Research Highlight: Improving the Monitoring of Fetal Development

Professor Donna Slonim research group is developing new machine learning methods to help improve the understanding of the functional roles of specific proteins and groups of proteins during human development. One recent example of such work focuses on Down syndrome, a condition caused by having an extra copy of chromosome 21.  By examining gene expression in fetuses with Down syndrome, Professor Slonim's group -- in a collaboration with Drs. Diana Bianchi and Keiko Koide at Tufts Medical Center -- identified cellular processes related to oxidative stress that were active much earlier than previously known in these patients and that may contribute to some of the cardiac and neurological problems that characterize this common developmental disorder.  They also identified chemical compounds that may potentially ameliorate the abnormal molecular pattern associated with the condition.  In ongoing work in Dr. Bianchi's lab, they are further exploring this potentially novel approach to developing therapies for Down syndrome.

Learn more about projects in this area