VINCENT CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY


From the Lab

Laboratory science is at the heart of research conducted in the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology (VCRB), where teams of scientists work to understand how cells and genes work, what goes wrong in various OB/GYN conditions, and how to amend the complex signaling pathways involved. Below is a sampling of laboratory research conducted by VCRB investigators.

How Ovarian and Uterine Cells Become Malignant

How Ovarian and Uterine Cells Become Malignant

Bo Rueda, PhD, has a broad background in basic, translational and clinical research focused in the field of women’s reproductive health. More specifically, he has significant expertise in the areas of reproductive and cancer biology, with an emphasis on ovarian and uterine function and benign and malignant transformation of the cells in these organs. In addition to his role as a scientist, Dr. Rueda serves as the director of the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology (VCRB), executive director of the Mass General OB/GYN­–based tissue repository, and director of the Vincent Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology VCRB Clinical Fellows Research Program, in which he is responsible for fellows’ research and training in multiple disciplines including Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Gynecologic Oncology. He also advises or assists in the development of hypothesis-driven or hypothesis-generating basic, translational and clinical research that reflects the interests of graduate students, postdoctoral and clinical fellows, and junior and senior faculty within and outside the Vincent Department of OB/GYN. In 2017, he was appointed chair of the newly formed MGH Committee on Fundamental Research, which provides a forum for fundamental primary research investigators to actively engage in developing solutions to improve MGH/ Partners policies, infrastructure and environment to benefit the research community.
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Preventing Preterm Birth

Preventing Preterm Birth

Mark Phillippe, MD, MHCM, an OB/GYN subspecialist in Maternal-Fetal Medicine, is elucidating the mechanisms responsible for the onset of labor (parturition), including those responsible for preterm childbirth. In previous research, he identified associated factors such as the presence of intrauterine inflammation, hemorrhage and infection, including increased maternal morbidity and mortality during severe influenza outbreaks. Since joining the VCRB in 2012 as a senior investigator, he has been addressing the novel hypothesis that cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) functions as a signal to trigger the spontaneous onset of childbirth (parturition). His findings suggest that the release of cffDNA into the maternal plasma may be occurring in response to the progressive shortening of structures at the end of chromosomes (telomeres) in specialized cells of the placenta called trophoblasts, which initially play a role in embryo implantation and continue interacting with the mother’s uterus during pregnancy. He has demonstrated that an increase in cffDNA activates a sequence of pro-inflammatory signaling events, resulting in spontaneous birth. He is seeking to identify the specific triggers of these inflammatory events in the absence of microbial invasion and intrauterine infection, with the goal of developing new therapeutic interventions for various complications of pregnancy, including preterm birth and post-dates gestation.
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