Doctor of Philosophy, University of California Berkeley (2010)
Bachelor of Arts, University of Chicago, Biology (2004)
Julie Baker, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
I am interested in understanding the development and evolution of the placenta, a mammalian specific organ crucial for fetal well-being. A key feature of the placenta are polyploid trophoblast cells that invade and remodel the mother’s uterus in order to promote blood flow and nutrient delivery to the fetus. In rodents, these cells are called trophoblast giant cells (TGCs) and have up to 1,000N DNA content due to endoreplication. As recent work has shown that TGC endoreplication is essential for fetal health, my research uses mouse knock-outs and genomics to elucidate the function of endopolyploidy. In addition, I am studying human trophoblast cells, as defects in these cells have drastic consequences for both fetal and maternal health, including preeclampsia and preterm birth, yet very little is understood about the molecular mechanisms behind these diseases.