About the Lab
We are a highly collaborative laboratory with basic, clinical, and translational research dedicated to discovering the mechanisms underlying pre-term birth and other perinatal diseases. We use genomic, epigenomic, metabolomic and metagenomic mechanisms underlying perinatal health and disease, and two executing clinical trials to bring these discoveries to the bedside of pregnant women and their infants. This laboratory has five major focuses of research:
- Molecular mechanisms regulating placentation, and implications for pregnancy health and perinatal disorders,
- The effect of in utero exposures on the fetal epigenome,
- Identifying the interplay of environmental exposures and genomic and epigenomic mechanisms involved in perinatal disorders and notably preterm birth,
- Understanding the role of the microbiome in perinatal health (emphasizing preterm birth) with metagenomic interrogations, and
- Infectious diseases and perinatal health.
Research from the Aagaard Lab has yielded groundbreaking advances in medicine and science. One such example has been in the early development of the microbiome. Prior to a series of landmark publications by this lab in 2014, it was generally assumed that babies were born sterile and either exposure or establishment of their microbiomes occurred entirely outside the womb. However, work on the placental, pregnancy, and newborn microbiome has systematically challenged this notion. The Aagaard team publications from 2014 to as recently as last month have led to not only healthy and vigorous scientific debate and further study, but public health and professional consensus statements putting a hold on yet unproven practices such as vaginal seeding after Cesarean births.