A photo of Louis Muglia.

Co-Director, Perinatal Institute

Director, Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth

Director, Division of Human Genetics

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


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My Biography & Research


Dr. Muglia has pioneered the in vivo analyses of regulation of the endocrine stress response and the molecular pathways leading to birth using novel genetically altered mutant mice. These studies have elucidated the importance of corticotropin-releasing hormone, glucocorticoids, and prostaglandins in neuroendocrine modulation, behavior, and perinatal adaptation. These studies have evolved over the last decade to specifically focus on the mechanisms controlling the timing for birth in humans using genetics and comparative genomics. The composition of the biological clock metering the duration of human gestation remains a central question in reproductive biology. The goal of the Muglia Laboratory is to understand the molecular timing machinery comprising this biological clock to prevent or better treat human preterm labor and delivery.

Among Dr. Muglia’s achievements are more than 180 publications and many awards, including a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Development Award in the biomedical sciences, the Society of Pediatric Research Young Investigator Award, and election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and Association of American Physicians. In 2010, Dr. Muglia was elected to fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is an active member of the Society for Pediatric Research, Society for Neuroscience, and the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society. Dr. Muglia currently serves as chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health. In 2013, Dr. Muglia was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Neonatology, Perinatal Institute, Human Genetics, Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth, Best Doctors 2017-18, Human Genetics, Center for Pediatric Genomics

My Education

BS: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1981.

PhD: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1986.

MD: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1988.

My Publications

Plunkett J, Doniger S, Orabona G, Morgan T, Haataja R, Hallman M, Puttonen H, Menon R, Kuczynski E, Norwitz E, Victoria Snegovskikh V, Palotie A, Peltonen L, Fellman V, DeFranco EA, Chaudhari BP, McGregor TL, McElroy JJ, Oetjens MT, Teramo K, Boreck I, Fay J, Muglia L. An evolutionary genomic approach to identify genes involved in human birth timingPLoS Genetics. 2011; 7: e1001365.

Muglia LJ, Katz M. The enigma of spontaneous preterm birthN Engl J Med. 2010; 362: 529-535.

Kolber BJ, Boyle MP, Wieczorek L, Kelley CL, Kelley CL, Onwuzurike CC, Nettles SA, Vogt SK, Muglia LJ. Transient early-life forebrain corticotropin-releasing hormone elevation causes long-lasting anxiogenic and despair-like changes in mice. J Neurosci. 2010; 30: 2571-2581.

Plunkett J, Feitosa MF, Trusgnich M, Wangler MF, Palomar L, Kistka ZA-F, DeFranco EA, Shen TT, Stormo EAD, Puttonen H, Hallman M, Haataja R, Luukkonen A, Fellman V, Peltonen L, Palotie A, Daw EW, An P, Teramo K, Borecki I, Muglia LJ. Mother’s genome or maternally-inherited genes acting in the fetus influence gestational age in familial preterm birth. Human Heredity. 2009; 68: 209-219.

Kolber BJ, Roberts MS, Howell MP, Wozniak DF, Sands MS, Muglia LJ. Central amygdala glucocorticoid receptor action promotes fear-associated CRH activation and conditioning. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2008; 105: 12004 - 12009.

Roizen J, Asada M, Tong M, Tai H-H, Muglia LJ. Preterm birth without progesterone withdrawal in 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase hypomorphic mice. Mol Endocrinol. 2008; 22: 105-112.

Kistka Z A-F, Palomar P, Lee KA, Boslaugh SE, Wangler MF, Cole FS, DeBaun MR, Muglia LJ. Racial disparity in the frequency of recurrence of preterm birth. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007; 196: 131.e1-131.e6.

Bethin KE, Nagai Y, Sladek R, Asada M, Sadovsky Y, Hudson TJ, Muglia LJ. Microarray analysis of uterine gene expression in mouse and human pregnancy. Mol Endocrinol. 2003; 17: 1454-1469.

Gross G, Imamura T, Luedke C, Vogt SK, Olson LM, Nelson DM, Sadovsky Y, Muglia LJ. Opposing actions of prostaglandins and oxytocin determine the onset of murine labor. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 1998; 95: 11871-11875.

Muglia LJ, Jacobson L, Dikkes P, Majzoub JA. Corticotropin-releasing hormone deficiency reveals major fetal but not adult glucocorticoid needNature. 1995; 373:427-432.