San Francisco, Calif. – February 8, 2023 – The Preeclampsia Foundation announced today the recipient of its 2023 Peter Joseph Pappas Research Grants at the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine 43rd Annual Pregnancy Meeting. Based on the recommendations of its Scientific Advisory Council, the Preeclampsia Foundation awarded a grant totaling $99,994 USD to Wendy Kuohung, MD of Boston University.
Principal Investigator Wendy Kuohung, MD, and her project Characterization of apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) variant-overexpressing cell lines for high-throughput drug screening, will be carried out at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine. The study is designed to potentially accelerate discovery of therapies for preeclampsia by designing placental cell lines that express variants of the APOL1 gene for drug screening. Previous research has found that these variants in the APOL1 gene increase the risk of developing preeclampsia when present in the fetus and also alter levels of certain proteins in cells when expressed. The study aims to design a special assay using these cell lines to measure changes in protein levels after treatment with different compounds.
Dr. Wendy Kuohung received her medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine, completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston Medical Center, and conducted fellowship training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is currently the Division Director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Boston Medical Center and an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Named for the infant son of preeclampsia survivor Lauren Pappas and her husband Clement, the Peter Joseph Pappas Research Grants program award grants totaling up to $200,000 each year. The ultimate goal of the program is to drive research that will eliminate the delivery of pre-term babies as an intervention for severe preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
“We lost our son Peter due to preeclampsia following a 29-week delivery in 2015,” explained Lauren Pappas. “Since then we have dedicated our lives to helping others avoid the same outcome by establishing the Peter Joseph Pappas Fund.”
“Thanks to generous contributions from family and friends, and our partnership with the Preeclampsia Foundation, we are making strides to reach our ultimate goal of eliminating pre-term births due to preeclampsia by 2050,” added Clement Pappas.
The Peter Joseph Pappas Research Grants program adds to the Preeclampsia Foundation’s portfolio of research programs including the Vision Grant program for young investigators, PRIME for health services research, and EMPOWER, which helps build research capacity in low- and middle-income countries.
Questions about Peter Joseph Pappas Research Grants program? Email PJPGrants@preeclampsia.org.
About the Preeclampsia Foundation
The Preeclampsia Foundation is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2000 to improve the outcomes of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy by educating, supporting, and engaging the community, improving healthcare practices, and finding a cure. We envision a world where preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy no longer threaten the lives of mothers and babies. For more information, visit www.preeclampsia.org.
About the Peter Joseph Pappas Research Grant Program
Clement and Lauren Pappas of Philadelphia, PA, lost their firstborn child, Peter Joseph, after HELLP syndrome necessitated his early delivery. Their son, born at 29 weeks’ gestation, spent a week in the neonatal intensive care unit before dying from a central line infection. The Pappas family, along with friends and family, have established this special fund with the Preeclampsia Foundation to advance research, with the overarching goal of eliminating pre-term births due to preeclampsia by 2050.
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