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...Maternal/Fetal Immunology?
Please contact Dr. Tippi MacKenzie (tippi.mackenzie@ucsfmedctr.org)

We are interested in providing research opportunities for motivated and organized medical students that are interested in maternal/fetal immunology. We study fetal tolerance induction after in utero stem cell transplantation, as well as mechanisms of preterm labor.  We work in a mouse model of fetal stem cell transplantation and also have some translational projects examining cellular trafficking in patients with preterm labor after fetal intervention. We may be a small lab, but we dynamic and gaining momentum!

The job: Our lab studies the fascinating immune interactions between the mother and the fetus in order to develop therapies for inherited stem cell disorders such as sickle cell disease.  Early in gestation, the fetus is immunologically immature and should accept (and learn to tolerate) stem cells from a different individual.  However, this strategy has not worked well in most clinical situations and we are now discovering that it is the mother's immune system which may inhibit the transplant, likely through maternal cells which traffic across the placenta into the fetus.  We have a mouse model for fetal stem cell transplantation which allows us to study which cell types are involved.  This "cellular trafficking" may also be a mechanism for preterm labor, a concept we are studying both in a mouse model and in patients with preterm labor due to infection or fetal surgery.

The rewards: Experience in clinical research and exposure to leaders in neurology and neonatology.

Updated: April 20, 2010
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