About the Program
- State-of-the art facilities with the latest ultrasound equipment and technology
- Expertise in three- and four-dimensional ultrasound
- Design and conduct research in the areas of fetal and maternal imaging
- Weekly Ultrasound Conference
- Monthly Combined Fetal Ultrasound and MRI Conference
- Wayne State University/Perinatology Research Branch Maternal-Fetal Medicine Ultrasound Course Curriculum Lecture Series
- Examine and evaluate the fetus and mother through imaging techniques
- Development of novel and innovative diagnostic techniques in fetal and maternal imaging
- Conduct research of the fetus and mother utilizing three- and four-dimensional imaging, MRI, and other sonographic modalities
- Study the role of fetal and maternal imaging for the prediction of perinatal outcome
- Sonographic and research training for clinical fellows and research associates
- Application of resting-state functional connectivity MRI to study the earliest forms of cerebral connectivity in the human brain
- Application of multi-modal MRI to discover and characterize fetal functional and structural brain development in health and disease
- The prenatal diagnosis of congenital anomalies (three- and four-dimensional imaging, MRI, and other sonographic modalities)
- Development of new methods for fetal growth assessment
- Role of ultrasound in identifying patients at risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes
- Role of functional and structural MRI in mapping human fetal brain development
Important Points & Discoveries
- Dynamic multiplanar slicing and surface rendering of the fetal heart using STIC technology
- Development of a novel algorithm for comprehensive fetal echocardiography using four-dimensional ultrasonography and tomographic imaging
- Soft tissue parameters for fetal growth: Application of novel fractional limb volume tool for individualized fetal growth assessment
- Prospective validation of new fetal weight prediction models that have combined two- and three-dimensional sonographic parameters
- Combination of Doppler velocimetry of the uterine arteries and biomarkers for the prediction of preeclampsia
- Thomason ME, Dassanayake MT, Shen S, Katkuri Y, Alexis M, Anderson AL, Yeo L, Mody S, Hernandez-Andrade E, Hassan SS, Studholme C, Jeong JW, Romero R. Cross-hemispheric functional connectivity in the human fetal brain. Sci Transl Med 2013 Feb 20;5:173ra24.
- Yeo L, Romero R. Sonographic evaluation in the second stage of labor to improve the assessment of labor progress and its outcome. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2009 Mar;33:253-8.
- Espinoza J, Kusanovic JP, Gonçalves LF, Nien JK, Hassan S, Lee W, Romero R. A novel algorithm for comprehensive fetal echocardiography using 4-dimensional ultrasonography and tomographic imaging. J Ultrasound Med 2006 Aug;25:947-56.
- Gonçalves LF, Espinoza J, Lee W, Nien JK, Hong JS, Santolaya-Forgas J, Mazor M, Romero R. A new approach to fetal echocardiography: digital casts of the fetal cardiac chambers and great vessels for detection of congenital heart disease. J Ultrasound Med 2005 Apr;24:415-24.
- Lee W, Deter RL, McNie B, Gonçalves LF, Espinoza J, Chaiworapongsa T, Romero R. Individualized growth assessment of fetal soft tissue using fractional thigh volume. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2004 Dec;24:766-74.
- Gonçalves LF, Romero R, Espinoza J, Lee W, Treadwell M, Chintala K, Brandl H, Chaiworapongsa T. Four-dimensional ultrasonography of the fetal heart using color Doppler spatiotemporal image correlation. J Ultrasound Med 2004 Apr;23:473-81.
Perinatal Neural Connectivity
FUNCTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF NEURAL SYSTEMS IN THE FETAL PERIOD
Neurodevelopmental progress during the fetal period is more rapid than at any other time in human life. However, surprisingly little data has been collected to determine the initial functional connections of the human fetal brain. Application of resting-state functional connectivity (FC) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to the study of fetal brain development enables assessment of the earliest forms of cerebral connectivity. Our work aims to address the need to discover and characterize human fetal functional brain connectivity.
Recent evidence from FC resting-state studies in newborns suggests that neurodevelopmental impairment following preterm birth may represent a disease of neural connectivity (Lubsen et al., 2011). In recognition of the fact that disrupted FC may result from either the traumas associated with preterm birth, or the uterine environment of the fetus during prenatal development, we are currently engaged in a research program that will resolve these competing hypotheses.
We are presently enrolling women pregnant with fetuses between 18-39 weeks gestational age in a multi-modal MRI study. We are examining healthy versus high-risk pregnancies to enlighten our medical and scientific understanding of the impact of prenatal pressures on neural developmental trajectories.
- Lubsen J, Vohr B, Myers E, Hampson M, Lacadie C, Schneider KC, Katz KH, Constable RT, Ment LR. Microstructural and functional connectivity in the developing preterm brain. Semin Perinatol 2011 Feb;35:34-43.