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Cambridge Reproduction


During my PhD, I aim to unravel how Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIRs) and Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA), two of the most polymorphic sets of immune genes in the human genome, regulate pregnancy and birth weight. For this purpose, I am genotyping a large cohort of pre-eclamptic and healthy pregnancies collected in Uganda. Pre-eclampsia is major cause for concern worldwide, but especially so in sub-Saharan Africa where it contributes to the high maternal-fetal mortality rate. The extraordinary genetic diversity observed in most sub-Saharan African populations adds an extra layer of complexity. However, understanding this complexity is key to understanding how polymorphic immune genes have evolved and the role they might be playing in reproduction and infectious diseases in populations worldwide.