University of California, San Francisco Prematurity Research Center

The March of Dimes University of California San Francisco Prematurity Research Center, the organization’s newest prematurity research hub, which launched in early 2022, is focused on using big data to gain new insights into diagnostic and therapeutic tools to combat prematurity.
University of California, San Francisco Prematurity Research Center

Led by Dr. Marina Sirota, the center’s three key priorities are to facilitate prematurity data sharing across all March of Dimes PRCs, conduct computational drug discovery and mine electronic medical records to speed the pace of discovery in the field of premature birth.
 

Research Themes

The major success of the PRCs comes through the active collaboration and networking across centers. Sharing data & discoveries, while making connections across several themes requires integrating the work of researchers and clinicians from a broad range of disparate disciplines. More than 200 scientists, engineers, statisticians, sociologists and medical professionals work together to foster innovation that will accelerate discoveries of the unknown causes of preterm birth and new ways to prevent it. The March of Dimes Data Repository for Preterm Birth Research is truly the backbone of the research effort. 


The Data Repository was designed to be both a catalog and catalyst. It provides the capability to ask new and important questions about preterm birth. Dedicated to enhancing research collaboration and coordination, the Data Repository currently contains information from 13 studies, with individual molecular profiles on 365 patients, aggregated genetic data from more than 30,000 patients, and molecular measurements on more than 8,000 samples. More data is being added every day, and the Data Repository’s contents were recently opened to all the other researchers studying preterm birth around the world, in an effort to encourage them to add their own findings to the Data Repository
 

Making an Impact with Research


March of Dimes research is focused on making an impact NOW to end preventable preterm birth; we do this by approaching research in several key ways. At both the bench and bedside– through descriptive research that aims to characterize and understand the factors that lead to preterm birth and other adverse outcomes; and through work that leads to mitigation and prevention of preterm birth- through therapeutics, diagnostics, and/or policy changes. 


We know that pregnancy is complex. March of Dimes research approach takes a whole-system view and brings the best talent and minds to bear, so we can make a difference in our lifetime. 


Recent examples

  • How are we making a difference: March of Dimes research programs have made discoveries that lead to direct impact on the health of moms, babies, and their families.
  • PRC microbiome studies leading to bedside testing; rapid, low cost predictive testing.
  • Early detection of preeclampsia and other adverse pregnancy outcomes through several approaches, including cell-free RNA, data analytics, and other diagnostic markers.
  • Understanding maternal-infant nutrition, to wit, NEC and how breastfeeding can improve outcomes  
     

Your Support Helps us Fund Research

There are a number of ways to support research at March of Dimes. Your time – through volunteering at events, raising awareness in your community, and recruiting new and impactful researcher to our network; your attention – by focused attention on how research can impact your community, your country, and the global family; and your resources – by way of funding, access to your network, and getting involved in research directly.

We need your help to continue developing diagnostics, therapeutics, and understanding of the complex factors that lead to preterm birth, maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, and overall adverse outcomes in pregnancy. Moms, Babies, and their Families can’t wait for you to step up and get involved.