Perinatal Biology
Research Areas

Research Areas

The research focus of the Division of Perinatal Biology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is to understand inflammation and injury in preterm infants as it relates to:

  • Exposure to infections in the mother
  • Postnatal exposure to inflammatory stimuli (e.g., mechanical ventilation, oxygen)

Researchers in the division use animal models to understand the mechanisms of lung disease and fetal systemic inflammation in infants, with the goal of finding better therapeutic modalities for premature infants.

The Division of Perinatal Biology laboratory collaborates with other divisions and laboratories at Cincinnati Children’s and with international colleagues in Australia and the Netherlands. The preterm sheep model is the main model used in our research, with mouse and rat models additionally available for support. Our primary research funding comes from the National Institutes of Health.

Our current research projects include:

  1. Mechanism of fetal systemic inflammation, immune modulation and organ injury resulting from exposure to chorioamnionitis – We are focusing on the role of IL-1 signaling and other cytokines / chemokines. The sheep animal model is used, and the animal component of the experiment is done in collaboration with Drs. Newnham and Pillow in Perth, Australia, and Dr. Kramer in Maastricht, Netherlands. We have two sheep models, one utilizing intra-amniotic LPS injection and one utilizing intra-amniotic injection of live Ureaplasma species.
  2. Mechanism of lung and systemic injury responses after mechanical ventilation – This project is to determine factors contributing to the injury responses of the preterm lung to the initiation of ventilation using continuous positive airway pressure, oxygen and mechanical ventilation. The studies are translational explorations to identify which components of neonatal resuscitation injure the preterm lung and to understand how this occurs. This project also involves the preterm sheep model, and the experiments are performed with collaborators in Perth, Australia.
  3. Role of GM-CSF in the trafficking of inflammatory cells in the perinatal lung – This project uses transgenic mice over-expressing GM-CSF in the lung epithelium and GM-CSF knock-out mice. The primary collaborator is Professor Bruce Trapnell, MD, MS, at Cincinnati Children’s. The development of additional mouse models of perinatal inflammation are planned to study the interaction with postnatal inflammatory stimuli.