Division of Child Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology
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Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences
My main research interests are in the pathophysiology of the hypertensive diseases of pregnancy and intrauterine growth restriction. Pre-eclampsia remains a common disorder in pregnancy, affecting… read more
Dr Lesia Kurlak, Research Fellow in Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the City Hospital Campus, has been awarded a Practical Skills Grant from the Society for Endocrinology (www.endocrinology.org) to participate in the 10th Annual Human Placenta Workshop at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. This unique, week-long, workshop is highly specialised in content, covering a wide range of skills in placentology: it provides an exceptional opportunity to work alongside esteemed experts in the field and forge strong international collaborations.
My main research interests are in the pathophysiology of the hypertensive diseases of pregnancy and intrauterine growth restriction. Pre-eclampsia remains a common disorder in pregnancy, affecting 3-5% of all UK pregnancies. Pre-eclampsia is a state of elevated oxidative stress; reduced placental perfusion or ischaemic reperfusion play a critical role in excessive generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are thought to initiate a cascade of events in susceptible individuals leading to maternal oxidative stress and endothelial cell dysfunction.I am studying the potential role of the RAS in very early placentation, together with assessment of its systemic impact. The redox balance markedly influences the capacity to generate angiotensin I, and hence angiotensin II (AngII), from angiotensinogen with AngII exerting much of its vasoconstrictor effect by the generation of ROS. Placentation occurs at very low oxygen tensions, and we have increasing evidence for the potential involvement of the RAS and associated pathways in trophoblast invasion due to changes under both chronic and acute hypoxic conditions.
Previous research investigated whether differences in platelet function between newborn infants and adults are membrane-related. This involved the measurement of platelet aggregation in whole blood ; Investigation of platelet membrane fluidity by measurement of fluorescence anisotropy; Analysis of fatty acid composition of platelet membrane by lipid extraction and Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectroscopy (GCMS).
My interest in antioxidant capacity in pregnancy links to the problem of selenium deficiency. I am actively involved with King's College London , School of Biosciences - University of Nottingham together with the Universities of East Anglia and Blantyre (Malawi), in relation to selenium soil enrichment in Malawi. The emphasis of this research is on improvement of nutrition and wellbeing in pregnant women in whom obstetric complications are worryingly high.