Active Research

Faculty members in the Division of Research are actively engaged in a number of basic and translational initiatives that span conditions related to infertility, pregnancy complications, cancer, and inflammatory conditions including endometriosis. 

Alicia Smith, PhD, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics and Vice Chair of Research, focuses on the role of genetic and epigenetic variation in predicting behavioral and psychiatric traits. In particular, her lab is interested in the prenatal environment and early childhood because evidence suggests that adversity during these critical developmental periods increases the risk of developing childhood behavioral problems and adult psychiatric disorders. She evaluates 1) prenatal 2) child and 3) adult cohorts to determine how risk factors such as diet, stress or medication exposure interact with sequence variants or with DNA methylation patterns to promote risk.  

Neil Sidell, PhD, Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, is an expert in the growth regulation of normal and tumor cells by the steroid/retinoid superfamily of nuclear receptors. His funded research aims at elucidating the mechanisms of action and potential use of retinoids, antiestrogens, and other biological response modifiers for reducing the malignant phenotype of breast cancer and other hormone dependent gynecological malignancies. He also directs an NIH funded grant to delineate mechanisms of action of steroids cell growth and immunological factors associated with endometriosis. 

Augustine Rajakumar, PhD, Assistant Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, focuses on preeclampsia. He is interested in understanding human placental development and specifically the roles of angiogenic factors, hypoxia, syncytial knots and exosomes, and how these relate to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. He is pursuing molecular mechanisms of placental syncytialization and maternal-fetal interactions in healthy and complicated pregnancies to promote healthy pregnancy outcomes.