Dr. Marlena Fejzo, HER Research Director and Board of Directors, was invited to speak at January’s Keystone Conference on Maternal-Fetal Crosstalk in Santa Fe, NM. Dr. Fejzo presented “Evidence the placenta and appetite hormone GDF15 causes nausea and vomiting of pregnancy” and met with experts on maternal/fetal health from around the world. There were many fascinating presentations on placental biology, maternal nutrition, including 1st trimester nutrition, and adverse child outcomes such as altered metabolic function in children.
Dr. Fejzo attended a Keystone session on barriers, challenges, and opportunities in Africa. One of the panelists discussed needing mentors for their students. Dr. Fejzo announced that in addition to her genetic studies, she works with the HER Foundation, the global voice of HG. The Foundation has summer research internship opportunities. Some may lead to opportunities to present at the conference HER is hosting in Ventura, CA, in 2 years: ICHG. Dr. Fejzo said Drs. Annettee Nakimuli and Bernard Kanoi, pictured above, showed considerable interest in establishing research partnerships with HER.
In addition, Dr. Rachel Freathy, also pictured above, was one of the conference organizers. She has a fascinating study under review. It suggests a potential overlap between genes involved in placental growth and genes involved in HG.
Meeting other experts
Dr. Fejzo had dinner with experts on prenatal nutrition and maternal/fetal health. Dr. Jo James, University of Auckland, specializes in Materno-Fetal Blood Flow and Fetal Growth Restriction. Dr. Teri Hernandez, Colorado Nutrition, specializes in gestational diabetes. Dr. Jed Friedman runs Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, Oklahoma, and focuses on the impact of maternal nutrition, obesity, and Gestational Diabete Mellitus (GDM) on the metabolic health of infants and children. Dr. Frank Harry Bloomfield, University of Auckland, is an expert in Preterm Birth and Risk of Metabolic Disease and has published work on in utero exposure to HG and adverse metabolic outcomes in childhood.