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Centre for Trophoblast Research


Available projects 2023/2024

Metabolic determinants of early placental development



Supervised by: Prof Steve Charnock-Jones and Dr Irving Aye

Obesity During Pregnancy: Adverse Effects on Maternal and Offspring Cardiovascular Function


Supervised by: Prof Dino Giussani and Prof Susan Ozanne

Determine the molecular mechanisms placental macrophages use to protect the placenta from cytomegalovirus infection

Supervised by: Dr Naomi McGovern and Dr Emma Poole

Investigating placental energy metabolism in complex pregnancies using a novel experimental approach

Supervised byProf Andrew Murray and Dr Catherine Aiken

Regulation of placental development by endothelial cell-derived signals

Supervised by: Dr Miguel Constancia and Prof Steve Charnock-Jones

The impact of DNA methylation on gene regulation in placental development

Supervised byDr Courtney Hanna and Prof Anne Ferguson-Smith


Previous Projects Offered


Impact of metformin use in early pregnancy on the placenta  Supervisors: Catherine Aiken and Sue Ozanne

Investigating the role of imprinted genes in pre- and post-natal stages, and the links between maternal diet, placental signalling and lactation  Supervisors: Anne Ferguson-Smith (Geula Hanin) and Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri 

Defining the contribution of parental obesity to feto-placental dynamics and offspring health  Supervisors: Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri and Gavin Kelsey

Investigating the role for epigenetic modifier MLL2 in placental development  Supervisors: Courtney Hanna and Miguel Constancia 

Understanding the molecular mechanisms that control human yolk sac progenitor (hypoblast) cell development  Supervisors: Kathy Niakan and Thorsten Boroviak

Maternal Obesity: Translatable Programmed Cardiovascular Dysfunction in Offspring  Supervisor: Dino A. Giussani

Investigating placental energy metabolism in complex pregnancies using a novel experimental approach  Supervisors: Catherine Aiken & Andrew Murray

How does maternal tissue immunity regulate placentation and offspring health?  Supervisors: Francesco Colucci (Norman Shreeve)

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea During Pregnancy and Early Origins of Heart Disease  Supervisor: Dino A. Giussani

Pre-2022 Projects

Understanding mechanisms underlying the impact of metformin on placental, fetal and maternal health  Supervisors: Prof Susan Ozanne & Dr Catherine Aiken

Investigating the role for epigenetic modifier MLL2 in placental development Supervisors: Dr Courtney Hanna & Dr Miguel Constancia

Maternal Obesity: Translatable Programmed Cardiovascular Dysfunction in Offspring Supervisors: Prof Dino Giussani & Prof Susan Ozanne

Defining the contribution of parental obesity to feto-placental dynamics and offspring health Supervisors: Dr Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri & Dr Gavin Kelsey

Placental hormones and pregnancy health in obese mothers.Supervisor: Dr Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri

Epigenetic regulation of cell fate decisions in mammalian development. Supervisor: Professor Wolf Reik

Metabo-Devo of the placenta: Understanding the metabolic determinants of early placental development. Supervisors: Dr Irving Aye, Professor Stephen Charnock-Jones

Trophoblast cell migration into maternal tissues. Supervisor: Thorsten Boroviak

Multivariate statistical modelling to characterise phenotypes of human placental dysfunction. Supervisor: Professor Gordon Smith

Making sense of complexity: how do tissue lymphocytes work in the uterus? Supervisor: Francesco Colucci

Tissue innate immunity in the womb and reproduction Supervisor: Francesco Colucci. Co-supervisors: Francesca Gaccioli and Irving Aye

How to build a primate: towards a synthetic model for primate embryogenesis Supervisor: Dr Thorsten Boroviak

Developmental origins of heart disease Supervisor: Professor Dino A. Giussani, Department of Physiology Development and Neuroscience

Embryonic and extraembryonic partnership: requisite for successful pregnancy Supervisor: Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz 

An Evolutionary Approach to Understanding Transcriptional Control in the Human Placenta Supervisor: Professor Steve Charnock-Jones.
Co-supervised by Dr Paul Flicek, European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI, Hinxton)

Single cell sequencing of the placenta Supervisor: Professor Steve Charnock-Jones

Understanding the nature and role of placental endocrine function in materno-fetal resource allocation during pregnancy Supervisor: Dr Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri

Genetic and molecular mechanisms of placental angiogenesis  Supervisor: Dr Miguel Constância

Improving placental energy metabolism and obstetric outcome in pathological pregnancies – lessons from high-altitude populations Supervisor: Dr Andrew Murray

Deciphering the role of the imprinted gene Rtl1/Peg11 in the placenta Supervisor: Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith & Dr Mitsuteru Ito

Placento-fetal hypoxia and preeclampsia Supervisor: Professor Dino Giussani

Manipulating epigenetic reprogramming in vivo and its role in extraembryonic tissue function Supervisor: Professor Wolf Reik

Developmental Regulation of the Placental Prolactin-Growth Hormone Gene Families in the Placent Supervisors: Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri


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