Notice of Special Interest: High Priority Areas in Placental Research for Healthy Pregnancies

Notice Number: NOT-HD-22-049

Deadline: March 16, 2025


The major gaps that this NOSI targets fall within four major research areas. Topics of special emphasis in these areas include, but are not limited, to the following:

1) Elucidating the gene-regulatory pathways and molecular mechanisms involved in trophoblast differentiation and function.

  • Delineating factors involved in trophoblast lineage determination and differentiation
  • Studies involved in the mechanisms of uterine invasion and uterine spiral artery formation
  • Studies of mechanisms involved in villous formation
  • Studies of mechanisms involved in nutrient sensing and transport
  • Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms (e.g., transcriptional regulatory pathways and system biology approaches), involved in the pathophysiology of placental disorders

2) Understanding the role of the immune system in normal placentation and pregnancy rejection.

  • Studies of mechanisms involved in the induction of Th2- type immunity and suppression of the Th1-type response
  • Elucidation of the pregnancy-protective roles of Tregs and the detrimental role of Th17 responses
  • Studies of the role of the unique Major Histocompatibility Complex class 1 type proteins (HLA-C, E, F, and G) expressed by trophoblasts
  • Role of NK cells in controlling the in uterine invasion and uterine spiral artery formation
  • Placental hormones that function as immunomodulators in impacting immune cell recruitment, expansion, and function
  • Maternal plasma factors (e.g., cytokines and autoimmune antibodies) involved in placentation

3) Developing safe and effective therapeutics for the treatment of placental dysfunction/disorders

  • Development of novel placental-specific treatments for safe and effective delivery of therapeutic drugs to improve pregnancy and neonatal outcomes
  • Development of targeted therapeutic strategies to prevent and treat pregnancy complications and/or fetal conditions
  • Identification and validation of biomarkers for precision prevention and treatment of pregnancy and fetal conditions and diseases

For more information, please see the opportunity webpage.