Stephen McCartney, MD PhD

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Topic: Fetal Microchimerism in Immune Cell Subsets in Preeclampsia
Final Summary:
During pregnancy, there is an exchange of cells between the mother and baby, termed microchimerism. Cells obtained from the baby can be detected even decades later in the mother and are associated with risks of heart and autoimmune diseases, protection from cancer, and overall mortality. Patients with preeclampsia often have higher levels of cells from the baby, however, whether these cells obtained during pregnancy affect the long-term health of the mother is currently unknown. It has been difficult to study these cells because they are very rare, representing only 1 in 10,000 cells in the maternal blood, however, new technology has now made it possible to study these rare cells. In this project, we studied whether there are difference in the type of cells from the baby in the blood of the mother from pregnancies with preeclampsia. We found that there were a higher numbers of certain types of immune cells from the baby found in mothers with preeclampsia. Immune cells help to determine the level of inflammation in the body, so it is possible that these increased immune cells from the baby may influence long-term maternal inflammation. We also developed a new technique to isolate these rare cells from the baby in the maternal blood. This technique will allow us to study whether preeclampsia alters programming of these cells, which may lead to increased long-term disease risks in mothers. By understanding how these cells differ during preeclampsia, we may be able to develop novel treatments targeting these rare cells to reduce the long-term health risks of preeclampsia.

Romina Plitman Mayo, PhD

School of Mechanical Engineering at Tel Aviv University (TAU). 
Topic: Early Assessment of Pregnancy Complications: Placental Characterization based on Ultrasound and Numerical Biomechanical Models
Final publication: Mekler T., Plitman Mayo R., Weissmann J., Marom G. Impact of tissue porosity and asymmetry on the oxygen uptake of the human placenta: A numerical study, Placenta, 2022, 129:15-22, doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2022.09.008  

Lisa Dubrofsky, MDCM, FRCPC

Sunnybrook Research Institute
Topic: HER-HEART: mHealth Education to Reduce Heart Disease Post Pregnancy
Publication: We have shown the feasibility of providing an educational website and virtual consultation to facilitate counselling in people affected by HDPs. Our results shed light on patient-reported priorities related to the content and delivery of postpartum counselling after an HDP.

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