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Johns Hopkins Receives Grant to Identify Biomarkers that Predict Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes

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The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health received a $1.3 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the health of mothers and babies in low-resource settings by identifying biomarkers that predict the risks of preterm birth and other pregnancy complications through the Multi-Omics for Mothers and Infants (MOMI) Biorepository Platform. Abdullah Baqui, DrPH ’90, MPH ’85, a professor in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School, leads the project.

The platform builds off an existing pregnancy biobank in the Sylhet district of Bangladesh, known as AMANHI-Bangladesh. The AMANHI-Bangladesh biobank contains biological samples from mothers and infants and related clinical and epidemiological data. Researchers use the sample and data collected by the biobank to identify biological and genetic markers that may predict a mother’s increased risk of adverse outcomes including preeclampsia, preterm birth, and small for gestational age (smaller or less developed than normal for the baby’s sex and gestational age). 

Through the MOMI Biorepository Platform grant, researchers will maintain the existing biobank infrastructure and develop a scale-up plan that will include other biobank sites and partners. Researchers also aim to identify new insights and biomarkers for preterm birth and other pregnancy complications that will help to inform predictors and treatment options. The MOMI Biorepository Platform will also include capacity-building components for research staff and data scientists at the Bangladesh field site. 

The MOMI Biorepository Platform grant launched in January 2021 and will run through December 2023. In addition to Baqui, Bloomberg School faculty on the project grant includes Rasheda Khanam, PhD, MPH, an assistant scientist in the Department of International Health.