Obstetrics and Gynecology Research

Department Overview

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology includes the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, which provides consultation and testing for high-risk pregnancies, and the Division of Fetal Imaging providing diagnostic sonographic imaging and genetic testing. The Family Birth Center provides a comfortable, family friendly setting for over 5000 deliveries a year and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care nursery. Royal Oak Beaumont is a teaching hospital with 24 residents in the Obstetrics and Gynecology program.

The focus of Obstetrical Research is "Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms". Our clinical researchers currently coordinate 11 trials in various stages of patient enrollment and follow-up.

Active Research

A current trial involves using 3D Ultrasound to learn about human growth as we follow diabetic and IVF patients during their pregnancies and collect maternal and paternal blood along with cord blood at delivery.

Non-invasive hemodynamic measurements are being used in several other studies. The goal of one trial is to determine if pregnant women with chronic hypertension can experience improved blood pressure control and pregnancy outcome using hemodynamic measurements to guide blood pressure therapy. Another study is investigating a possible cause and prevention of preeclampsia.

The nature of many pregnancy-related complications, including perinatal infections and congenital anomalies, are poorly understood by the medical community. A recent NIH-sponsored workshop in Reproductive Health Research Development has recommended that "tissue, blood, and placental banks from human and relevant animal models should be developed to aid in understanding how prenatal conditions relate to pathological consequences in adult life." Our Trio Bank study collects blood samples from the mother, the father and the umbilical cord after delivery and stores the samples for future research to aid in understanding how prenatal conditions relate to disease in adult life.

New research is looking into ways to test the fetal material in the maternal blood to see if it can accurately predict the fetal chromosomes. The development of a prenatal aneuploidy test has the potential to limit the number of future amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) procedures, with savings in health care costs and pregnancy loss.

Key research areas include:

  • three-dimensional and four-dimensional ultrasound
  • fetal MRI
  • non-invasive maternal hemodynamic testing
  • causes and prevention of preeclampsia
  • Trio Bank specimen collection
  • alternatives to invasive genetic testing

Principal Investigators

Name Research of Interest
Wesley Lee, M.D.
Attending Physician
3D/4D Ultrasound
Richard Bronsteen, M.D.
Attending Physician
Ultrasound, Genetic Testing
John Uckele, M.D.
Attending Physician
Preeclampsia
Sarah Goetz, M.D.
Resident, OB/GYN
Penicillin Levels in Umbilical Blood
Kami Palmer, M.D.
Resident, OB/GYN
Side Effects of Oral Contraceptives
Christian Bogner
Attending Physician
Hemodynamics in Pregnancy, Preeclampsia

Awards and Honors

Wesley Lee MD, Fetal Imaging, received first place for the Alfred Kratochwil Award for Best Paper on 3D Ultrasound for his scientific abstract presentation titled: Derivation of New Fetal Weight Estimation Models Using Fractional Limb Volume. An oral presentation was made at the 19th World Congress of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Hamburg, Germany this past September.

Christine Comstock, MD, Fetal Imaging, received the Modern Dr. John Morgan award for Outstanding Medical and Education Teaching Award presented at a ceremony by William Beaumont Hospital.

John Uckele, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology, received the APGO Teaching Award from the Departmental Residency Program.