Josselyn Barahona

Program: Immunology

Current advisor: Wayne M. Yokoyama, MD

Undergraduate university: Williams College

Research summary
During early pregnancy, the uterine microenvironment undergoes dynamic changes that establish a tolerant maternal-fetal interface to support the development of the semiallogenic fetus. Uterine natural killer (uNK) cells are the most prominent leukocyte occupying the maternal component of the maternal-fetal interface during this remodeling process. It has become increasingly evident that uNK cells play a critical role in promoting successful pregnancy outcomes as disrupted uNK cell homeostasis has been associated with obstetrical complications, including recurrent spontaneous abortion, preeclampsia, and placenta accreta, in both humans and mice. Although uNK cell appear to play a role in the uterine adaptations that promote tolerance at the fetal-maternal interface, the mechanisms through which uNK cells contribute to maternal-fetal tolerance remain poorly understood. The overarching goal of this project is to elucidate the molecular and cellular mechanisms through which uNK cells promote maternal-fetal tolerance in the uterine microenvironment to support a successful pregnancy.

Graduate publications


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