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Research Axes

Fetomaternal and Neonatal Pathologies Axis

Axis Head
Axis Head Deputy(ies)

Mission and themes

The axis research themes focus primarily on:

  • embryonic and fetal developmental abnormalities;
  • pregnancy and birth complications; and 
  • their long-term consequences.

Congenital malformations are the leading cause of death in newborns and are a major cause of pediatric morbidity. The intrauterine environment may be disrupted by complications of pregnancy such as preeclampsia, diabetes, or uteroplacental insufficiency, which may lead to premature delivery or intrauterine growth restriction. Prematurity can also cause newborn mortality or, more commonly, long-term complications ranging from cerebral palsy to more subtle neurological impairments associated with cognitive deficiency. Lastly, intrauterine growth restriction predisposes to serious adult pathologies including hypertension, atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes.

The CHU Sainte-Justine is among the most dynamic university hospital centres in Canada in the field of perinatology. Sainte-Justine’s researchers are interested in various aspects of fetomaternal health, such as retinopathy of prematurity, cardiovascular pregnancy paradox, aortic isthmus and the effects of antidepressants on pregnancy. 

Collectively, the goals are to:

  1. identify the environmental and genetic risk factors associated with fetal-maternal complications and congenital and neonatal diseases;
  2. understand the pathophysiological, cellular, and molecular mechanisms underlying these disorders;
  3. develop and validate interventions to change the future of mothers and children;
  4. reflect on the ethical issues surrounding our care decisions sometimes at the limit of human viability.

Over the last few years, multidisciplinary teams have been responsible for many ambitious clinical research projects aimed not only at optimizing the performance of obstetrical departments, but also at creating policies and programs to improve the health of pregnant women and their newborns. 

In this sense, an initiative was established to facilitate multicentre clinical trials. By employing an integrated approach to epidemiological, clinical and biomedical research, the focus is on developing new niche points integrated into its three main research themes, incorporating knowledge transfer and technological enhancements.


Fetal development and prematurity

Mechanisms for congenital anomalies

High-risk pregnancies

Bioethics and family study group

About this page
Updated on 11/15/2021
Created on 8/8/2014
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