Dr Mark Dilworth BSc, Ph.D, FHEA


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Research interests

The placenta is essential for transferring nutrients from mother to fetus. When this transfer is inadequate it can lead to poor growth of the fetus in the womb and a baby of low birth weight (fetal growth restriction, FGR). Such babies are at much greater risk of stillbirth and childhood and adulthood morbidities. Babies that are small for gestational age have been shown to have a higher incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases later in life, demonstrating that poor growth in utero can have lifelong consequences. There are currently no treatments for poorly growing fetuses, other than early delivery. In order to rectify this we need to understand more about the way that transfer across the placenta is controlled and also investigate models of FGR/stillbirth in which we can test therapeutic strategies in the future. I am particularly interested in the role of fetal-placental signalling and how these interactions may fail in FGR, and also the placental mechanisms underpinning the increased risk of FGR and stillbirth in advanced maternal age.

Methodological knowledge

-  In vivo placental transport across the placenta (including clearance of radio-labelled tracers)

- Placental explant studies and radiolabelled estimates of placental transport

- Western blotting

- Immunohistochemistry

- qPCR and RT-PCR


Research and projects

Projects highlights