Recently Recruited Department Heads
Spearhead Translational Research Initiatives
Mary D. Stephenson: Saving Pregnancies
An internationally renowned expert in recurrent pregnancy loss and head of the college’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, Mary D. Stephenson, MD, conducts randomized, controlled trials to assess treatments and optimal drug dosing strategies.
“Studying pharmacokinetics of medications in pregnancy is paramount because absorption, bioavailability and elimination of medications change in the first, second and third trimesters,” she says. “It’s extremely important to determine whether there is a significant benefit to taking medication during pregnancy.”
Often, recurrent pregnancy loss patients are prescribed multiple medications,” Stephenson says. “But what is the net effect of multiple medications?” She adds, “Such translational research, from bench to bedside, impacts patient care; with recurrent pregnancy loss, this means improving the likelihood of having a successful pregnancy outcome.”
For example, Stephenson was co-investigator of a multicenter trial in which women were injected with “white blood cells” from their reproductive partners. “This treatment had been given for over a decade, despite little evidence to support doing so,” she says. “The trial showed that this treatment was not effective; in fact, there were more miscarriages.”
Stephenson is presently focusing her research on genetic factors associated with recurrent pregnancy loss. “Looking to the future, couples with a history of recurrent pregnancy loss may be screened for miscarriage genes,” she says. “If identified, there may be a role for preimplantation genetic testing to select embryos which are not affected, which should lead to a high likelihood of success.”