The Tuteja lab will unravel the genetic networks that allow embryos to establish a healthy connection with their mothers. Soon after an embryo has implanted into the uterine wall, cells that will form the fetal portion of the placenta push, or invade, into the maternal tissue, an event that lays the groundwork for the exchange of oxygen and nutrients necessary for proper development. Dysregulation of this process can have serious consequences: inadequate penetration of fetal cells at this stage has been linked to early onset pre-eclampsia. Despite the importance of the placenta for a healthy pregnancy, little is known about how maternal and embryonic gene networks interact to guide the formation of this critical interface between mother and developing fetus. As a postdoctoral fellow, I discovered thousands of genomic regions that are highly active while fetal placental cells are invading. Now, combining cutting-edge techniques in cell biology, genomics, computational analysis, and gene editing, I will extend this analysis to catalog the genes and regulatory elements that are active in both maternal and embryonic cells during placental invasion in mice, and assess how disruption of these coordinated networks leads to abnormal placental development. These findings could facilitate the early detection and treatment of placental disorders.