Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN–MADISON
SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND PUBLIC HEALTH

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I trained as Medical Biochemist, and then undertook two highly successful postdoctoral fellowships focused on cell signaling and molecular endocrinology at the level of adrenal steroid biosynthesis and its relationship to zone specific cell signaling as it impacts upon P450/HSD gene expression. This lead to an interest in the analysis of circulating steroids as an indicator of normal vs incomplete development, and as an indicator of normal vs prolonged stress. As a result of my move to an ObGyn department I then applied my knowledge to the investigation of changes in vascular function during pregnancy, I identified for the first time that pregnancy induced adaptation of endothelial function occurs through adaptive programming of cell signaling. Since pioneering the first use of endothelial cell primary culture models (1996) to identify this adaptive programming of cell signaling in response to pregnancy, this laboratory has also gained the unique expertise to image simultaneous real time cell imaging of Ca2+ and NO. The most important recent advance has been the realization that the mechanistic basis for adaptation and failure of) has also allowed the realization of a joint goal to undertake more translational studies in this area to extend our observation from sheep to diseases of human pregnancy, namely preeclampsia. The specific goal of a recently completed R21 investigation was the validation of the UV Endo preparation and associated HUVEC cell model as a suitable basis for study of pregnancy adapted function at the level of Ca2+ signaling and associated NO production and its corresponding failure in PE subjects, and that is a part of what drives this application. In addition, we have recently partnered with Oliver Wieben and his colleagues from Radiology and Medical Physics in the first application of MRI to study human pregnancy (U01 Parent Application) at the level of blood flow, blood oxygenation, and placental perfusion. Beyond my research interests, I also have taken on a leadership role in research and training nationally as well as on campus. I mentor trainees through junior faculty in research and grant writing at the Society Reproductive Investigation and Perinatal Research Society. On campus I serve as Vice Chair in the dept ObGyn, and I am Director of both the Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology Training Program and the Integrated Program in Endocrinology. I personally train from Predoctoral PhD through faculty on traditional tenure and clinical tracks. I am PI of a Predoctoral T32 (ERP - funded 4 cycles), CoI on an R25 Bridges award to Molly Carnes, CoI of a Health Disparities T32 led by Deb Ehrenthal, and I chair the ObGyn dept committee of tenured professors that works with the Chairs office to guide those undergoing promotions. I lead two RCR courses on campus aimed at trainees from predoc (ObGyn955) through faculty K applicants (ObGyn956). In 2018 I was awarded the Doris Schlesinger award for excellence in mentoring of women faculty.Bird 

I trained as Medical Biochemist, and then undertook two highly successful postdoctoral fellowships focused on cell signaling and molecular endocrinology at the level of adrenal steroid biosynthesis and its relationship to zone specific cell signaling as it impacts upon P450/HSD gene expression. This lead to an interest in the analysis of circulating steroids as an indicator of normal vs incomplete development, and as an indicator of normal vs prolonged stress. As a result of my move to an ObGyn department I then applied my knowledge to the investigation of changes in vascular function during pregnancy, I identified for the first time that pregnancy induced adaptation of endothelial function occurs through adaptive programming of cell signaling. Since pioneering the first use of endothelial cell primary culture models (1996) to identify this adaptive programming of cell signaling in response to pregnancy, this laboratory has also gained the unique expertise to image simultaneous real time cell imaging of Ca2+ and NO. The most important recent advance has been the realization that the mechanistic basis for adaptation and failure of adaptation in humans is mediated at the level of Cx43 through the growth factors and cytokines of wounding that are also seen in preeclampsia. My more recent collaboration with Dr Dinesh Shah (Former Head MFM Division) has also allowed the realization of a joint goal to undertake more translational studies in this area to extend our observation from sheep to diseases of human pregnancy, namely preeclampsia. The specific goal of a recently completed R21 investigation was the validation of the UV Endo preparation and associated HUVEC cell model as a suitable basis for study of pregnancy adapted function at the level of Ca2+ signaling and associated NO production and its corresponding failure in PE subjects, and that is a part of what drives this application. In addition, we have recently partnered with Oliver Wieben and his colleagues from Radiology and Medical Physics in the first application of MRI to study human pregnancy (U01 Parent Application) at the level of blood flow, blood oxygenation, and placental perfusion. Beyond my research interests, I also have taken on a leadership role in research and training nationally as well as on campus. I mentor trainees through junior faculty in research and grant writing at the Society Reproductive Investigation and Perinatal Research Society. On campus I serve as Vice Chair in the dept ObGyn, and I am Director of both the Endocrinology and Reproductive Physiology Training Program and the Integrated Program in Endocrinology. I personally train from Predoctoral PhD through faculty on traditional tenure and clinical tracks. I am PI of a Predoctoral T32 (ERP - funded 4 cycles), CoI on an R25 Bridges award to Molly Carnes, CoI of a Health Disparities T32 led by Deb Ehrenthal, and I chair the ObGyn dept committee of tenured professors that works with the Chairs office to guide those undergoing promotions. I lead two RCR courses on campus aimed at trainees from predoc (ObGyn955) through faculty K applicants (ObGyn956). In 2018 I was awarded the Doris Schlesinger award for excellence in mentoring of women faculty.