Mother Infant Research Institute (MIRI)


The research performed by the principal investigators of the Mother Infant Research Institute (MIRI) at Tufts Medical Center covers a wide range of approaches, including:

  • Basic science research (e.g. using cells in culture or model animal systems)
  • Translational research (e.g. applying state-of-the-art molecular techniques to human material such as blood or saliva samples)
  • Clinical research that involves direct “hands-on” interaction with a pregnant woman or her newborn infant 

Multiple Labs Dedicated to Mother Infant Research

Although in some cases the investigator works with patients at the bedside and not in a laboratory, for the sake of consistency we describe each group as a laboratory. The MIRI laboratories are directed by Tomoko Kaneko-Tarui, MD, PhD 

The MIRI laboratories include:

  • The O’Tierney-Ginn Laboratory works to understand how placental function is altered by the maternal environment, and how these changes affect fetal growth and fat deposition.
  • The Catalano Laboratory uses a translational approach to understand the short and long term implications of maternal obesity and diabetes on women and their offspring
  • The House Laboratory uses a bioengineering strategy to investigate cervical biomechanics, specifically cervical function, as it relates to the cause of spontaneous premature birth.
  • The Wallingford Laboratory aims to advance scientific understanding of the placenta, specifically molecular mechanisms that regulate vascular development and pathophysiology of the placenta, in order to support the development of new diagnostic tools and therapeutic treatment options for placental disorders.
  • The Yen Laboratory utilizes non-invasive salivary transcriptomic and brain imaging data to understand the sex-dependent impact of prenatal opioid exposure on the developing brain, particularly the hypothalamus and reward areas that regulate neonatal feeding behavior.