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The Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology Program in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics is dedicated to research delineating factors that influence reproductive and pregnancy health. Reproductive failures and perinatal complications are prevalent, complex and have limited prevention and treatment options. This research 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.
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)
Preeclampsia is one of the leading causes of maternal death. It is a heterogeneous syndrome and the etiology remains elusive. This case-control study in collaboration with analytic chemists at NC State and the Pacific Northwest Laboratory aims to identify unique proteomic and lipidomic signatures for preeclamptic women. This may give insight into novel biological pathways involved in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. (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 at Texas A&M University conducted the first pilot study of IFNe in pregnancy finding that levels were lower in pregnant women with herpes simplex virus across the three trimesters of pregnancy. A follow-up study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will examine IFNe in a larger cohort of pregnant women to determine if IFNe levels influences gestational age of delivery. Research within this area could determine if IFNe is a potential biomarker or therapeutic target for genital tract and pregnancy health. (Researcher: Brandie DePaoli Taylor)
In a study funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, 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)