Skip to main content


Jürgen Pollheimer
Dr. Jürgen Pollheimer, Ph.D.Group Leader

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Position: Associate Professor

ORCID: 0000-0001-8440-5221
T +43 1 40400 78340


Cell Differentiation; Developmental Biology; Placenta

Research group(s)

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

My research interests lie in the principles of extravillous trophoblast (EVT) differentiation and function. In addition, my group focusses on immunological aspects during pregnancy. We currently have four main areas of research:

- Polyploidization and gene copy number variations in EVTs of normal and complete v mole placentas;

- assessment of senescent features in trophoblast subtypes;

- characterization of tissue-specific macrophage signatures in the placenta and decidua; - and vascular alterations and immune cell distribution in decidua basalis and prospectively collected endometrial tissues of women suffering from idiopathic, recurrent abortions.  

To conduct my research, I take advantage of various primary human model systems allowing a detailed study of EVT differentiation as these in vitro systems display similar gene expression patterns to those noticed in vivo.  

We are currently interested to define whether transcriptional and phenotypical variations within invasive EVTs are due to environmental changes controlled by maternal decidual cells or whether EVTs divide into different subpopulations. To this end, we aim to perform single-cell RNA-seq of various trophoblast populations isolated from individual patients. Finally, I am interested to determine placenta-specific, EVT-enriched secreted factors with the potential to serve as prognostic marker signatures to predict placental pathologies during early pregnancy.  


Selected publications

  1. Velicky, P. et al., 2018. Genome amplification and cellular senescence are hallmarks of human placenta development S. Mundlos, ed. PLOS Genetics, 14(10), p.e1007698. Available at:
  2. Velicky, P. et al., 2018. Pregnancy-associated diamine oxidase originates from extravillous trophoblasts and is decreased in early-onset preeclampsia. Scientific Reports, 8(1). Available at:
  3. Windsperger, K. et al., 2017. Extravillous trophoblast invasion of venous as well as lymphatic vessels is altered in idiopathic, recurrent, spontaneous abortions. Human Reproduction, 32(6), pp.1208-1217. Available at:
  4. Fock, V. et al., 2015. Neuregulin-1-mediated ErbB2-ErbB3 signalling protects human trophoblasts against apoptosis to preserve differentiation. Journal of Cell Science, 128(23), pp.4306-4316. Available at:
  5. Haider, S. et al., 2018. Self-Renewing Trophoblast Organoids Recapitulate the Developmental Program of the Early Human Placenta. Stem Cell Reports, 11(2), pp.537-551. Available at: