Abstract: Pregnancy complications like preeclampsia and preterm birth pose huge risks to fetal and maternal long-term health and a large financial burden. Here, I will describe the development 3 liquid biopsy tests that measure cell-free RNA (cfRNA) to monitor prenatal health and predict risk of pregnancy complications long before symptoms manifest. This work paves the way for affordable, simple, and reliable tests for preeclampsia and preterm delivery – risks that no other test can presently diagnose early enough to allow for meaningful clinical intervention. I will also describe the development of a low-cost, semi-automated pipeline to process samples and enable such discoveries, which to date, has extracted cfRNA from ~1100 samples in 9 days. This pipeline is generalizable for many nucleic acid extraction applications, thereby helping to democratize large-scale discovery stage work and presenting a means for smaller labs to process large sample sets with higher technical reproducibility. Altogether, liquid biopsy tests that measure cfRNA provide new tools to understand pregnancy and its complications and even change the standard of prenatal care.
A115 Butcher Auditorium
Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building (JSCBB)
3415 Colorado Ave.
Boulder, CO 80303