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Research Projects

The research conducted by the VCU CoEHDR addresses adverse pregnancy outcomes in African-Americans.

Project 1:  Jerome  F.  Strauss, M.D., Ph.D., Dean, VCU School of Medicine, Principal Investigator

The focus of this research is on the genetics of preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), the leading identifiable cause of preterm birth.  This research utilizes innovative approaches to discover genes involved in preterm birth and health disparities.  The information helps identify women at risk of preterm birth and will possibly lead to new prevention strategies. 

Project 2: Kimberly Jefferson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, VCU  Microbiology and Immunology, Principal Investigator

The goals of this research project are to identify bacterial virulence determinants that play a role in intrauterine invasion, or the “virulome of infectious preterm birth,” and to determine whether colonization by bacteria equipped with this virulome is associated with the elevated risk for preterm birth in African-American women.

Project 3: Timothy P. York, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Departments of Human and Molecular Genetics and Pharmacy 

This study has the following three specific aims: 1) identify robust environmental and biological predictors of preterm birth, 2) integrate these predictors to identify causal environmental- biological mechanisms of preterm birth, and 3) quantify the extent to which these predictors and mechanisms account for the overrepresentation of preterm birth in African-Americans.