Late last year Dr Jo James and her research partner at the University of Auckland were awarded almost a million dollars in Marsden funding to enable them to create a virtual model of the uterus. The model is designed to allow scientists to study the blood vessels in the uterus to understand how they contribute to blood flow to the placenta during pregnancy.
The research will aim to combat the problem of foetal growth restriction (FGR), where babies are born abnormally small. A poorly functioning placenta is thought to be a major component of the disease process in many pregnancy disorders including preeclampsia and recurrent miscarriage. Together, these disorders affect 1 in 10 pregnancies.