Dr Jo James is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her research is focussed on the placenta, which acts as a baby’s life-support system throughout pregnancy. In 1 in 10 pregnancies the placenta does not function correctly, seriously restricting the baby’s growth and/or development, but despite our absolute reliance on it we understand little about how the human placenta forms, or why it may fail, and there is no effective treatment for faulty placentas. Dr James’ research uses the stem cells from which the placenta is built to understand 1) how a healthy placenta forms in early pregnancy; 2) how inadequacies in stem cell function contribute to poorly developed placentas in pregnancy disorders; and 3) whether stem cells could be used to treat inadequately developed placentas. Dr James also studies the haemodynamics of materno-fetal circulation by combining in silico and in vitro methods to understand uterine spiral artery remodelling and placental angiogenesis throughout gestation, in order to model how inadequacies in these process affect placental function and exchange capacity. Her work has been funded by both the Health Research Council and the Marsden Fund, and in 2016 she will begin a Health Research Council Sir Charles Hercus Research Fellowship.
Abstracts this author is presenting: