Myriam Hemberger

Professor

Department of Medical Genetics

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Contact information


Research

Areas

  • Developmental Biology, Epigenetics, Pregnancy, Reproduction, Stem Cells

Research Summary

Defects of the placenta are often at the root of common pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, and still birth. Despite significant advances in obstetrics and placental biology, disorders of pregnancy still occur frequently, and are particularly prevalent in obese or older mothers. With few treatment options available, these defects result in considerable maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and can have long-lasting impact on disease predisposition well into adulthood. The precise causes of these pregnancy complications remain poorly understood. Thus, research in this area is of utmost relevance for improving population health through precision medicine at ACHRI and UCalgary.

A key focus of Dr Hemberger’s work at ACHRI will be on establishing new cellular models that can better model the earliest stages of pregnancy when key steps in development of the placenta take place. This developmental time has been notoriously difficult to study for ethical and practical reasons. Dr Hemberger’s work will employ placenta-derived stem cell and organoid models – i.e. “organ in a dish approaches” - to overcome these limitations. These approaches are at the forefront of the research field, and offer unprecedented possibilities to study placental development in health and disease.