Yoel Sadovsky, MD

Executive Director, Magee-Womens Research Institute, Elsie Hilliard Hillman Chair of Women’s Health Research, Distinguished Professor of OBGYN, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Vice Chair (research), Department of OBGYN and Reproductive Sciences, Associate Dean, Women's Health Research and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh


The trophoblast at the feto-maternal interface fulfills functions that are critical for embryonic development, including gas exchange, supply of nutrients, removal of waste products, endocrine regulation, and immunological defense. The Sadovsky lab utilizes molecular and cellular approaches to decipher mechanisms underlying placental development, differentiation, and response to injury. We focus on three major areas:

  1. Placental microRNAs: We use diverse technologies to define the function and regulation of trophoblastic miRNA in response to injuries, such as hypoxia and viral infections.
  2. Extracellular vesicles at the maternal-placental-fetal interface: We interrogate the mechanisms of release and uptake of placental exosomes and other extracellular vesicles.
  3. Placental lipidomics: We focus on fat trafficking in the feto-placental unit, including the dynamics of lipid droplets and trophoblastic mobilization of fatty acids and neutral lipids, and their role in placental pathobiology and in the mechanisms underlying preterm birth.

Using cultured primary human placental cells, genetically-altered mice, and placental samples from human pregnancies, the lab examines molecular mechanisms underlying trophoblast response to diverse stressors that adversely influence the homeostatic balance between cell injury and adaptation. These stressors contribute to placental dysfunction and fetal growth restriction (FGR), which predispose to childhood neurodevelopmental dysfunction and adult metabolic syndrome.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Mouillet JF, Chu T, Nelson DM, Mishima T, Sadovsky Y. MiR-205 silences MED1 in hypoxic primary human trophoblasts. FASEB J 2010;24(6):2030-9.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20065103
  • Delorme-Axford E, Donker RB, Mouillet JF, Chu T, Bayer A, Ouyang Y, Wang T, Stolz DB, Sarker SN, Morelli AD, Sadovsky Y*, Coyne CB*.. Human placental trophoblasts confer viral resistance to recipient cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2013;110(29):12048-53. PMID23818581 (*equal contribution) Recommended by Faculty of 1000, August 2013. 2013 Cozzarrelli Prize recipient, Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23818581
  • Bayer A, Lennemann NJ, Ouyang Y, Bramley JC, Morosky S, Azevedo Marques TE, Jr, Cherry S, Sadovsky Y*, Coyne CB*. Type III interferions produced by human placental trophoblasts confer protection against Zika virus infection. Cell Host Microbe 2016;113(19):E2598-607. (*equal contribution)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27066743
  • Mishima T, Sadovsky E, Gegick M, Sadovsky Y. Determinants of effective lentivirus-drive microRNA expression in vivoSci Rep  2016;6:33345.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27627961  
  • Chang G, Mouillet JF, Mishima T, Chu T, Sadovsky E, Coyne CB, Parks WT, Surti U, Sadovsky Y. The expression and trafficking of placental microRNAs at the feto-maternal interface. FASEB J, in press, epub available.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28289056
  • Wu M, Ouyang Y, Wang Z, Zhang R, Huang P-H, Chen C, Li H, Li P, Quinn D, Dao M*, Suresh S*, Sadovsky Y*, Huang TJ*. Isolation of exosomes from whole blood by integrating acoustics and microfluidics. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, in press. (*equal contribution)

For additional publications, see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/collections/entrez/pubmed/47374913/


Services & Protocols

Isolation of primary human trophoblasts (PHTs) from the term placenta
Laboratory protocol for PHT isolation. Described also in: