UW Radiology

Placenta Research at the UW


There are many Seattle area investigators involved in placenta research. Yet these individuals are working in silos, with no formal opportunities available for collaboration with their peers. We intend to open these silos and create a dialogue about placental research through a UW Placenta Research Symposium. This symposium will fuel new ideas into placental research, foster collaborations, and help individuals strengthen their grant proposals with the collective expertise available at the UW.

Placenta Symposium Interest. Survey results depicted in a chart that reveals interest and desired frequency for a Placenta Research Symposium. N=44.

In order to assess the interest level and the potential for multi-disciplinary biomedical placenta research at UW, we conducted a Catalyst survey. We surveyed 44 investigators at in the UW system, and found 42 interested in attending a Placenta Research Symposium once, annually, or semi-annually. A majority of respondents expressed interest in an annual or semi-annual meeting.   Those expressing interest represent members of several departments and divisions, including Bioengineering, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Pharmateutics, Radiology, Engineering, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Genome Sciences, and others.

We surveyed potential areas of research interest and found that over 50% of respondents were interested in the developmental origins of health and disease, fetal growth restriction, placental physiology, diagnostics (such as noninvasive imaging), and preeclampsia. There is also interest in placenta development, therapeutics, long-term effects on maternal cardiovascular health, microchimerism, placental imaging techniques, reproductive immunology, and others.

Interest in Placenta Research Symposium Topics. Survey results revealing interdisciplinary interest in placenta-related research topics.

The placenta is the least understood human organ despite its paramount significance in supporting human embryonic development, long-term maternal health, and development origins of health and disease. Our Catalyst survey results demonstrate that there is considerable interdisciplinary interest in placenta research at UW. With proper institutional support, UW investigators have great potential to significantly impact basic and translational placenta research, facilitating increased grant application success and promoting the advancement of placenta-related research.