News & Events

Drs. Wallingford and O’Tierney-Ginn awarded new grants

Mary Wallingford, MD

Russo Family Charitable Foundation Trust Dual Principal Investigator Funding

MIRI congratulates Principal Investigator Mary Wallingford, PhD on receipt of this grant, a gift of the Russo Family Charitable Foundation to Tufts University Medical School. These awards are intended to support collaborative pilot projects between two or more investigators, and at least one investigator has to be a member of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Wallingford is Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Larry Feig, Professor of Developmental, Molecular & Chemical Biology at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University. The title of their proposal is “Maternal Transmission of the Effects of Stress Across Generations Through Gene Expression Changes in Early Embryos.” This proposal seeks to explain how the negative consequences of female exposure to stress can be transmitted to offspring via epigenetic alterations of germ cells and/or early embryonic tissues, with a focus on placenta. It synergizes the expertise of the Feig lab in understanding the mechanisms of transgenerational transmission of environmentally induced changes through epigenetic alterations with that of the Wallingford lab in mammalian embryonic development, placental biology, and maternal-fetal animal models.

Another award for Dr. Wallingford

Dr. Wallingford, who has a double appointment at MIRI and the Molecular Cardiology Research Institute (MCRI), also received the Beals Goodfellow Award from the Dr. Herbert J. Levine Foundation for Cardiovascular Clinical Research..The award is granted to a member of the cardiovascular faculty whose research is directed at finding cures and improving patient outcomes. All four finalists competing for the award this year were funded. Dr. Wallingford’s award-winning proposal was entitled “The Tree of Life: Harnessing Placenta Biology for Cardiovascular Disease Research.” In the study, her team will be collecting and analyzing transcriptional placenta data with approaches that may complement ongoing cardiovascular disease research at Tufts Medical Center and provide novel avenues for long-term patient care.

Read more about the Wallingford Lab’s work here >

Perrie OTierney-Ginn headshotDr. Perrie O’Tierney-Ginn Gets NIH Grant

Dr. O’Tierney-Ginn’s team will examine the role of epigenetics in fetal growth disparities between racial/ethnic groups in this grant, which is entitled “Administrative Supplement to Placental miRNA profiles associated with maternal insulin resistance and fetal adiposity: maternal-placental crosstalk.”  Specifically, the team will use their large placental database to study how placental miRNAs impact maternal insulin sensitivity and fetal growth between racial/ethnic  groups– using both targeted and untargeted (small RNA-seq) analyses. Sequencing data will be analyzed in collaboration with Dr. Tianjiao Chu from Magee Women’s Research Institute in Pittsburgh. Dr. O’Tierney-Ginn praised her entire team for generating preliminary data  and brainstorming study design. “The ultimate goal is to ensure that our research is relevant and generalizable to all women, and particularly to those who have been underserved in perinatal research studies,”  she said.
Read more about the O’Tierney-Ginn Lab’s work here >