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Featured Department News

New Perinatal Biorepository Service Offered

The UC San Diego Perinatal Biorepository provides access to resources for clinical and translational studies on human pregnancy. High quality biospecimens and clinical data from rigorously adjudicated healthy and complicated pregnancies are available to investigators at UC San Diego and other institutions. For prospective studies, assistance with study design and preparation of regulatory documents, study subject recruitment and enrollment, and a variety of study procedures are available.

The Biorepository currently contains:

  • Placental tissue samples compatible with molecular and histologic studies for over 2,500 cases
  • Maternal serum, plasma, and urine from over 1,000 cases
  • Cord blood (serum and plasma) from over 300 cases

Analytical services available include:

  • Detailed histological evaluation of placental tissue
  • Nucleic acid extraction from tissue and biofluid samples
  • Next-generation sequencing library preparation (including small RNAseq, long RNAseq, single-cell RNAseq, whole genome DNAseq, and whole genome bisulfite sequencing)
  • Analysis of next-generation sequencing data

The Biorepository is co-directed by Drs. Louise Laurent and Mana Parast. Dr. Laurent is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine subspecialist with expertise in genomics, stem cell biology, and extracellular RNA biomarker discovery. Dr. Parast is a Perinatal Pathologist with expertise in placental and stem cell biology.

Faculty Research

Our faculty continues to succesfully compete for extramural funding to continue their research:

Sanjay Agarwal, M.D. brings in a Research Award from the Krupp Endowment Fund: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Nutritional Intervention for Endometriosis.

Sarah Averbach, M.D. garnered a Pilot award from the Center for Perinatal Discovery to augment her recent Senate grant focused on "Postpartum progestin-only pill use and breastfeeding study: POPS"

Louise Laurent, M.D., Ph.D. garnered a new NCI UH3 award: "Development and application of a scalable workflow for immunomagnetic separation of exRNA carrier subclasses and molecular analysis of their cargo." UH3 CA241687

Kelly Breen Church, Ph.D. celebrates several new awards. An R21 award entitled Transcriptomic and Epigenomic basis for reproductive dysfunction during stress. R21 HD105103, A UCLA/UCSD Diabetes Research Center Pilot Award: Neural mechanisms for stess-induced diabetes development, and UC San Diego Senate Bridge Funds for the Regulation of gonadotropin secretion during undernutrition by a brainstem-hypothalmic neural pathway.


  • Lindsey Burnett, M.D., Ph.D. has just received one of only 2 awards provided for 2022, from the Reproductive Scientist Development Program at NICHD. The award supports a path to independence for outstanding young investigators in gynecology and obstetrics. It provides up to 4 years of individual support and guidance towards establishing an independent research program.
  • Dr. Brooke Sanders, was named House Officer of Year for 2020. Dr Sanders is a PGY-4 in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.
  • Ramez N. Eskander, M.D., Daphne (Yvette) LaCoursiere, M.D., and
    Christine B. Miller, M.D. for being named "Top Docs" in San Diego Magazine's 2019 annual "Physicians of Exceptional Excellence" survey.
  • Kelly Breen-Church, Ph.D. who was elected to the Executive Board of the PanAmerican Neuroendocrine Society and joined the editorial board of Endocrinology.
  • Alexander Kauffman, Ph.D. who has received the Richard E. Weitzman Memorial Award of the Endocrine Society for ourstanding acheivement as a young investigator.
  • Pamela Mellon, Ph.D. has had new award named after her. The Pam Mellon Faculty Mentoring Award will honor a department member each year for outstanding contributions to mentoring a junior faculty.