E.J. McCarthy

The effects of genetic engineering on biomechanic output

Based upon recent statistics published by the US Centers for Disease Control, 15-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and of those delivered, 11% are preterm. My proposed PhD in Engineering seeks to reduce these numbers, as both pose a significant risk to fetal and maternal health. During my time at Cambridge, I intend to study the application of gene and gene vector design to aspects of controllability in developmental biology. In particular, I plan on directing these applications towards cell and animal models which parallel troublesome clinical conditions in humans during pregnancy. These conditions include the likes of placental abruption, non-receptive endometrium, and premature placental rupture. The intent would be to establish statistical linkages between the stated biomaterial associated with these conditions and their molecular profiles, and from these profiles induce genetic permutations to alleviate the stated conditions. The research I plan to undertake will seek to impact the approximately 25-28% of women who experience either miscarriage or preterm delivery during their pregnancy, as well as their unborn children. This work, if realized in its full capacity, may have the potential to impact millions of lives and lay the foundation for exciting cross disciplinary application in other areas of bioengineering, synthetic biology, and developmental biology.