Welcome to the Lye Lab

In spite of significant medical advances in the past forty years, there has been no reduction in the incidence of preterm birth, even though it is associated with high newborn death and disease rates and with significant cognitive and behavioural problems in children and youth. Moreover, there is now compelling evidence that sub-optimal conditions for early development and preterm birth are linked with risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity and depression in adulthood. A better understanding of the complex genetic and environmental factors involved in pregnancy and birth will have a significant impact on Canadian health care by minimizing neonatal death and disability and improving lifelong health.

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Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)

The overall objective of our research program is to define gene-environment interactions that underlie the DOHaD with the expectation that such data would ultimately inform the development of intervention strategies to positively impact on the health and well-being of children and adults. Our program integrates both population and murine developmental genetic approaches in our understanding of DOHaD. 

Understanding the mechanisms responsible for the onset of labour

We are investigating whether the change in the myometrium from a dormant state to the contractile state that occurs during labour is caused by the activation of genes. The lab has shown that both mechanical signals (due to stretching of the myometrium) and endocrine signals are required to activate a cassette of genes called "contractile-associated proteins" (e.g. Cx­43 and oxytocin receptor) and initiate labour.

Diagnosis, prediction, and prophylaxis of preterm birth

We are utilizing a genome-wide analysis to predict the onset of human preterm birth, with the eventual aim of developing a diagnostic test for true preterm birth. A major advantage of this development is its improved sensitivity, which allows it to detect subtle dynamic property changes in response to our experimentation.