Research & Publications
The human immune system is a complex hierarchy of tissues, cells, and genetic programs that respond to diverse endogenous and environmental stimuli. While previously thought to be immature in utero, the fetal immune system is now known to be surprisingly active during the earliest stages of life, exhibiting signs of activation and immune memory as early as the second trimester of pregnancy. However, the basis of this activated fetal immune state remains unclear. In the Konnikova lab, we are interested in pursuing research that addresses numerous questions with wide-ranging implications for pregnant mothers, newborn babies, and far into adulthood, such as:
Does fetal immune activation lead to adverse outcomes like preterm birth?
Are fetal immune cells specifically reactive to bacterial or viral antigens?
What maternal factors influence fetal immune development?
What are the key metrics of immune health in utero and in early life?
Allergy and Immunology; Bacteria; DNA Viruses; Embryonic and Fetal Development; Autoimmunity; Host Microbial Interactions