Placenta, Trophoblast, First trimester, Molecular Biology, Preeclampsia
Focus of research
The research of our team focusses on the functional genomics and epigenetics of proper placental development during pregnancy as this is critical for the delivery of a healthy baby. We use human models systems (trophoblast stem cells, cell lines, organoids, placental explants) to investigate these developments normally occurring in the first trimester of human pregnancy.
Additionally, situations leading to a dysfunctional placenta (e.g. reduced trophoblast invasion) causing complications like pre-eclampsia and intra-uterine growth restriction are simulated, providing more insight in the origin of these events.
Secondly, our team performs translational research on placental cells isolated from Pap smears collected from pregnant women to investigate if this can be used as a less invasive alternative to chorionic villous sampling to detect monogenic diseases.