About the Program
The Maternal-Fetal Single-Cell Genomics Unit utilizes state-of-the-art microfluidic technology and next generation sequencing to study the transcriptome and epigenome of the placenta, myometrium, cervix and chorioamniotic membranes during labor at single-cell resolution. We integrate and analyze single-cell data, using innovative computational and statistical tools to elucidate the molecular basis of the fetal-maternal dialogue. Our aim is to understand the biology of parturition, as well as identify biomarkers for early prediction of major obstetrical syndromes and therapeutic targets that would allow implementation of precision medicine during pregnancy.
- To apply microfluidic technology to study the transcriptome and epigenome of the placenta, myometrium, cervix and chorioamniotic membranes during labor at single-cell resolution
- To characterize the cell-type composition of different placental compartments and the molecular underpinnings of the maternal-fetal dialogue during pregnancy
- To develop novel computational tools and statistical models to analyze gene expression signatures and the epigenomic profiles of placental tissues obtained from pregnancies with, and without labor and/or obstetrical syndromes
- In collaboration with other Research Divisions (Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Maternal-Fetal Immunobiology, Maternal-Fetal Microbiome) of the PRB, we aim to generate a multi-omics characterization of human pregnancy to develop biomarkers facilitating early detection of the major great obstetrical syndromes
- To study the effects of genetic variants on molecular phenotypes, and use Mendelian randomization and mediation analysis to dissect the causal pathway between altered gene expression and pregnancy-related phenotypes
- Elucidate the interaction of maternal and fetal immune cells at the molecular level
- Identify genes and cell-types involved in the molecular mechanisms leading to a specific obstetrical syndrome (e.g. preterm birth, preeclampsia, fetal death)
- Characterized the genes defining a common molecular pathway of labor in term and preterm parturition at single-cell resolution
- Determined that co-expression of the ACE2 and TMPRSS2 transcripts is negligible in the placenta and chorioamniotic membranes; such finding indicates why SARS-CoV-2 is rarely vertically transmitted
- Does the human placenta express the canonical cell entry mediators for SARS-CoV-2? Pique-Regi R, Romero R, Tarca AL, Luca F, Xu Y, Alazizi A, Leng Y, Hsu CD, Gomez-Lopez N. Elife. 2020; 9:e58716.
- BAGSE: a Bayesian hierarchical model approach for gene set enrichment analysis. Hukku A, Quick C, Luca F, Pique-Regi R, Wen X. Bioinformatics. 2020; 36:1689-1695.
- Amniotic fluid cell-free transcriptome: a glimpse into fetal development and placental cellular dynamics during normal pregnancy. Tarca AL, Romero R, Pique-Regi R, Pacora P, Done B, Kacerovsky M, Bhatti G, Jaiman S, Hassan SS, Hsu CD, Gomez-Lopez N. BMC Med Genomics. 2020; 13:25.
- Single cell transcriptional signatures of the human placenta in term and preterm parturition. Pique-Regi R, Romero R, Tarca AL, Sendler ED, Xu Y, Garcia-Flores V, Leng Y, Luca F, Hassan SS, Gomez-Lopez N. Elife. 2019; 8:e52004.
- Interpreting coronary artery disease risk through gene-environment interactions in gene regulation. Findley AS, Richards AL, Petrini C, Alazizi A, Doman E, Shanku AG, Davis GO, Hauff N, Sorokin Y, Wen X, Pique-Regi R, Luca F. Genetics. 2019; 213:651-663.