skip to content

Centre for Trophoblast Research



My current research focuses on the immune response to infection at the fetal-maternal interphase, and more specifically, on the role of special immune cells called decidual natural killer (NK) cells in this process. Decidual NK cells are the most abundant immune cells present in the uterus, they play a significant role in placental development, and are therefore beneficial for the fetus. NK cells are also the front line of the immune defence mechanism against external intruders such viral and other intracellular pathogens. Therefore, in case of infections during pregnancy, NK cells are able to act against foreign organisms to eliminate harmful pathogens; however, they may also create collateral damage that could be detrimental for the fetus.

The purpose of my research is to further current knowledge of how decidual lymphocytes function during different infections, and how this influences pregnancy outcomes. Thus, the information obtained from our research will contribute to the knowledge about the function of the immune system at the fetal-maternal interface in general, as well as lead to a better understanding of the therapeutic approach that should be applied to prevent major complications of pregnancy, such as congenital infections, fetal growth restriction, miscarriage and severe infections in the mother.


Key publications: 

Shmeleva E.V., Colucci F. / Maternal natural killer cells at the intersection between reproduction and mucosal immunity (review paper; accepted for publication in Mucosal Immunology)

Shmeleva E.V., Smith G.L. and Ferguson B.J. / Enhanced efficacy of vaccination with vaccinia virus in old vs. young mice // Frontiers in Immunology – 2019 – Vol. 10: 1780. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.01780 (PMID: 31417558)

Shmeleva E.*, Hoffman J.*(* - E.S. and J.H. contributed equally to this study), Boag S., Fiser K., Bagnall A., Murali S., Dimmick I., Pircher H., Martin-Ruiz C., Egred M., Keavney B., von Zglinicki T., Das R., Todryk S., Spyridopoulos I. / Myocardial Ischemia and Reperfusion Leads to Transient CD8 Immune Deficiency and Accelerated Immunosenescence in CMV-Seropositive Patients // Circulation Research – 2015. – Vol. 116(1). – P. 87-98. (PMID 25385851)

Research Associate, PDN
Not available for consultancy


Person keywords: 
Evgeniya (Zhenya) Shmeleva