ResearchThe placenta is the organ that provides all nutrient and gas supply towards the growing embryo and as such is essential for development to proceed normally. Not only are defects in placentation linked to some of the most common pregnancy disorders such as preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction, but placental function is also closely associated with embryonic organ development for example of the heart and brain, and as such impacts on lifelong health.
Early on in the development of the placental trophoblast lineage, a proliferative compartment is established that harbours stem cell potential and is essential for normal pregnancy to proceed. We are interested in the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms that establish and maintain this stem cell state. We are also interested in exploring the precise function of genes that have a profound impact on normal placental development.