Pregnancy is a critically important time in a woman's life and it is recognized as a window into women's future health. Although the overwhelming majority of patients have a healthy outcome, pregnancy complications have been on the rise globally. New and emerging data strongly suggest significant maternal health consequences after pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia, diabetes and preterm birth. Likewise, offspring born to mothers experiencing these conditions are at significant risk of developing chronic diseases, including neurological, metabolic, and cardiovascular disorders. Surprisingly, the causes of these pregnancy-associated disorders have remained enigmatic as have prediction and treatment. The programmatic and scientific goals of this Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Reproductive Health are to develop research infrastructure for a center that supports a multidisciplinary, translational, and innovative program in women's reproductive health. The response to women's reproductive health requires a broad and balanced research strategy aimed at expanding knowledge and technology in reproductive medicine. The overarching research goals of this COBRE application include the use of well-defined pre-clinical models to understand mechanisms mediating preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and prematurity, identification of functional predictive biomarkers, and application of contemporary computational approaches to enhance our understanding of the networks and pathways underlying these devastating pregnancy complications. The proposed projects are hypothesis-driven and supported by strong published and preliminary data. An outstanding group of scientists will serve as Mentors to the Investigators and the Internal Advisory Committee and External Advisory Committee (to be formed) will provide timely guidance and oversight for the program. This COBRE for Reproductive Health includes four talented investigators as Project Leaders supported by Administrative, Clinical and Translational, and Data Management and Biostatistics Cores. The COBRE will also support two pilot projects per year.
The Specific Aims of this COBRE are: 1. Establish an integrated research community to provide leadership in basic and translational research in reproductive biology and medicine; 2. Support the career trajectories of talented junior investigators in reproductive health to ensure their successful transition to established investigators; 3. Build infrastructure for reproductive research through support for the Clinical and Translational Core and the Data Management and Biostatistics Core. The Research Projects will also leverage existing core facilities supported by the institution; and 4. Maintain recruitment of promising Junior Investigators committed to research on reproductive health and provide mentoring by established investigators.

Public Health Relevance

This Center of Biomedical Research Excellence for Reproductive Health will develop an innovative and translational research program for Women's Reproductive Health in Rhode Island. This COBRE will provide an environment that fosters creative and trans-disciplinary approaches to study the pathobiology of devastating pregnancy complication. The main objective of this COBRE is to facilitate career development of junior investigators as independent researchers who become capable of garnering extramural funding. This COBRE will foster an integrated approach to Women's health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-RCB-9 (CI))
Program Officer
Liu, Yanping
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Women and Infants Hospital-Rhode Island
Independent Hospitals
United States
Zip Code
Cheng, Shi-Bin; Davis, Sarah; Sharma, Surendra (2018) Maternal-fetal cross talk through cell-free fetal DNA, telomere shortening, microchimerism, and inflammation. Am J Reprod Immunol 79:e12851
Sharma, Surendra (2018) Autophagy-Based Diagnosis of Pregnancy Hypertension and Pre-Eclampsia. Am J Pathol 188:2457-2460
Brayboy, Lynae M; Clark, Haley; Knapik, Laura O et al. (2018) Nitrogen mustard exposure perturbs oocyte mitochondrial physiology and alters reproductive outcomes. Reprod Toxicol 82:80-87
Brayboy, Lynae M; Knapik, Laura O; Long, Sokunvichet et al. (2018) Ovarian hormones modulate multidrug resistance transporters in the ovary. Contracept Reprod Med 3:26
Tong, Mancy; Cheng, Shi-Bin; Chen, Qi et al. (2017) Aggregated transthyretin is specifically packaged into placental nano-vesicles in preeclampsia. Sci Rep 7:6694