Obstetrics & Gynecology

Reproductive Sciences Research

The following academic researchers are members of this division: Dr. Sandy Davidge, Dr. Denise Hemmings, Dr. David Olson, Dr. Maria Ospina, Dr. Meghan Riddell, Dr. Susan Ross, Dr. Christy-Lynn Cooke and Dr. Peter Mitchell (Professor Emeritus).

All investigators currently have funding from Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) or other sources for specific and/or collaborative projects. There are extensive collaborations within the Division and with other national or international groups. The following is a brief summary of the research activity currently underway in each laboratory.

The Davidge Lab 

The focus of the Davidge laboratory is understanding the mechanisms of cardiovascular dysfunction in complicated pregnancies for both the mother and her offspring. The laboratory has three complementary programs that includes the investigation for the causes and consequences of preeclampsia, determining the consequence of maternal aging on pregnancy outcomes, and addressing the mechanisms for the cardiovascular pathophysiology from the offspring [a field termed Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)].

The Hemmings Lab 

The Hemmings laboratory focuses on understanding the dual vascular functions of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P), a bioactive lipid, namely permeability, vascular tone and their inter-regulation. The laboratory is interested in S1P-mediated vascular adaptations during pregnancy and the factors that disrupt these responses leading to pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. These factors include infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV), a Herpesvirus, and elevated proinflammatory cytokines. The Hemmings laboratory also investigates the impact of chronic CMV infections on metabolic and vascular dysfunction in aging and in breast cancer.

The Olson Lab

The Olson laboratory studies preterm birth from gene-environment, predictive and mechanistic perspectives. The focus of recent studies is on allostatic load and inflammatory pathways as factors leading to preterm birth. Collaborative efforts with international groups are aimed at bringing diagnostic and therapeutic research products into clinical utilization.

The Ospina Lab

The Ospina laboratory apply epidemiological methods to evaluate life-course models of gestational and perintal exposures/events and the development of chronic diseases in both mother and child. A special emphasis is given to the role of social determinants of health on shaping health trajectories in critical periods of human life.

The Riddell Lab

The Riddell lab is interested in placental morphogenesis and the pathogenesis of common pregnancy complications. We are particularly interested in the formation and function/dysfunction of two different cell types: 1) the trophoblasts, a placental specific cell lineage; 2) endothelial cells; the cells that form the lining of blood vessels. Studies are carried out using biochemistry and cell biology techniques in order to understand molecular mechanisms at a cellular level.


New Publications

Ospina Lab
Davidge Lab
Olson Lab
Hemmings Lab
Riddell Lab


Representative Publications

Characterisation of the Selective Reduced Uteroplacental Perfusion (sRUPP) Model of Preeclampsia. Morton JS, Levasseur J, Ganguly E, Quon A, Kirschenman R, Dyck JRB, Fraser GM, Davidge ST.Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 2;9(1):9565. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45959-6. PMID: 31266978

Maternal Area of Residence, Socioeconomic Status, and Risk of Adverse Maternal and Birth Outcomes in Adolescent Mothers. Amjad S, Chandra S, Osornio-Vargas A, Voaklander D, Ospina MB. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2019 Apr 29. pii: S1701-2163(19)30244-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jogc.2019.02.126. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 31047831

Postpartum Mental Health Disorders in Indigenous Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Black KA, MacDonald I, Chambers T, Ospina MB. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2019 Oct;41(10):1470-1478. doi: 10.1016/j.jogc.2019.02.009. Epub 2019 Apr 10. PMID: 30981617

Maternal and fetal intrauterine tissue crosstalk promotes proinflammatory amplification and uterine transition. Leimert KB, Messer A, Gray T, Fang X, Chemtob S, Olson DM.
Biol Reprod. 2019 Mar 1;100(3):783-797. doi: 10.1093/biolre/ioy232. PMID: 30379983

Impact of Episiotomy During Operative Vaginal Delivery on Obstetrical Anal Sphincter Injuries.
Frenette P, Crawford S, Schulz J, Ospina MB. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2019 Apr 16. pii: S1701-2163(19)30091-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jogc.2019.02.016. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 31003947

