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Babbette LaMarca, PhD

Professor and Chair
(601) 815-1430

Current research

My laboratory is interested in identifying immune mechanisms that cause hypertension during pregnancy. Specifically, my research focuses on the interactions between lymphocytes and autoantibodies in the pathophysiology of hypertension in response to placental ischemia. Over the years, we have developed models designed to identify how immune cells or their products cause changes in blood pressure during pregnancy.  Moreover, we have developed an autoantibody specific clinically relevant inhibitory peptide to block hypertension and endothelial dysfunction which could have potential clinical use in the future.

We have a strong translational research component with our tight collaborations with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) Division in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.  Dr. LaMarca has served as MFM Thesis Director since 2006.  Through this collaboration, we obtain human tissues to study alterations in genes and/or proteins in response to low oxygen environment or placental ischemia. Furthermore, we examine how novel therapeutics may provide an avenue for treatment in preeclamptic women by modulating specific immunopharmacological pathways that play a role in causing hypertension during pregnancy.