Banu Gumusoglu

Banu Gumusoglu, Postdoctoral scholar, obstetrics and gynecology

Links pregnancy to lifelong brain health

“Dr. Gumusoglu has authored 18 peer-reviewed publications, presented at dozens of national and international meetings and conferences, and been cited over 500 times.” -Mark Santillan, associate professor

Lake Oswego, Oregon

Faculty mentor/advisor:
Mark Santillan, MD, PhD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Carver College of Medicine

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
I was recently promoted from postdoctoral fellow to assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology.

Please describe your research:
Exposure to high levels of maternal stress, diseases of pregnancy, or toxins/teratogens in pregnancy increases offspring risk for neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD and autism. I study the mechanisms by which the early pregnancy environment influences offspring brain development. I am particularly interested in how inflammatory and hypertensive diseases of pregnancy such as preeclampsia influence life-long brain health in offspring.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
The work we do matters because rates of pregnancy diseases, and of neurodevelopmental disorders, are both on the rise in the face of few targeted treatments. This limits the options available to both patients and providers. Our work seeks to examine the mechanisms that prime neurodevelopmental risk in children so that we can create new avenues for early screening, personalized targeting, and ultimately cures for intergenerational disease.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
Immediately began research work as a PhD student at UI in neuroscience (Stevens Lab).

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
Research has connected me to wonderful collaborators, friends, and mentors across the UI campus. I have learned a tremendous amount from these collaborations and look forward to many more years of making the UI my research home.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
I hope to become a tenure-track assistant professor.

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