The placenta is not an inert transport interface. It is an actively metabolizing organ interacting with and modulating the fetal as well as maternal metabolomes. We are interested in the flow of metabolites between each of these compartments and how that affects fetal-placental development and pregnancy outcomes.
Mitochondrial metabolism is critical for normal placental development and function. We are interested in how mitochondrial metabolism is intertwined with invasive trophoblast differentiation as well as HIF activation in the placenta.
We hope to eventually translate our understanding of placental metabolism to optimize placental fitness during pregnancy. The ultimate goal is to help develop a "workout" for the placenta that will minimize the risk of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and preterm labor.