Shanna Hosking

Shanna Hosking

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

School of Biomedicine

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

My research focuses on immune cell regulation of vascular function in fetal and placental development. 

A key immune cell, known as the T Regulatory (Treg) cell is a regulator of maternal tolerance towards the fetus, whereas inflammatory immune cell types such as Th1 and Th17 can promote rejection. A deficiency of Treg cell numbers or inadequate anti-inflammatory function during pregnancy can result in the development of pregnancy pathologies stemming from placental insufficiency, like preeclampsia, which impacts fetal development and life-long health of the mother and neonate (Developmental Origins of Health and Disease). 

Preeclampsia affects 2-8% of pregnancies worldwide and leads to significant morbidity and mortality for the women and their infants. Preeclamptic pregnancies also result in an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease for women and their offspring. Our research points to the maternal immune system as an underlying mechanism that would be amenable to interventions to boost child health and developmental outcomes.

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