- Reproductive Biology Unit
Techniques, methods & infrastructure
My research interests lie in the principles of early human placental development. In particular I am interested into a specific trophoblast subtype referred to as extravillous trophoblast (EVT). For instance, EVTs invade the pregnant uterus and transform the endometrial vasculature by replacing tissue resident endothelial cells. I currently have three main areas of research:
- ERBB receptor expression and activity during EVT differentiation;
- the role of diamine oxidase (DAO) during early placental development, and
- polyploidization in human invasive trophoblasts.
To conduct my research, I take advantage of various primary model systems allowing a detailed study of EVT differentiation as these in vitro systems display similar gene expression patterns to those noticed in vivo.
My future plans are to unravel the role of intrinsic regulatory mechanisms in various stages of EVT differentiation, including proliferation/cell cycle arrest and acquisition of an invasive phenotype. In addition, I am interested to further characterize novel subtype-specific EVT gene signatures by performing flow cytometry and laser-capture microdissection assisted characterization of various EVT populations.
- 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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jcs.176933.
- Fock, V. et al., 2015. Trophoblast subtype-specific EGFR/ERBB4 expression correlates with cell cycle progression and hyperplasia in complete hydatidiform moles. Human Reproduction, 30(4), pp.789-799. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dev027.
- Fock, V. et al., 2013. Macrophage-Derived IL-33 Is a Critical Factor for Placental Growth. The Journal of Immunology, 191(7), pp.3734-3743. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1300490.
- Pollheimer, J. et al., 2012. Interleukin-33 Drives a Proinflammatory Endothelial Activation That Selectively Targets Nonquiescent Cells. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 33(2), pp.e47-e55. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.253427.
- Meinhardt, G. et al., 2015. ERBB2 gene amplification increases during the transition of proximal EGFR+ to distal HLA-G+ first trimester cell column trophoblasts. Placenta, 36(8), pp.803-808. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.placenta.2015.05.017.