Improving the scientific basis of advice to pregnant women | Danish Diabetes and Endocrine Academy
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Improving the scientific basis of advice to pregnant women

Professor Gernot Desoye of Graz in Austria will get to know Denmark next year, when he is to be a visiting professor at Rigshospitalet. He will also be collaborating with colleagues from the universities in Roskilde, Odense, Aarhus and Aalborg to develop new knowledge of the placenta.

‘The studies we’ve got planned are important for a better understanding of how the health of the mother can affect the newborn baby, and of the part played by the placenta in that process. Using this knowledge, we will try to identify particular periods in which the impact of the mother’s health and lifestyle on the placenta and the foetus is at its greatest. The aim is to enable pregnant women to be given advice on a better scientific basis’, says professor Gernot Desoye.

He points out that the placenta is crucial to foetal growth and development. In certain cases, the function of the placenta can be insufficient, especially if the pregnant woman is not completely fit.

The proposed projects will explore several aspects of the placental function in both early and late stages of pregnancy, up to and including birth. Focusing on diabetes or obesity in the pregnant woman, the placental function – and changes in it - will be studied, and the effect on the newborn baby will also be investigated.

Gernot Desoye does not aim to use his visiting professorship to conduct laboratory research himself, but to bring new cohorts for further analysis in Denmark. He also intends to help analyse and interpret the data.

With his Aalborg colleagues, for example, he will be working on the biobank that they have built up with blood samples from pregnant women with and without diabetes, and he will help to design research projects to exploit this valuable biological resource.

The visiting professorship is being financed by the Danish Diabetes Academy with a grant of DKK 450,000.


Gernot Desoye
Ao.Univ.-Prof.i.R. Dr.phil.
Medical University of Graz, Austria