Preterm Birth Initiative

The Preterm Birth Initiative was created to increase the understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying parturition and spontaneous preterm birth and will provide up to $600,000 over a four-year period ($150,000 per year).  The initiative is designed to bring together a diverse interdisciplinary group with expertise in genetics/genomics, immunology, microbiology and proteomics along with the more traditional areas of parturition research such as maternal fetal medicine, obstetrics, and pediatrics to address scientific issues related to preterm birth. The formation of new connections between reproductive scientists and investigators who are involved in other areas will give preterm birth research a fresh and unique look.

Despite medical and technological advances, the rate of preterm births in the United States remains higher today that 20 years ago.  Approximately 12 percent of births in the U.S. are considered preterm, which is defined as birth occurring prior to 37 weeks of gestation. Many health and social problems can be attributed to preterm delivery including cerebral palsy, respiratory distress syndrome, chronic lung disease, seizures, learning difficulty, hearing loss, behavioral problems, and others. Preterm birth is currently the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality in children. However, for a medical problem that has such grave health and social consequences little is known about its causes.

Up to five (5) research grants will be awarded in this award cycle.