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Full NameProfessor Louise Kenny
Department:Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT)
Organisation:University College Cork
Other Research Fields:
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Postgrad Medical Specialties
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Other Medical Specialties:
Maternal Medicine. Fetal Medicine.
I am a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and Director of the INFANT centre, which is focused on improving outcomes for mothers and babies. We are a multidisciplinary group comprising clinicians, scientists, engineers and research support staff. My work centers on investigating the causes and long-term outcomes of, and developing screening tests and treatments for, pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restriction. We utilize an array of scientific approaches utilizing our extensive and renowned clinical biobanks including ex vivo and in vitro models and cutting edge system biology approaches. We also lead a range of clinical trials.
As a fellow in our centre you will join a vibrant multidisciplinary team and will register with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology for your PhD. Further details about our centre, team and research programmes can be found here: www.infantcentre.ie
We have a number of projects for prospective students:
1. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of mortality in women in the United Kingdom. Pre-eclampsia is a disease of placental aetiology and is characterised by endothelial dysfunction, increased vascular permeability, reduced peripheral blood flow, increased arterial stiffness and hypertension. We and others have shown that women with preterm pre-eclampsia (<37 weeks’ gestation) demonstrate evidence of cardiac dysfunction at the time of pre-eclampsia and that these changes are evident one to two years after pregnancy. The underlying mechanism for this long term dysfunction is unclear and is a novel research question. This proposal will combine epidemiological cohort analysis with clinical assessment of prospectively recruited women with pre-eclampsia to investigate long term maternal health following adverse pregnancy outcomes.
2. Recent studies suggested that pre-eclampsia may be associated with an increased risk of offspring child and adult morbidity including autism, ADHD and adult psychosis. However, the existing literature has several limitations including inadequate sample size, poorly measured outcome measures as well as lack of adequate adjustment for potential confounding. We aim to examine the effect of pre-eclampsia on the risk of offspring child and adult mental health using large population-based data from Scandinavian countries, which includes all births in each country from 1973 onwards. This data will allow for detailed analysis of the proposed association using advanced statistical, methods while accounting for key potential confounding factors including medications during pregnancy.
3. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a pathogenic mediator of oxidative stress in pre-eclampsia.
Recent reports demonstrate that mitochondrial alarmins (mROS and mtDNA) act as immunostimulatory ligands for TLR- 9 signalling. We recently showed increased levels of mitochondrial alarmins in pre-eclampsia plasma and reported a significant increase in endothelial TLR-9 activation with a consequent increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine expression. This project aims to delineate the pathogenic role of mitochondrial alarmins in provoking a TLR9- mediated innate immune system response in pre-eclampsia and elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in regulating maternal vascular dysfunction. This proposal will develop an innovative plan to investigate mitochondrial alarmins in pre-eclampsia pathogenesis and therapy.