Who we are

and what we do

We are a group of researchers of the Medical University of Graz fascinated by how maternal and fetal factors drive pregnancy and placental function.
We analyse pregnancy associated factors and placental physiology in health and disease. Moreover, we have established a panel of cell and tissue culture methodology and functional assays which we combine with molecular cutting edge analyses to address our research questions in vitro.

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Renate Michlmaier

CTA

I am a chemotechnical assistant. I am doing primary cell culture and – according to my colleagues – I am the “good spirit” of the laboratory.

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Silvija Tokic

PhD, PI

The influence of fetal sex on intrauterine development, pregnancy outcome and the susceptibility for development of diseases in adulthood is well recognized. My research aim to identify the sex-differences in the biology of feto-placental vasculature in healthy and complicated pregnancies, and how these relate to disease susceptibility in later life.

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Monika Stubitsch

Team Assistant

As Team Assistant I support the team, help in any kind of administration, organisation and other issues. The only thing I can’t help with is science, but that’s the job of others anyways.

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Bettina Amtmann

Research Nurse

I am the connection between the lab and the other departments in the house, for example delivery room, outpatientin clinic, wards, etc. Together with my two colleagues try my best to coordinate clinical studies and provide the lab with required biological material and information. Whenever they call we are ready ;-)

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Michael Gruber

PhD Student

As PhD student my main task is the investigation of transfer kinetics of macromolecular/biological pharmaceuticals and artificial nanoparticles at the placental barrier. The main model I use is the ex-vivo placental perfusion with the follow up analytical challenges e.g. ELISA, CLSM, TEM and many more.

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Ursula Hiden

PhD, PI

My research interest is the feto-placental endothelium and how maternal metabolic derangements alter feto-placental endothelial function.

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Gernot Desoye

PhD, PI

For almost 30 years my main interest has been to understand the role of the placenta in mediating or protecting the fetus from the adverse maternal environment associated with diabetes and obesity.

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Ilaria Del Gaudio

PhD Student

I moved from Italy to follow my research interest as a PhD student here in Graz. I am working in the field of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in pregnancy and pregnancy-related diseases.

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Denise Hoch

PhD Student

As maternal obesity has been associated with both short- and long-term health effects for women as well as for their offspring, my PhD project focuses on maternal obesity associated stress response in early pregnancy.

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Carolin Schliefsteiner

PhD

My field of research is the lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in the fetus. I am interested how certain pathologies (e.g. diabetes or auto-immune diseases) influence fetal lipoprotein composition and functionality.

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Jasmin Strutz

BMA

As a lab manager I oversee primary cell culture and molecular biology methods in our lab. I am responsible for the lab organization and support our Bachelor-, Master- and PhD students. It is a pleasure for me to share my knowledge on (primary) cell culture in courses.

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Petra Winkler

Research Nurse

I connect the research lab with the delivery room and the outpatients clinics. I coordinate clinical studies and provide the researchers with study material such as placenta, maternal blood and cord blood. I enjoy to have contact to patients during pregnancy up to delivery.

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Evelyn Jantscher-Krenn

PhD, PI

My research interest is focused on Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO) and their novel roles in pregnancy. Fascinated by the finding that HMO are already present in the maternal and fetal circulation during pregnancy, I am interested in how these prenatal HMO are regulated and whether they impact pregnancy outcome, maternal and/or fetal health.

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Barbara Leopold

BMA

I am biomedical scientist and support the research lab team one day a week. I help people in the cell culture lab and in all fields of molecular biology. When I am not in the lab I like cycling, swimming, Yoga and everything else I can do together with my friends.

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Birgit Hirschmugl

PhD

My areas of interest are metabolic disorders during pregnancies and their impact on placental transfer, metabolism and function of complex lipids such as phospholipids.

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Hannah Appel

BMA

As a biomedical scientist investigate the effect of HMO and GDM on primary endothelial cells and perform molecular biological and immunological methods. In my free time I enjoy reading, hiking and traveling.

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Christian Wadsack

PhD, PI

As a biochemist by training my research interest focuses on understanding the contributing role of bioactive lipids on placental function to common and debilitating conditions of pregnancy e.g. gestational diabetes, obesity and preeclampsia.