Single Cell Genomics

About the Program

The Perinatal Single-Cell Genomics unit has been recently established to utilize the latest state of the art microfluidic technological advances to study at single cell resolution the placenta and other reproductive tissues during pregnancy. To analyze and integrate the data we also develop and apply cutting edge computational and statistical tools to gain a deeper knowledge of molecular underpinning of the fetal-maternal dialog at single cell resolution. The ultimate aim is to identify biomarkers for early prediction of the major obstetrical syndromes and to identify target genes that may deliver new avenues for treatment of for precision medicine.


  • Use of microfluidic technology to study the placenta and other reproductive tissues at single cell resolution
  • Characterize the cell-type composition of the different placental compartments and the molecular underpinnings of the maternal-fetal dialog during pregnancy
  • Develop novel computational tools and statistical models to analyze the gene expression signatures and the epigenomic profiles of placental tissues obtained from pregnancies with and without obstetrical complications
  • In collaboration with the other units (Bioinformatics, Immunology, Microbiology) generate a comprehensive longitudinal multi-omics characterization of human pregnancy to develop better biomarkers to facilitate early detection of the major obstetrical syndromes
  • Study the effects of genetic variants on molecular phenotypes, and use Mendelian randomization and mediation analysis to dissect the causal pathway between altered gene expression and pregnancy related phenotypes

Research Questions

  • Which cell-types define the different placental tissues during pregnancy? How are these genes expressed during gestation for each different cell-types?
  • What is the spatial distribution of the maternal and fetal cellular composition of the human placenta?
  • How do maternal and fetal immune cells interact with each other at the molecular level?
  • Which genes and cell-types are involved in the molecular mechanisms leading to a specific obstetrical syndrome (preterm birth, preeclampsia, fetal death, etc.)?
  • Which molecular mechanisms and genetic pathways underly genetic variants associated with pregnancy related phenotypes?

Distinguished Faculty

Roger Pique-Regi, PhD

Associate Professor, Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University School of Medicine


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


Adi Tarca, PhD

Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State School of Medicine; Adjunct Professor, Department of Computer Science, Wayne State College of Engineering