Brandon Schickling

Brandon Schickling, Postdoctoral fellow, obstetrics and gynecology

Predicts maternal heart health

“Brandon is one of those people who is always thinking about the best way to do things. In this capacity, I think he is one of the most creative post-docs I have ever worked with—he is unphased about the barriers of learning or applying a new method or technology.” -Mark Santillan, associate professor, obstetrics and gynecology

Hometown: Le Claire, Iowa

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

What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Postdoctoral fellow

Please describe your research: Preeclampsia, a hypertensive disorder in pregnancy, affects 5-7% of all U.S. pregnancies (400,000/year) and is a leading cause of worldwide obstetric mortality. Mothers with a history of preeclampsia are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than mothers with a normotensive pregnancy. The goal of our research is to mechanistically understand how preeclampsia predisposes patients to cardiovascular disease, establish maternal biomarkers for life-long cardiovascular disease risk, and to find therapeutic targets to minimize maternal cardiovascular disease.

In simple terms, why does this research matter? Diseases and disorders predominately affecting mothers are severely underfunded and understudied. This work is important to shed light on the mechanisms of a disorder with 76,000 maternal and 500,000 neonatal global deaths per year, with additional long-lasting maternal and offspring complications, including heart failure.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I was fortunate to start doing research at the University of Iowa in 2007 while completing my undergraduate degree. I have been involved in research at the University of Iowa from near and far ever since.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Being involved in research at the University of Iowa has greatly influenced my successes. It was the reason I pursued a doctoral degree, the reason I am curious and creative, the reason I was introduced to my fantastic mentors, colleagues and collaborators, the reason I enjoy teaching others and has paved the way for an independent academic research career.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? Develop an innovative, productive, and inclusive research program as a tenure-track independent investigator in academia.

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