Quinton Smith, Ph.D.


Quinton Smith, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of California, Irvine
2418 Engineering Hall
City, State, ZIP
Irvine, CA 92697
[email protected]
Research field
Award year


Preeclampsia is a complex and potentially life-threatening condition that can develop during pregnancy, often characterized by high blood pressure and damage to vital organs. While the precise cause of this disease remains elusive, certain groups, including African American women, first-time mothers, and those who reside at high altitudes, are at increased risk. One possible contributing factor is the impaired establishment of adequate blood flow between mother and fetus during placental maturation. The placenta is a highly specialized but poorly understood organ that forms during pregnancy and plays a critical role in the exchange of nutrients, waste, and oxygen between the mother and the developing fetus. Spiral artery remodeling, a vital process that establishes connections between maternal and fetal blood vessels, is particularly important for ensuring a healthy pregnancy. However, this process is not well understood in humans and is challenging to study in other organisms. To address this challenge, my lab is using a combination of engineering and stem cell techniques to develop three-dimensional, “organoid model” representations of the human placenta that can be introduced into miniaturized “organ-on-chip” testbeds to facilitate interaction with cell models of maternal tissue. By examining how this system responds to different environmental stimuli, such as oxygen, we hope to gain new insights into spiral artery remodeling and ultimately develop novel strategies for the treatment or early diagnosis of preeclampsia.

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