Dr. Alexander Beristain
The Beristain lab is interested in understanding maternal-fetal interactions in pregnancy, and how these processes help shape both healthy and high-risk pregnancies. To this end, we have a large focus on uterine NK cells, in part because these cells make up a surprisingly large fraction of mucosal immune cells in the uterus in early pregnancy, and because these cells are capable of directly interacting with placental cells. Recent and ongoing research aims to understand how the maternal uterine environment modifies uterine NK processes like angiogenesis, tissue remodelling, and cytokine production. In particular, we are interested in how maternal obesity and other health conditions associated with low-grade inflammation affect NK function and how these alterations potentially impact placental development.