Vikki M Abrahams PhD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences
Reproductive Immunology; Immunology of Pregnancy
Dr. Abrahams' lab studies the impact the immune system and immunological processes have on pregnancy outcome.
One area of research that the Abrahams lab is active in is infection and pregnancy. Since intrauterine infections are thought to cause certain pregnancy complications, such as preterm labor, we are interested in how the placenta actively participates in the control of pathogens that may compromise fetal well being. The lab studies the function of Toll-like receptors (TLR) and Nod-like receptors (NLR) in the trophoblast. These are pattern recognition receptors which allow the innate immune system, and cells with innate immunological properties like the trophoblast, to recognize various microorganisms and trigger effector cell functions. We are also interested in infection of the placenta by Chlamydia and how this may impact pregnancy outcome.
Another area of interest to the Abrahams lab is the impact antiphospholipid antibodies have on a woman's chance of reproductive success. Women with antiphospholipid syndrome are at risk for recurrent pregnancy loss, preterm labor and preeclampsia. While antiphospholipid antibodies are known to directly target the placenta and impact trophoblast function, the precise mechanisms involved are poorly understood. We are currently characterizing the mechanisms by which antiphospholipid antibodies impact trophoblast function.