Our research focuses on the effects of gestational ethanol exposure on placental and fetal development. We examine how gestational ethanol exposure alters placental morphology, trophoblastic cell functions and insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling pathways. We anticipate that these studies will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying ethanol-induced intrauterine growth restriction and improve therapeutic strategies.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is one of the most common and preventable causes of birth defects. It results in a clinical condition known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is one of the key findings. The pathogenesis of ethanol-induced IUGR is not fully characterized. Using in vivo and in vitro experimental models, we investigate the mechanisms underlying the ethanol-induced intrauterine growth restriction. We examine the effects of ethanol on placental morphology and trophoblastic cell function. We are particularly interested in invasive trophoblastic cells because they are important mediators of implantation and placentation. We demonstrated that aspartyl-asparaginyl beta-hydroxylase (AAH) has a key role in trophoblastic cell motility and that ethanol inhibits the expression levels of AAH. Since AAH is regulated by insulin and IGF signaling pathways, we are investigating the ethanol effects on insulin-IGF signaling pathways. We anticipate that these studies will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying ethanol-induced intrauterine growth restriction and improve therapeutic strategies.
Research funding from the NIH, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
K08: Placental development in fetal alcohol syndrome (2007-2012)
2010 Certificate of Recognition for Exemplary Teaching in Pathology Laboratory
2009 NIH New Investigator Travel Award
2009 Certificate of Recognition for Exemplary Teaching in Pathology Laboratory
2006 Dean's Teaching Excellence Award
2005 Dean's Teaching Excellence Award
College of American Pathologists
Society for Pediatric Pathologists
American Society of Clinical Pathologists
United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology
International Federation of Placental Associations
RI Society of Pathologists
Bio 1950/1960; Brown undergraduate students are guided to conduct independent research. Usually the students complete a summer internship (paid) to learn the basic molecular techniques and start working on their project. They work and complete their project during the academic year. They present their summer project at RIH Annual Research Celebration. They are guided in presentation of abstracts, oral presentations/posters, and manuscripts for publication.
Pathology small group (Biol 3645, Biol 3653, Biol 3662, Biol 3663, Biol 3673)