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The Micronutrients and Pregnancy Lab is directed by Alison D. Gernand, PhD, MPH, RD in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. The lab is located in 213 Chandlee Lab in University Park. We focus on maternal prepregnancy and pregnancy micronutrient status and how it impacts aspects of pregnancy, including placental/fetal growth and development and adverse pregnancy outcomes (e.g., preeclampsia, preterm birth, fetal growth restriction). We have a particular focus on plasma volume and its association with micronutrient biomarker concentrations and on placental angiogenesis.

Areas of research:

  • Micronutrient deficiencies (in particular, vitamin D)
  • Pregnancy and prepregnancy maternal nutritional status
  • Placenta (growth, vascular development and angiogenesis, pathology)
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes (fetal growth restriction and SGA, preeclampsia)
  • Plasma volume and biomarker concentrations
  • Public health issues in low- and middle-income countries

Current projects:

  • Micronutrient concentrations and plasma volume across the menstrual cycle
  • Prenatal vitamin D supplementation and placental growth and angiogenesis, within the Maternal Vitamin D for Infant Growth (MDIG trial) in Bangladesh
  • Development of a new rapid assessment tool for the placenta

Experimental approaches:

  • Measuring plasma volume using Indocyanine Green (IC-Green)
  • Measuring micronutrient concentrations in serum/plasma