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Elucidating the Genetic Basis of Preeclampsia in Populations Adapted to High Altitude

Corporate Fellowships
Awarded in 2011

AMGEN-SUPPORTED FELLOWSHIP PROJECT - 2011

PhD Fellow: Patricia Ortiz-Tello (Genetics)
Faculty Advisor: Carlos Bustamante (Genetics) and Julie Baker (Genetics)

Preeclampsia, a disorder that complicates 3-8% of pregnancies worldwide and jeopardizes the life of the mother and newborn, occurs at 2-3 fold higher prevalence at higher altitudes – most likely due to the hypoxic environment. Interestingly, the higher prevalence of preeclampsia observed at high altitudes is linked to those individuals with higher European ancestry, leading us to believe that the Amerindian population living at high altitude for over 10,000 years have developed a genetic adaptation protective against preeclampsia. We aim to use whole-genome DNA analysis, local functional expression, and clinical and histopathology data to disentangle the genetic basis of preeclampsia.