Annemarie Carver

Annemarie Carver, PhD student, genetics

Studies placenta's impact on brain growth

“Annemarie has taken on very difficult techniques to study questions about the placenta. She has been tenacious and passionate about mastering these skills and using them for scientific discovery.” -Hanna Stevens, associate professor, psychiatry

Hometown: Haymarket, Virginia

Faculty mentor/advisor: Hanna Stevens, MD, PhD, associate professor, psychiatry, Carver College of Medicine

What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Interdisciplinary Genetics PhD Program. Expected graduation in 2025.

Please describe your research: My research focuses on the impact of placental genetics on fetal neurodevelopment. I specifically study a growth factor produced in the placenta that is essential for proper fetal brain growth. I aim to determine how the expression of this growth factor in the placenta can lead to changes in neurodevelopment that may contribute to the development of autism spectrum disorder.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? The placenta is often ignored in developmental studies as it is a temporary organ. The placenta is very dynamic and changes to its function can cause lifelong impacts. Our research will help to identify the link between placental function and brain development. This research will help expand our understanding of the long-term impacts of placental genetics.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I was able to participate in research immediately after beginning my graduate program.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? I have become more successful because of the opportunities available at Iowa for researchers. The research environment at Iowa is extremely welcoming and I have received excellent mentoring. I have been able to connect with many experienced people in the field and learn from them directly.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I hope to continue doing placental research and become a bioethics advisor.

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