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RESEARCH BREAKTHROUGHS & NEWS

NIH names Dr. Diana Bianchi director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced today the selection of Diana W. Bianchi, M.D., as director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Dr. Bianchi is expected to join NIH on Oct. 31, 2016.

“Diana’s accomplishments as a prenatal geneticist, along with her leadership, clinical and research experience in both pediatrics and obstetrics, make her ideally suited to lead NICHD,” said Dr. Collins. “We are excited to have her join our team and lead this important area of research.”

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Dr. Alan Guttmacher, Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) visits the Perinatology Research Branch of NICHD, NIH at Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, Michigan.

Wayne State University held a series of events Nov. 15 in recognition of World Prematurity Day and the second 10-year contract awarded to WSU to continue hosting the Perinatology Research Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The day included a visit from NICHD Director Alan Guttmacher, M.D., who in the morning toured the PRB, then delivered a 1 p.m. Distinguished President’s Lecture to a packed crowd before serving as a special guest at a 3 p.m. celebration in  the School of Medicine’s Margherio Family Conference Center.

Dr. Guttmacher oversees the NICHD’s activities in pediatric health and development, maternal health, reproductive health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, rehabilitation medicine and other areas. He spoke to an audience of more than 250 WSU faculty, staff, students and guests from the Detroit Medical Center on the future of biomedical research, including a brief discussion of the Human Placenta Project, a 10-year project his institute will coordinate from 2015 to 2025. He concluded his speech on the state of genomics in patient care with a hypothetical story of a newborn delivered in Detroit whose health care throughout life, including interventions to stave off diseases, is guided by her genomic structure scanned at birth. The story is futuristic, but one that will likely occur in common patient care, perhaps even before 2025, he said.

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Fetal Intelligent Navigation Echocardiography (FINE): A novel method for rapid, simple, and automatic examination of the fetal heart

Investigators (Dr. Lami Yeo and Dr. Roberto Romero) of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Perinatology Research Branch housed at Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center have recently developed and reported a novel method (Fetal Intelligent Navigation Echocardiography, or FINE) to successfully visualize nine standard fetal echocardiography views in normal hearts by applying “intelligent navigation” technology to volume datasets obtained by ultrasound. This advance is important because recommended cardiac views have traditionally been difficult to obtain using ultrasound, due to the complex anatomy of the fetal heart, its motion, and small size. The FINE method can simplify examination of the fetal heart and reduce operator dependency.

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Cross-hemispheric functional connectivity in the human fetal brain

Wayne State University and the Perinatology Research Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health have shown for the first time that brain connectivity in human fetuses can be measured, which could translate into new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat brain disorders like autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and cognitive impairments in early life. The team, led by neuroscientist Moriah Thomason, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics at the WSU School of Medicine and director of the Perinatal Neural Connectivity Unit of the PRB, applied functional magnetic resonance imaging to study when communication or connectivity between areas of the brain emerge during human fetal life. Extremely challenging to perform, the research discovered that connectivity is already present during fetal life and becomes stronger during fetal development.

Wayne State University Press Release

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Good News for Mothers-To-Be
Coming from Detroit

"Hugely Significant" Breakthrough will Prevent Premature Birth in Millions of Women Each Year

For years, Detroit has been known to have a high rate of premature birth and infant mortality. To address these important problems, Dr. Roberto Romero and Dr. Sonia Hassan, along with a team of brilliant researchers, conducted a groundbreaking study as part of the Perinatology Research Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health on the campus of the Detroit Medical Center at DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital and Wayne State University.

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International Study Shows the Effectiveness and Safety of Vaginal Progesterone in Preventing Premature Birth

A team of investigators of the National Institutes of Health housed at the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) and Wayne State University (WSU) published today that performing a cervical ultrasound in all pregnant women and treating those with a short cervix with vaginal progesterone reduces the rate of preterm birth and neonatal complications. The study is based on the analysis of all randomized clinical trials of vaginal progesterone conducted worldwide.

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