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Photo of Claudia Gerri
Claudia Gerri Studies the Mysteries of the Placenta
At the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, the developmental biologist is probing the maternal-fetal interface across mammalian species.
Claudia Gerri Studies the Mysteries of the Placenta
Claudia Gerri Studies the Mysteries of the Placenta

At the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, the developmental biologist is probing the maternal-fetal interface across mammalian species.

At the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, the developmental biologist is probing the maternal-fetal interface across mammalian species.

fetus
The Role of Mom’s Microbes During Pregnancy
Carolyn A. Thomson and Kathy D. McCoy | Aug 1, 2021 | 10+ min read
Bacteria in the gut influence the production of antibodies and themselves secrete metabolites. In a pregnant woman, these compounds may influence immune development of her fetus.
An illustration of flowers in the shape of the female reproductive tract
Uterus Transplants Hit the Clinic
Jef Akst | Aug 1, 2021 | 10+ min read
With human research trials resulting in dozens of successful deliveries in the US and abroad, doctors move toward offering the surgery clinically, while working to learn all they can about uterine and transplant biology from the still-rare procedure.
A scanning electron micrograph of a fetal gut, pseudocolored in yellow and blue
Microbes in Human Fetuses Spur Immune Development
Abby Olena, PhD | Jun 3, 2021 | 4 min read
Researchers identify live bacteria in fetal guts, skin, lungs, and placentas that activate memory T cells, indicating that early exposure to microbes could help educate the developing immune system.
Doctors Investigate Several Stillbirths Among Moms with COVID-19
Anthony King | Apr 23, 2021 | 7 min read
After a handful of cases in Ireland, clinicians there are warning that the virus might infect the placenta in very rare instances and cause fetal distress, but a rise in stillbirths has not been seen in epidemiological studies.
pregnant covid-19 coronavirus sars-cov-2 pandemic antibodies vaccine pregnancy newborn fetus cord blood igg
COVID-19 Vaccines for Pregnant Moms May Protect Newborns
Catherine Shaffer | Feb 17, 2021 | 4 min read
A case study finds SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in placental cord blood after maternal vaccination.
Pregnant COVID-19 Patients
The Scientist Staff | Jan 11, 2021 | 1 min read
See a news report on a study of expectant mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infections.
Human Fetuses Can Contract SARS-CoV-2, but It’s Rare
Ashley Yeager | Jan 1, 2021 | 10+ min read
Compared with Zika and cytomegalovirus, the virus that causes COVID-19 appears to have a harder time penetrating the placenta and moving to a woman’s unborn baby.
Infographic: How SARS-CoV-2 Might Travel from Mom to Fetus
Ashley Yeager | Jan 1, 2021 | 1 min read
The virus rarely spreads from mother to child before birth, but it can—and researchers are starting to investigate the path it takes.
New RNA-Based Tool Could Assess Preeclampsia Risk
Amanda Heidt | Sep 1, 2020 | 2 min read
Transcripts circulating in the blood provide real-time information about maternal, fetal, and placental health.
Circulating Fetal Cells Sequenced for Prenatal Testing Study
Emily Makowski | Dec 10, 2019 | 3 min read
Trophoblasts, collected from the mother during a blood draw, can determine fetal genetic abnormalities currently diagnosed through amniocentesis or chorionic villi sampling.
fluoride fluoridated water in utero exposure pregnancy IQ
Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy Linked to Lower IQ in Sons
Ashley P. Taylor | Aug 20, 2019 | 2 min read
The authors of the study that found the association say more research is needed on maternal fluoride and child IQ.
Does Sharing the Womb with a Brother Affect Girls?
Ashley Yeager | Mar 19, 2019 | 2 min read
A study links having a male twin with women’s educational, financial, and childbearing decisions. Researchers suspect prenatal exposure to testosterone may play a role.
Does Prior Dengue Exposure Help or Hurt a Zika Infection?
Diana Kwon | Mar 6, 2019 | 5 min read
Animal and cell culture studies show evidence that dengue antibodies can both neutralize and enhance Zika, but human investigations have only found protective effects.
SSRI Consumption During Pregnancy Linked to Changes in Babies’ Brains
Ashley Yeager | Apr 9, 2018 | 2 min read
MRI data suggest prenatal exposure to the medication increases the volume of brain regions vital to processing emotions.
Maternal Response to Zika Damages Mouse Fetuses
Catherine Offord | Jan 5, 2018 | 2 min read
Signaling pathways triggered by the mother’s immune system may cause complications during fetal development.
The Industry of Bodies Donated for Science Lacks Oversight: Investigations
Katarina Zimmer | Dec 27, 2017 | 2 min read
Reuters sheds light on the largely unregulated trade of human body parts taken from human cadavers donated for science. 
An Immunological Timeline for Pregnancy
Catherine Offord | Sep 1, 2017 | 4 min read
A new study uses blood samples from pregnant women to track changes in the immune system leading up to birth, and predicts gestational age from the mothers’ immune signatures.
Zika Vaccines Protect Mouse Fetuses
Aggie Mika | Jul 13, 2017 | 6 min read
The first-of-its-kind study follows on the heels of ethicists’ urging vaccine developers to conduct clinical trials in pregnant women.
Fetal Immune System Operational by Second Trimester
Abby Olena, PhD | Jun 14, 2017 | 3 min read
Research shows that human immunity develops much earlier than previously thought, but functions differently in adults.
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