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Dr. Irina Burd Research

Irina Burd

Irina Burd, MD, PhD
Faculty Profile

Integrated Research Center for Fetal Medicine

Summary of Research Program

Our research centers on maternal infection and inflammation's impact on preterm birth and adverse neurological outcomes in offspring. Using mouse models of maternal inflammation, we've observed significant fetal brain injuries, emphasizing the role of the IL-1 beta pathway in maternal inflammation-induced perinatal brain injury. We've also found that even mild intrauterine inflammation, not leading to preterm birth, has long-term adverse neurological effects, confirmed in clinical studies.

Our work includes developing techniques for studying fetal neuronal injuries using dynamic glucose-enhanced MRI and ultrasound in animal models. Additionally, our laboratory is actively involved in viral research, focusing on placental inflammation's impact on viral transmission and fetal neurological outcomes. We found that placental IL-1 beta levels are critical in Zika virus transmission, which guided our exploration of other RNA viruses (influenza, SARS-CoV2, and HIV) and DNA virus studies (Cytomegalovirus).

These studies aim to assess how placental inflammation, particularly through the activation of the P2X7 receptor and IL-1 beta-mediated pathways, contributes to fetal neuroimmune and immune programming aberrations. Our ongoing research continues to delve into these critical areas.

Research Interests

  • Immune cell regulation and function at the maternal/fetal interface
  • Identification of biomarkers and image prognosis of preterm birth and fetal brain injury
  • Mechanisms of how exposure to intrauterine infection and inflammation affects maternal immune system, placental and fetal neurologic programming
  • Targeted therapeutics in pregnancy to reduce adverse perinatal outcomes influenced by infection and inflammation

Meet Our Team

Irina Burd

Irina Burd, MD, PhD
Sylvan Frieman, MD Endowed Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences
Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences

Jun Lei, MD, PhD

Jun Lei, MD, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences 

Yang Liu

Yang Liu, MD, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow,
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences

Saima Khatoon, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow,

Anguo Liu, MD, PhD
Lab Manager