Facilities | Research Time | Organized Approach to Research Development and Teaching | Selection of Special Mentor | Current Research


The Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences maintains its basic research facilities on the 11th floor of the Bressler Building. This facility consists of approximately 15,000 square feet of wet laboratory space and is linked to the main hospital. The space is utilized by four basic science research groups:

  • Gene Albrecht, PhD, Graham Aberdeen, PhD, et al. investigating Placental Development, Uterine Angiogenesis Steroid Hormone Regulation on Fetal Growth and Development and Fetal Programming
  • Loren Thompson, PhD, et al. investigating Fetal Cardiovascular Adaptations to Intrauterine Stress, Fetal liver Adaptations to Chronic Hypoxia and Fetal Programming.
  • Charlie Chaffin, PhD, et al. investigating, Regulation of Ovarian Steroidogenesis and Mechanisms of Follicular Development.
  • Albert Reece, MD, Zhiyong Zhao, PhD, et al. investigating Diabetic Embryopathies, Neural Tube Defects and Cardiac Defects

The equipment contained therein is state of the art and allows for a full range of studies ranging from sophisticated molecular biology to embryology to whole animal instrumentation.

Members of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Maryland are linked together by a Hospital Intranet with full access to the Internet. The fellows have access to several interactive and archival databases. We have a complete Windows based system wide computerized medical record which can be queried and subsequent data populate directly into our perinatal database. All neonatal data is likewise maintained on an archival database. Interactive databases include a perinatal genetics database, an obstetric outcome database, and the database for the Center for Advanced Fetal Care. These databases are all compatible with commercial relational databases and spreadsheets, which are made available to the Fellows on their individual (supplied by the department) PCs. Data stored on the network servers are automatically backed up on a daily basis.

The Fellows also have access to multiple research databases for current research within the Division; fetal therapy, fetal transfusions and fetal blood samplings, pregnancies complicated by fetal viral infections, severe IUGR and Fetal Doppler, first trimester analytes and third trimester assessment of risk and fetal testing. The fellows also have access to databases initiated by previous fellows' research. These databases are compatible with the Fellows' retrieval and analysis software and can be used by the Fellows to research relevant topics. Finally, the Fellows have on-line access to all medical records after approval by the Committee for Human Investigation should they wish to conduct clinical research.

From their offices, Fellows have access to the internet, the university intranet and The University of Maryland Health Sciences Library. The University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL) is located across the street from the UMMS. The Library is the second largest medical school library on the East Coast and serves as the Regional Medical Library for the Southeastern Atlantic Region in the National Library of Medicine's National Network of Libraries of Medicine. The University Library allows access to 93 on-line databases and over 2800 online journals and textbooks, including, AIDSLINE, BioethicsLine, CancerLit, Cochrane Library, Current Contents Connect (CCC), ETOH (Alcohol and Alcohol Problems Science Database), Journal Citation Reports, MD Consult, MEDLINE, Micromedex, PubMed, PsycINFO, Science Citation Index Expanded, TOXNET (Toxicology Data Network). A state of the art teleconference center is also located within the department.


Research Time

The fellowship program was created on the principle of block time. The first year of our program begins with has a four month didactic introduction that provide a foundation in order to ensure a timely start for the fellow's research. This leads to a four-month research block in the middle of the first year. The second year proceeds with two-month research blocks, as does the third year in which the final research block is devoted to thesis completion and defense. In addition to the 12 core months dedicated to research two additional elective months, in the middle of the third year, may be used for research as well.

During research rotations the only non-research obligation the fellow may have are didactic sessions and attending the High Risk Clinic (one-half day each per week). These clinical activities total 4 hours/week averaged over 4 weeks. During weeks in which a clinic is cancelled due to holidays etc. fellows may be called on to help cover a clinic on a different day. Occasional cross coverage for critical clinical activities may be required of one fellow for another's vacation or attendance at scientific or didactic meetings. This is reciprocated in kind to protect total research time.


Organized Approach to Research Development and Teaching

The research time of the Fellow is a carefully protected. During the research rotation the Fellow goes through the carefully laid out steps of research education which include introduction to the research, coursework, development of research ideas, development of the IRB submission, performance of study procedures, analysis and interpretation of their own chosen research project and completion of the research thesis prior to leaving the Fellowship program.

The initial three of the four months at the beginning of the first year provides the fellow with a didactic foundation and introduction to major areas of ongoing research within the division in ultrasound, and genetics. The final month of four is devoted to an introduction to basic science research under the direction of Loren P Thompson, PhD.

All fellows participate in a series of courses and lectures under the direction of the UM-SOM Human Research Protections Office (HRPO) including a weeklong Introduction to Clinical Investigation at UMB, the University of Miami's Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI) for Biomedical Research, as well as HIPAA training and Clinical Research Billing training. HRPO also presents a series of Research Grand Rounds on such topics as, Initial and Continuing Review Requirements, Unanticipated Problems Involving Risk to Research Participants or Others, Informed consent process and risks.

Grant writing training is provided by the UM-SOM Office of Research - Career Development through a Grant Writing Workshop a 1.5 day, workshop designed to help investigators understand how to plan, organize and write a competitive grant application. Further training occurs as the division prepares its own grant requests during the weekly research seminars.


Selection of Special Mentor

The selection of a research mentor for each fellow is the responsibility of the Program Director, Jerome N. Kopelman, MD. This selection takes place within the first sixth months of the fellowship as a thesis topic is selected, and is subject to the input of the fellow. The research mentor is responsible for ensuring the progress of each fellow's thesis project: said progress is monitored by the program director.


Current Research Projects

Name & PI Summary

TTTS HDE - C. Harman

Humanitarian Device Exemption study

Fetal Adrenal Gland & Induction of Labor - O. Turan

Use of fetal adrenal gland size to predict successful induction of labor

Cardiac Biomarkers in CHD - S. Turan

Identifying biomarkers of congenital heart defects in fetuses from maternal blood

Monochorionic Twin Registry - O. Turan

Data on monochorionic twins for registry

Gestational Diabetes & Fetal Hypoglycemia - S. Contag

Monitor lactate levels in diabetic pregnancies as an early indicator to prevent adverse side effects of hypoglycemia in newborns

Group & Mobile Care for Gestational Diabetes - S. Crimmins

3 arm study using mobile phones and group care for pregnant diabetics

Indomethacin - C. Harman

Analyzing the use indocin for pre-term labor

Prenatally Diagnosed CHD - S. Turan

Analyzing details of fetal heart defects, cord gases…etc on birth outcomes

Triage of Perinatal Risk - J. Kopelman

Identifying pregnancies at risk for bad outcomes, specifically fetal death

IUGR Fetal Surveillance - K. Atkins

Longitudinal study of fetuses with growth restriction to reduce compromise and optimize timing of delivery

Isolated Mild Fetal Cerebral Ventriculomegaly - S. Contag

Analysis of fetuses with enlarged lateral ventricles of the brain to evaluate utility of testing and for best management

Time Dependent Risk of Pre-eclampsia - K. Goetzinger

Estimate the time dependent relationship between pre-eclampsia and known risk factors

Reference Curves for Twins - S. Contag

Compare reference curves & formulae for size & growth of twins

Fetal Epicardial Fat Thickness - S. Turan

Analysis of epicardial fat thickness correlation with fetal metabolism

Effect on Obesity on VBAC - O. Turan

Is obesity an independent risk factor for increased rate of c section in patients for trial TOLAC with induction of labor