Healthy Baby, Healthy Mother

The Healthy Baby, Healthy Mother group is a multidisciplinary research program focused on improving pregnancy outcomes and offspring health.


The Health Baby, Healthy Mother focal group’s research continues to build on a strong reputation focused on hypothesis-driven, federally-funded research utilizing a variety of animal models to better understand and address issues related to pregnancy outcomes. Current faculty expertise is positioned to provide insight into the etiology of human pregnancy complications and suboptimal pregnancy outcomes in livestock. Because maternal and offspring health is a core component of most One-Health initiatives, research efforts by the Healthy Baby, Healthy Mother focal group has clear One-Health relevance.

Healthy Baby, Healthy Mother research has relevance to understanding and managing miscarriage (embryo mortality), intrauterine growth restriction, the impact of maternal obesity and other maternal metabolic and immunological stressors on fetal development, and postnatal and adult onset of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The program will also enhance interdisciplinary research collaborations by further developing a regional consortium of scientists working on issues related to pregnancy development and outcomes.

Research Areas

Mechanisms of trophoblast cell differentiation

Investigate which genes and gene networks are responsible for the differentiation, proliferation, and migration of trophoblast cells, which give rise to the placenta, forming the maternal-fetal interface required for optimal progression of pregnancy.

Mechanisms of maternal recognition of pregnancy

Examine how the embryo communicates with the mother during early pregnancy, which could provide methods to improve pregnancy rates.

Mechanisms of preimplantation embryo development on the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy

Placental development and function

Utilize in vitro cell culture and in vivo transgenic approaches to examine specific gene function in the placenta, and how aberrant expression of these genes results in functional placental insufficiency. Functional placental insufficiency is a primary determinant of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).

Maternal-fetal interactions and fetal growth and development

Determine the mechanisms by which maternal health status, including maternal infections, and/or placental functional status impacts fetal development. Suboptimal fetal development (IUGR or fetal overgrowth) results in increased infant mortality and morbidity, and adult onset of multiple disease states.

Group Members

Russ Anthony

Group Chair | Specialty: Maternal-Placental-Fetal Physiology

Angela Bosco-Lauth

Specialty: Infectious Disease and Veterinary Medicine‚Äč

Caitlin Cadaret

Specialty: Stress Physiology

Thomas Hansen

Specialty: Establishment and Maintenance of Pregnancy; Fetal Development in Response to Maternal Infection; Translational Reproductive Biotechnologies

Dawit Tesfaye

Specialty: Molecular Regulation of Early Embryo Development‚Äč

Kate Wilsterman

Specialty: Reproductive Physiology

Quint Winger

Specialty: Genetic Regulation of Mammalian Reproduction