About the Program

  • The application of multi-dimensional cell-biology approaches to the study of biological tissue and fluid
  • Fellows gain hands-on experience in experimental tools including immunophenotyping using flow cytometry
  • Cutting edge laboratory equipment
    • Polychromatic flow cytometry
    • High speed cell sorter for high throughput analysis
  • Clinico-pathological conferences


  • To study the immune response of the mother and fetus in physiologic and pathologic conditions

immunofluorescent staining showing CD14+ Hofbauer cells (red) and CXCR3+
endothelial cells (green) in the normal chorionic villus (blue: all the nuclei)

Research Questions

  • Immunophenotypic characterization of peripheral leukocytes of pregnant women and neonates
  • Investigating the mechanism of placental inflammation

immunofluorescent staining showing increased CXCL9 (red) expression and infiltration of CXCR3+ leukocytes (green) in the VUE (villitis of unknown etiology) placenta.

Important Points & Discoveries

  • Involvement of fetal macrophages and maternal T cells as well as the systemic response of both mother and fetus in Villitis of Unknown Etiology
  • Novel role of fibrocytes in human feto-maternal development
  • Distribution of immunophenotypically distinct macrophages at the feto-maternal interface

Selected Publications

  • Kim MJ, Romero R, Kim CJ, Tarca AL, Chhauy S, LaJeunesse C, Lee DC, Draghici S, Gotsch F, Kusanovic JP, Hassan SS, Kim JS. Villitis of unknown etiology is associated with a distinct pattern of chemokine up-regulation in the feto-maternal and placental compartments: implications for conjoint maternal allograft rejection and maternal anti-fetal graft-versus-host disease. J Immunol 2009 Mar;182:3919-27.
  • Kim JS, Romero R, Tarca AL, LaJeunesse C, Han YM, Kim MJ, Suh YL, Draghici S, Mittal P, Gotsch F, Kusanovic JP, Hassan S, Kim CJ. Gene expression profiling demonstrates a novel role for foetal fibrocytes and the umbilical vessels in human fetoplacental development. J Cell Mol Med 2008 Aug;12:1317-30.
  • Kim JS, Romero R, Kim MR, Kim YM, Friel L, Espinoza J, Kim CJ. Involvement of Hofbauer cells and maternal T cells in villitis of unknown aetiology. Histopathology 2008 Mar;52:457-64.
  • Kim JS, Romero R, Cushenberry E, Kim YM, Erez O, Nien JK, Yoon BH, Espinoza J, Kim CJ. Distribution of CD14+ and CD68+ macrophages in the placental bed and basal plate of women with preeclampsia and preterm labor. Placenta 2007 May-Jun;28:571-6.

Distinguished Faculty


Nardhy Gomez-Lopez, MSc, Ph.D.

Director of the Perinatal Immunobiology Unit, Wayne State University Perinatal Initiative in support of the Perinatology Research Branch, NICHD/NIH/DHHS, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development, Wayne State University School of Medicine