Preeclampsia Foundation Canada have announced that Priyadarshini Pantham, PhD, and Anum Minhas, MD, MHS, are recipients of their 2021 Vision Grants. These highly competitive monetary awards recognize the best junior investigators with novel research ideas in preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
A scientific review committee reviews all Vision Grant applications with a further review by a patient advisory board, who then make a recommendation on the awardees for the year. Preeclampsia Foundation Canada’s Board of Directors rendered the final decision on these recommendations.
Dr. Pantham’s research is funded by generous support from Cara HELLPs research fund, a newly established research fund at Preeclampsia Foundation Canada that focuses specifically on HELLP syndrome research. Her study, “Integrated Analysis of Placental and Extra Cellular RNA in Preeclampsia with HELLP,” will be conducted at the University of California, San Diego. The purpose of this study is to identify the differences between preeclampsia and preeclampsia with HELLP syndrome by creating molecular profiles of placentas, maternal blood, and urine, paving the way for the identification of gene targets that may be manipulated to treat these syndromes in the future.
Pantham earned her PhD in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 2014 under the direction of Larry Chamley and currently serves as an Assistant Professor at UC San Diego. Her dissertation utilized an integrated –omics approach – transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics – to identify molecular mechanisms of increased placental death in response to antiphospholipid antibodies, a risk factor for. She was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical from 2014 to 2016. Her research was focused on investigating the placental mechanisms of developmental origins of adult diseases, using a baboon model of maternal undernutrition, and primary human placental trophoblast culture techniques.
“As a woman of color myself, I am dedicated to raising awareness of the disproportionate effects of this deadly syndrome on women of color, and committed to improving maternal and fetal outcomes with my research, with the aim of reducing the loss of women and their babies affected by this disorder worldwide,” said Pantham.
Dr. Minhas’ research “Racial Disparities in the Cardiovascular Effects of Preeclampsia” will be conducted at Johns Hopkins University. The purpose of the study is to analyze whether Black women have more abnormal function of coronary vessels and higher inflammation compared to White women after experiencing preeclampsia during their pregnancy, with the hope of identifying better therapeutic targets for Black women in the future.
Minhas Anum received her medical degree from Duke University and completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Michigan. At John Hopkins, she serves on the cardiology department team, working on imaging, including the study of CT reconstruction for transcatheter aortic valve replacement.
“At this time, we do not have enough research to guide us in which treatments may be the most helpful in reducing women’s risk of future heart disease or whether certain medications may work better for Black Americans compared to white,” said Minhas. “Increasing our understanding of why women with preeclampsia have higher heart disease risk can provide us direction on how to manage them to reduce their risk of future heart disease and perhaps also a second preeclamptic pregnancy.”
“Preeclampsia Foundation Canada is very proud to have the opportunity this year to support and invest in research that will impact and make a difference for all expectant women and their babies,” said Violet Mateljan, President of Preeclampsia Foundation Canada Board of Directors.
For more information or to arrange an interview with these Vision Grant recipients or the leadership of Preeclampsia Foundation Canada, please call 1.800.665.9341.
Preeclampsia Foundation Canada
Preeclampsia Foundation Canada was incorporated under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act in May 2015. A charity dedicated to its mission of raising awareness and advancing education and research of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. These activities are made possible by the combined efforts of our dedicated Board of Directors, Medical Advisory Board members, donors, and volunteers. For more information, visit www.preeclampsiacanada.ca.
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.
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