The department of biotechnology (DBT) will soon begin research in the least understood human organ ‘placenta’ with renewed focus on detailed biology of placental development and function across pregnancy- studies on disease sub-clusters including profiles without any complications with an aim to develop novel biomarkers.
The broad areas of interest of this research include Study placental reflection of maternal morbidity/adverse pregnancy outcome including preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, and preeclampsia; Imprints of future aberrations in growth and development and disease risk (Developmental Origins of Health & Disease, DOHaD); and Development and evaluation of minimally invasive/ non-invasive markers/diagnostics (structural and functional, including imaging techniques and circulating biomarkers) for predicting pregnancy outcome. In vitro and in vivo model system in these identified priorities.
The DBT’s initiative in this regard is significant as fetal growth and development is regulated in a very complex manner and critically hinges on the growth and development of placenta. This unique organ of fetal origin has been indicated to predict not only the outcome of a pregnancy, but also the long term health of the baby. Difficulties in real time assessment in pregnancy due to largely inaccessible position of the placenta have hampered studies and it is thus called the ‘least understood’ human organ. Existing data/samples can be utilized to identify newer markers/molecular signatures for understanding the biology of normal and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
The DBT has invited Letters of Intent (LOI) on Placental Research from eligible scientists by July 31, 2016. This opportunity is open to those working on placenta and also basic and clinical researchers desirous of developing and honing their skills in placental research.
LOIs will be screened based on clarity of questions asked/ hypothesis, relevance and innovative approaches, ability to implement the approaches, background of the investigator and feasibility of doing rigorous research in his present setting.
For this programme, LOI will only help in identifying investigators (both clinicians and scientists) who study the placenta and also those who have never previously applied their approaches to the placenta but are desirous of delving into this area. A networking meeting of all the selected participants would then be facilitated by DBT to develop multi-approach, multi-disciplinary programme towards an identified goal with both short term and long term objectives clearly defining the scientific approaches.