Jennifer Gubbels, Ph.D.
- Assistant Professor, Physiology
- Augustana University
- Ph.D., Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
- B.S., Biological Research, Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa
Parturition (labor) is a sterile inflammatory event whereby maternal leukocytes invade the uterus and cervix. This is the process by which labor, both term and preterm, is instigated. Our lab is interested in two things: 1. What factors must be present in maternal blood for leukocytes to migrate to the lower uterus? 2. What changes occur on the surface of the leukocyte to enable it to respond to these factors? To that end, we collect blood from women in different stages of pregnancy, isolate leukocytes, and use a variety of different techniques in order to answer these questions. We draw blood, use confocal microscopy, RNA extraction and analysis, western blot, cell isolation protocols, cytokine analysis and flow cytometry. The goal of this lab is to understand how labor is instigated, and therefore contribute to knowledge that would help detect preterm birth in a blood test before it begins. By detecting preterm birth before it begins, patients at risk can be transported to health care facilities sooner in order to stop labor before it begins.
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