Denise G Hemmings


The Hemmings lab focuses on three interrelated aspects of pregnancy. 1) Pregnancy is accompanied by dramatic vascular adaptations to support fetal growth and we investigate mechanisms by which this occurs. We use an animal model to examine systemic and reproductive arteries obtained at different stages of pregnancy and compare these to those from non-pregnant animals. We are interested in two bioactive lipids called sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) and lysophosphatidate (LPA) and a channel that senses blood flow called Piezo1. 2) We are also interested in discovering the role of these factors in the development and function of the human placenta under normal conditions and how this becomes dysfunctional under abnormal conditions such as preeclampsia where inflammatory factors like tumor necrosis factor alpha are increased. 3) A long-standing interest of the Hemmings lab is to investigate the impact of acute or chronic infection with a common Herpesvirus, human cytomegalovirus (CMV), on vascular responses and placental function in pregnancy. We are particularly interested in how infections during pregnancy impact vascular responses to various mediators including S1P, LPA and Piezo1.