Christy-Lynn Cooke


Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and preeclampsia are leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality worldwide. Women of advanced maternal age are at particularly high risk of becoming affected by these pregnancy complications. Furthermore, after delivery, women and the neonates who survive, are at increased risk of later-life diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Many research studies confirm that this predisposition may be programmed in the womb. Under poor prenatal conditions, a fetus adapts in order to guarantee immediate survival, at the expense of growth. However, while altering its physiology before birth may be beneficial prenatally, it may set the stage for dangerous cardiovascular and metabolic consequences later in life. These adult-onset conditions account for over 50% of deaths worldwide, with women being especially susceptible to cardiovascular disease. Thus, determining the mechanisms that cause preeclampsia and contribute to fetal programming of cardiovascular disease is an important and socially significant area of health research, and is our primary focus of health research.