will improve reproductive and pregnancy health. Reproductive failures and perinatal complications are prevalent, complex and have limited prevention and treatment options. This research program aims to increase the understanding of underlying mechanisms and multilevel risk factors of common reproductive/perinatal complications in order to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Examples of projects in this research area include:
This study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID/NIH) will measure syncytiotrophoblast microvesicles, potential biomarkers of placental health, and immune markers at 18 weeks gestation to determine if these biological molecules increase the risk of preeclampsia. Additionally, biological data will be combined with vast clinical information to develop algorithms that can predict risk of preeclampsia and severe outcomes of the syndrome. (Researcher: Brandie DePaoli Taylor)
This nested case-control study, in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, is examining preconception and first trimester maternal serum biomarkers of immune function to determine if immune dysregulation is associated with spontaneous abortion. Preconception biomarkers for this common outcome may be useful for building prediction models. (Researcher: Brandie DePaoli Taylor)
IFNe is constitutively expressed in the female reproductive tract and protects against sexually transmitted infections in animal models. Human studies of IFNe are rare and it is not known if IFNe has clinical significance. Dr. Taylor and colleagues in a study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID/NIH) will examine IFNe in a cohort of pregnant women to determine the relationship between IFNe levels, herpes simplex virus and gestational age of delivery. (Researcher: Brandie DePaoli Taylor)
In a study funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), latent class analyses identified gender and race/ethnic risk classes for sexually transmitted infections in young adults. Patterns of socioeconomic factors and behavioral health indicators of STI risk can be utilized to tailor and target sexually transmitted infection prevention programming. This study is in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh and Texas A&M University. (Researcher: Brandie DePaoli Taylor)