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Cambridge Reproduction


I am a PhD student working on a collaborative project between the Centre for Trophoblast Research and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology that aims to understand how metabolism can influence human trophoblast development and differentiation. During early placental development, trophoblasts face diverse metabolic challenges including nutrient and oxygen limited environments. It is also the period at which vast changes in gene expression coincide with metabolic reprogramming. In addition to the vital role of metabolism in fulfilling bioenergetic and biosynthetic needs, emerging evidence suggests a link between metabolism and epigenetic processes. This project aims to understand the molecular mechanisms linking cellular metabolism and epigenetic programs directing trophoblast proliferation and differentiation. My hypothesis is that acetyl-CoA metabolism regulates the coordination of trophoblast proliferation and differentiation by regulating the availability of acetyl-CoA for histone acetylation. The findings from my research will establish the underlying mechanisms by which metabolism influences epigenetic networks to regulate trophoblast fate, and lead to a greater understanding of how early placental metabolism influences placental development and fetal growth.