2019 Andrea Edlow, MD, MSc
Dr. Andrea G. Edlow, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School and Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, is the recipient of the 2019 Foundation for SMFM Bridge Funding Award sponsored by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology Education Foundation. The Edlow Laboratory is focused on the effects of maternal obesity on fetal brain development and offspring behavior, and how these effects are modified by fetal sex with a broad goal of elucidating the mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental morbidity observed in offspring of obese women. Data from both human epidemiologic studies and animal models demonstrate that offspring of obese mothers are at increased risk for cognitive deficits and learning difficulties, but there is a gap in knowledge about the underlying mechanisms. Dr. Edlow’s proposed project, “Fetal Brain-Placental Immune Activation in Maternal Obesity” will test the hypothesis that placental and fetal brain macrophage activation is a key mechanism underlying offspring hippocampal learning deficits in maternal obesity. Ultimately, it is anticipated that this work will provide targets for a lifestyle/behavioral intervention, and possibly for prenatal therapies that could be given orally to obese pregnant women, to reverse or ameliorate deleterious structural and functional changes.
Dr. Edlow is currently completing Phase II of her Reproductive Scientist Development Program K12 award and awaits review of her R01 NIH application “Understanding the Early Development of the Immune System.” This Bridge Funding will provide critical support to her research program as she works to obtain R level funding to continue the lab’s mission.