2019 STAR Awards

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Star Award for Research

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Category: RESEARCH

The recipient of this award will demonstrate dedication to stillbirth prevention or care of bereaved families. Their work will represent understanding of the issues important to families with preference given to those who engage in collaborative efforts and emerging ideas.

The Nominees Are…….

Professor Vicki Flenady is the Director of this Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth (Stillbirth CRE), based at Mater Research Institute, The University of Queensland. Vicki is the Convenor of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand’s (PSANZ) Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Alliance and has lead the development of bi-national clinical guidelines on stillbirth and neonatal death management. Vicki is the Co-Chair of the Scientific Committee of the International Stillbirth Alliance. With a background in midwifery, clinical epidemiology and biostatistics, Vicki is involved in large-scale perinatal epidemiological studies on risk factors and data quality at a national and international level, with a focus on stillbirth prevention. Professor Flenady has over 150 publications and has authored four book chapters and numerous state-wide and hospital clinical outcome reports. She led two papers in The Lancet Stillbirths Series in 2011 and was a member of the Study Group for The Lancet’s 2016 Ending Preventable Stillbirths series, leading one paper and co-authoring four others.

Dr . Kliman has, in addition to an MD, a PhD in cellular biochemistry from the University of Chicago. He is currently a Research Scientist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine and the Director of the Reproductive and Placental Research Unit with a special interest in infertility and pregnancy complications. He has over thirty-five years of anatomic pathology training with particular emphasis in electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, endometrial and placental pathology. He has over ten patents, including the patient for the Endometrial Function Test (EFT) – “The soil test for the endometrium” and “Method and system for determining placental volume.” His contributions in the field of placental research include the development of the “Kliman” method of trophoblast purification, research into the mechanisms of trophoblast differentiation and invasion, the role and genesis of syncytial knots, the discovery of fetal fibronectin in the placenta, and more recently, the clinical utility of abnormalities in placental villous growth patterns, especially trophoblast invaginations and inclusions, to diagnose genetic abnormalities in pregnancy, including autism.

Dr. Nicholson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1984 and completed his residency in Family Medicine with the Duke-Watts Program in North Carolina in 1987. He was in private practice in Northeastern Connecticut until 1997, at which time he returned to the University of Pennsylvania to teach maternity care/obstetrics within that institution’s newly formed Family Medicine Residency Program At the University of Pennsylvania, he developed a research agenda that focused on the regular use of risk-based labor induction to lower cesarean delivery rates and published several major research papers. In 2012 Dr. Nicholson moved to the Penn State Hershey Family Medicine Residency Program and while there he spearheaded a study that identified an association in the USA between decreasing early term labor induction activity and increasing term stillbirth rates. This past December, Dr. Nicholson joined the Wellspan Medical Group in Central Pennsylvania. He continues to pursue research focusing on the impact of variable rates of labor induction on term pregnancy outcomes.

Dr. O’Brien is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology Sleep Disorders Center, a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Dr. O’Brien earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in physiology from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom in 1992. In 1998 she gained a PhD in physiology from Keele University, United Kingdom. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric sleep research at the University of Louisville, KY. Dr. O’Brien’s primary research interests include the impact of sleep disruption and its treatment in pregnancy and the association with adverse perinatal outcomes. She was responsible for developing collaborations between the Sleep Disorders Center and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and has held several NIH grants in support of this work. She has published over 60 original manuscripts and over a dozen invited reviews and book chapters. In addition, she participates in NIH study sections; is an Associate Editor for the journal SLEEP, and is a reviewer for over 45 medical journals, including the American Journal of Perinatology, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a founding member of the STARS Research Collaborative and the Principal Investigator for the soon to launch Pregnancy Research Project.

Robert M. Silver, MD is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center who joined the University of Utah Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division after completing his fellowship there in 1994. He is serving as the Chief of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and as Co-Director of Labor and Delivery at the UUHSC. Dr. Silver’s clinical and research interests include recurrent pregnancy loss and stillbirth, cesarean delivery, placenta accreta, vaginal birth after cesarean delivery, immunologic diseases in pregnancy, and medical disorders in pregnancy.

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