Myometrial Function Group

The Myometrial Function Group at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, headed by Dr. Iain Buxton, is committed to developing an entirely new understanding of preterm labor in women in order to contribute new therapeutic targets for the prevention of this devastating problem. Our goal is to map the human uterine smooth muscle proteome during pregnancy as well as the induction of labor and pre-term labor because the molecular mechanisms involved in uterine quiescence during gestation and the induction of labor at term in women is still unknown. Identifying proteins that are disparately regulated during labor and pre-term labor will give us and others a high confidence list of target protein networks in which to explore hypothesis driven approaches to prevent preterm labor. Preterm delivery is a global problem. The Buxton group is working to understand the genetic, proteomic and post-translational regulatory distinctions among term pregnancy, labor and spontaneous preterm labor in women in order to develop an effective treatment for preterm labor that allows a fetus to remain in the mother's womb until term. Predicting which mothers are at highest risk for preterm labor and discovering new therapeutic drug targets to prevent preterm labor is the goal of our research group.

We approach this problem from multiple directions, including research projects focused in the following areas:

  • Signaling pathways activated by stretch in human myometrium (Dr. Heather Burkin, Dr. Craig Ulrich and Christian Copley-Salem)
  • Nitric Oxide induced relaxation of human myometrium through novel S-nitrosation pathways (Dr. Craig Ulrich and Scott Barnett)
  • Genetic and pharmacological regulation of the potassium channel TREK-1 (Dr. Chad Cowles)