Obstetric-Fetal Pharmacology Research Center (OPRC)
The Pittsburgh Obstetric-Fetal Pharmacology Research Center (OPRC) is composed of a multi-disciplinary group of investigators. Our diverse range of expertise and research interests enable us to foster research in maternal-fetal pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh and make meaningful contributions to the NICHD-sponsored Network of OPRCs. The current Pittsburgh OPRC has been part of the OPRU Network for the last 11 years and is headed by Steve Caritis, MD, PI with Raman Venkataramanan, PhD, as co-PI.
The OPRC is comprised of research and training/education programs within MWRI, Magee-Womens Hospital, and across the University of Pittsburgh.
The Research Core consists of both clinical and a basic/translational components. Magee-Womens Hospital hosts the clinical component and any trainees working on clinical projects, to facilitate access to potential subjects. The basic/translational component is housed at Salk Hall where Dr. Venkataramanan and many of our co-investigators have laboratories. Additional investigators are housed at Magee-Womens Research Institute, where both Drs. Venkataramanan and Caritis are members.
Clinical Research Facilities and Resources
Leadership for this component is provided by Dr. Caritis, who directs all aspects related to clinical research. The Clinical Component consists of UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital and its Neonatal Unit, the Clinical Research Center (CRC), the Magee Obstetrical Maternal and Infant (MOMI) database, and the research pharmacy at Magee.
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, with 11,000 deliveries annually — including a high percentage of pregnant women with medical and obstetrical disorders — provides a rich resource for pharmacologic study. The neonatal unit is located in the hospital and serves as a regional transport center.
The well-established Magee Obstetric Maternal and Infant (MOMI) Database and Biobank enables merging of pharmacologic and clinical data. The database provides a mechanism for tracking patients with a variety of disorders and enables linkage to other databases such as ultrasound and genetics.
A Clinical and Translational Research Center at Magee and neighboring Montefiore Hospital are part of the University of Pittsburgh’s NIH-funded General Clinical Research Center. These sites host our pharmacology based studies.
The Magee research pharmacy facilitates drug preparation and administration for patients receiving study medications at Magee or at the CRC.
Basic and Translational Research Expertise
Research expertise in the Pittsburgh OPRC includes:
- Hepatocyte Culture Facilities for drug metabolism and transporter studies
- Novel animal model systems to evaluate regulation of drug metabolism and transport
- Small Molecule Analytical Facilities to measure parent drug and metabolites
- Metabolomics Facilities to measure endogenous biochemical in plasma and urine
- Neurochemical Analysis for measurement of endogenous neurotransmitters
- Toxicology and TDM Facilities to measure drugs of abuse
- Molecular Biology Facilities for measurement of gene and m-RNA expression/microarray/protein measurements
- Addiction research
- PK-PD Analysis Facilities
- Magee-Womens Research Institute
Education and Training
The Education and Training Core provides both classroom training and research training for all trainees in the Pittsburgh OPRC. These opportunities are utilized to some degree by currently MFM and T-32 fellows. All fellows who participate in the OPRC training in Obstetric Pharmacology complete focused training in the fundamentals of pharmacology and clinical/basic/translational research. MFM fellows receive training in clinical research (study design, statistical methodologies) as part of their MFM fellowship. Those interested in Obstetric Pharmacology can receive additional classroom education in pharmacology methods through the ICRE or through courses at Salk Hall where Dr. Venkataramanan teaches several courses. The courses selected will help focus the trainee in the career path they have chosen. Drs. Caritis and Venkataramanan serve as career mentors for all trainees; other co-investigators may serve as research mentors for trainees in their lab.
Steve N Caritis, MD
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
300 Halket Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Assistant: Denise Chizmar, firstname.lastname@example.org
Raman Venkataramanan, PhD
University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy
3501 Terrace St Pittsburgh
718 Salk Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
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