Latent Cytomegalovirus Infection in Female Mice Increases Breast Cancer Metastasis. Yang Z, Tang X, Meng G, Benesch MGK, Mackova M, Belon AP, Serrano-Lomelin J, Goping IS, Brindley DN, Hemmings DG. Cancers (Basel). 2019 Mar 29;11(4). pii: E447. doi: 10.3390/cancers11040447. PMID: 30934926

Alterations in vascular function by syncytiotrophoblast extracellular vesicles via lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 in mouse uterine arteries. Spaans F, Quon A, Rowe SR, Morton JS, Kirschenman R, Sawamura T, Tannetta DS, Sargent IL, Davidge ST. Clin Sci (Lond). 2018 Nov 13;132(21):2369-2381. doi: 10.1042/CS20180639. Print 2018 Nov 15. PMID: 30352791

Increased susceptibility to cardiovascular disease in offspring born from dams of advanced maternal age. Cooke CM, Shah A, Kirschenman RD, Quon AL, Morton JS, Care AS, Davidge ST. J Physiol. 2018 Dec;596(23):5807-5821. doi: 10.1113/JP275472. Epub 2018 Jun 21. PMID: 29882308

Maternal treatment with a placental-targeted antioxidant (MitoQ) impacts offspring cardiovascular function in a rat model of prenatal hypoxia.
Aljunaidy MM, Morton JS, Kirschenman R, Phillips T, Case CP, Cooke CM, Davidge ST.
Pharmacol Res. 2018 Aug;134:332-342. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2018.05.006. Epub 2018 May 17. PMID: 29778808

aPKC controls endothelial growth by modulating c-Myc via FoxO1 DNA-binding ability. Riddell M, Nakayama A, Hikita T, Mirzapourshafiyi F, Kawamura T, Pasha A, Li M, Masuzawa M, Looso M, Steinbacher T, Ebnet K, Potente M, Hirose T, Ohno S, Fleming I, Gattenlöhner S, Aung PP, Phung T, Yamasaki O, Yanagi T, Umemura H, Nakayama M. Nat Commun. 2018 Dec 17;9(1):5357. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07739-0. PMID: 30559384
Sexual dimorphism of metabolic and vascular dysfunction in aged mice and those lacking the sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 3. Cao AT, Mackova M, Kerage D, Brindley DN, Hemmings DG. Exp Gerontol. 2017 Dec 1;99:87-97. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2017.09.013. Epub 2017 Sep 22. PMID: 28943478

Novel Noncompetitive IL-1 Receptor-Biased Ligand Prevents Infection- and Inflammation-Induced Preterm Birth. Nadeau-Vallée M, Quiniou C, Palacios J, Hou X, Erfani A, Madaan A, Sanchez M, Leimert K, Boudreault A, Duhamel F, Rivera JC, Zhu T, Noueihed B, Robertson SA, Ni X, Olson DM, Lubell W, Girard S, Chemtob S. J Immunol. 2015 Oct 1;195(7):3402-15. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1500758. Epub 2015 Aug 24. PMID: 26304990

Ancestral exposure to stress epigenetically programs preterm birth risk and adverse maternal and newborn outcomes. Yao Y, Robinson AM, Zucchi FC, Robbins JC, Babenko O, Kovalchuk O, Kovalchuk I, Olson DM, Metz GA. BMC Med. 2014 Aug 7;12:121. doi: 10.1186/s12916-014-0121-6. PMID: 25286408. Feature article with editorial. Highly accessed (>20,000 times) and high Altmetric score (132).  

Review: novel insights into the regulation of vascular tone by sphingosine 1-phosphate. Kerage D, Brindley DN, Hemmings DG Placenta. 2014 Feb;35 Suppl:S86-92. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2013.12.006. Epub 2013 Dec 21. Review. PMID: 24411702

Fibrocyte-like cells from intrauterine growth restriction placentas have a reduced ability to stimulate angiogenesis. Riddell MR, Winkler-Lowen B, Jiang Y, Guilbert LJ, Davidge ST. Am J Pathol. 2013 Sep;183(3):1025-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2013.06.007. Epub 2013 Jul 5. PMID: 23835310

The contribution of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) to villous trophoblast differentiation. Riddell MR, Winkler-Lowen B, Guilbert LJ. Placenta. 2012 Feb;33(2):88-93. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2011.11.008. Epub 2011 Nov 30. PMID: 22133578