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2014 Vision Grant Awards Announced

Last Updated on Monday, September 15, 2014

Contact: Debbie Helton (321) 421-6957 [email protected]                                                                    

For Immediate Release

Vision Grant Awards Announced

Recipients Recognized at Annual Gala Event

Melbourne, Florida – September 15, 2014 – The Preeclampsia Foundation has announced that Erica Hammer, MD, and Terry K. Morgan, MD, PhD, are the recipients of its 2014 Vision Grants. These two $25,000 research grants were presented at the Foundation’s Saving Grace – A Night of Hope event held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on September 12, 2014.

Visions grants are awarded to the strongest scientific proposals recommended by the Foundation’s scientific review committee with a further review by a consumer advisory board. The Foundation’s Board of Directors renders the final decision on those recommendations.

Dr. Erica Hammer received a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in neuroscience and biology from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. After two years working in basic science laboratories, she attended the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Following this, she completed a residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Connecticut and practiced as a general Ob/Gyn for six years. Dr. Hammer returned to the University of Vermont and is now a Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellow. 

“I believe that our project, entitled The Role of Efflux Transporters on the Blood-Brain Barrier in Preventing Seizure During Pregnancy, could highlight an important mechanism that may be faulty in preeclampsia,” said Dr. Hammer. “For me, as a severe preeclampsia survivor, this is tremendously exciting.”

This project will investigate 1) a critical mechanism with which the blood-brain barrier minimizes exposure of the brain to seizure-provoking factors, and 2) how exposure to serum from pre-eclamptic women affects blood-brain barrier transporters, as circulating factors in those women may cause less effective protection, promoting seizure.

Dr. Terry Morgan received his MD and PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Utah and then completed residency training at Stanford University with an emphasis in Gynecologic and Placental Pathology. He is currently an Associate Professor of Pathology and Obstetrics & Gynecology at Oregon Health & Science University, and a scientist in the Knight Cardiovascular Institute.

“I am a physician-scientist who has dedicated my life to preeclampsia research,” said Dr. Morgan. “This commitment has been reinforced by the Preeclampsia Foundation and all of the parents I speak with each year during the Foundation’s annual awareness-building event, the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia™.”

Dr. Morgan’s project is entitled VEGF Gene Delivery to Uterine Spiral Arteries by Ultrasound-Mediated Cavitation of Plasmid-Conjugated Microbubbles Prevents Placental Insufficiency.  His research team proposes to rescue spiral artery growth and normalize utero-placental blood flow in a transgenic mouse model of pregnancy-induced hypertension by using vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-conjugated microbubbles and ultrasound to target transfection to these uterine blood vessels and increase VEGF expression.  dll of the parents I speak with each


About the Preeclampsia Foundation:  The Preeclampsia Foundation is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2000. It is dedicated to providing patient support and education, raising public awareness, catalyzing research and improving health care practices, envisioning a world where preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy no longer threaten the lives of mothers and babies. For more information, visit www.preeclampsia.org.



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