Buxton Lab Presents in Florence, Italy

Department of Pharmacology

Dr. Chad Cowles presents poster in Florence, Italy

Dr. Chad Cowles presents poster in Florence, Italy

In March the Buxton and Burkin Laboratories attended the 61st annual meeting of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation and a satellite symposium hosted by the Preterm Birth International Collaborative in Florence, Italy. Talks and Posters were focused on transforming women's health via translational investigation. Medical complication associated with preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn mortality and Nevada has one of the highest preterm birth rates in the United States. The goals of the Myometrial Function group led by Dr. Iain Buxton at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine are to provide new methods to identify preterm labor risk, to better understand the fundamental nature of labor and parturition, and prevention of preterm labor and delivery through basic research on the human myometrium.

The focus in Dr. Buxton’s laboratory is on understanding mechanisms of uterine quiescence. Chad Cowles, Ph.D. presented ongoing work from the Buxton lab which demonstrated that TREK-1 a gestationally regulated, stretch activated ion channel could contribute to myometrial relaxation during pregnancy. Moreover, genetic splice variants of TREK-1 which were discovered in mothers who delivered preterm act as inhibitors of TREK-1 which might play a role in preterm labor. Craig Ulrich, Ph.D. presented work examining the proteome of pregnant human myometrium in different states of pregnancy to identify signaling networks that are disparate in preterm labor. Identification of these signaling networks will lead to a mechanistic understanding of why preterm labor occurs.

An estimated 10% of preterm births can be attributed to abnormal uterine stretch. Christian Copley-Salem, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Heather Burkin’s laboratory, presented data on cell signaling events that occur in response to stretch in pregnant human myometrium. Further defining the signaling pathways that regulate stretch-induced activation of the human myometrium may have implications for the treatment of preterm labor.