- Senior Investigator, Program in Perinatal Research and Obstetrics Unit
Dr. Roberto Romero is Chief of the Perinatology Research Branch and Head of the Program for Perinatal Research and Obstetrics in the Division of Intramural Research of NICHD. The branch is currently housed at Wayne State University School of Medicine/Detroit Medical Center in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Romero trained in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale University and completed his Fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Subsequently, he joined the faculty and became the Director of Perinatal Research. In 1992, he became Chief of the Perinatology Research Branch of NICHD/NIH. Over the course of his career, Dr. Romero's work has focused on the early diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy, the prenatal diagnosis of congenital anomalies, and the study of the mechanisms of disease responsible for pregnancy complications (preterm labor, preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, fetal death, fetal systemic inflammation, cerebral palsy, etc.). The Perinatology Research Branch uses a multidisciplinary approach to study complications of pregnancy, which include the disciplines of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Neonatology, Placental Pathology, Perinatal Epidemiology, and High-Dimensional Biology (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and computational biology) as well as Immunology, Microbiology, and Nanomedicine. An author of over 850 peer-reviewed publications and several books, Dr. Romero is the recipient of countless awards and recognitions by his peers, including the President's Achievement Award from the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, Research Excellence Awards from the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Central Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Erich Saling Award from the World Association of Perinatal Medicine, and the Ian Donald Gold Medal for contributions to Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is also the recipient of seven Doctorate Honoris Causa from universities all over the world, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of the United States. Trainees of Dr. Romero have attained prominent positions of leadership worldwide in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Dr. Romero’s work in premature labor has focused on the role of infection and inflammation in spontaneous preterm labor and delivery. His research team described the involvement of cytokines and chemokines in the initiation of human labor and the fetal inflammatory response syndrome, as well as the preterm parturition syndrome. The Perinatology Research Branch recently reported the results of a multinational randomized clinical trial demonstrating that vaginal progesterone administration to women with a sonographic short cervix reduced the rate of preterm birth by 45% and the rate of respiratory distress syndrome by 61%. It is estimated that universal screening of pregnant women to determine cervical length with ultrasound and the administration of vaginal progesterone would save the United States $500-$700 million per year. The Perinatology Research Branch has a strong emphasis on translational research and has recently demonstrated that a nanotechnology-based drug treatment can reverse cerebral palsy (CP) in an animal model of fetal neuroinflammation. The findings suggest that there is a window of opportunity immediately after birth for drug treatment that could minimize CP. The study is the first to show that an anti-inflammatory drug delivered with a nanodevice can dramatically improve the symptoms of CP in an animal model.
- (2020). Optical ultrasound simulation-based training in obstetric sonography. Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine.
- (2020). Prenatal Maternal Stress Causes Preterm Birth and Affects Neonatal Adaptive Immunity in Mice. Frontiers in Immunology. 11,
- (2020). Separating the signal from the noise in metagenomic cell-free DNA sequencing. Microbiome. 8(1),
- (2019). Gasdermin D: Evidence of pyroptosis in spontaneous preterm labor with sterile intra-amniotic inflammation or intra-amniotic infection. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF REPRODUCTIVE IMMUNOLOGY. 82(6),
- (2019). Inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome can prevent sterile intra-amniotic inflammation, preterm labor/birth, and adverse neonatal outcomes. BIOLOGY OF REPRODUCTION. 100(5), 1306-1318.
- (2020). A new rapid bedside test to diagnose and monitor intraamniotic inflammation in preterm PROM using transcervically collected fluid. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY. 223(3),
- (2020). Cellular immune responses in amniotic fluid of women with a sonographic short cervix. JOURNAL OF PERINATAL MEDICINE. 48(7), 665-676.
- (2020). Pregnancy-specific transcriptional changes upon endotoxin exposure in mice. JOURNAL OF PERINATAL MEDICINE. 48(7), 700-722.
- (2020). MicroRNAs isolated from peripheral blood in the first trimester predict spontaneous preterm birth. PLoS One. 15(8),