Explore This Lab


Andrea Edlow, MD, MsC, is a member of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Faculty at Harvard Medical School and a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The laboratory of Andrea Edlow, MD, MSc, at Massachusetts General Hospital focuses on the effects of maternal obesity on fetal brain development and offspring behavior, and how these effects are modified by fetal sex.

Our lab was one of the first to use amniotic fluid supernatant and umbilical cord blood to investigate real-time fetal brain development in obese human pregnancy.

Gene expression profiling of these two biofluids identified abnormal gene expression signatures in fetuses of obese women, highlighting dysregulated brain development and increased inflammation.

Using a validated mouse model of maternal diet-induced obesity, we have demonstrated significant sex differences in the impact of maternal obesity on embryonic brain development, catecholamine neurotransmitter signaling, and offspring neurobehavior.

Maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation also significantly influences in utero brain development and offspring behavior.

Ultimately, we anticipate this work will provide targets for a lifestyle/behavioral intervention, and possibly for prenatal therapies that could be given orally to obese pregnant women, to reverse or ameliorate deleterious structural and functional changes.

In the News

NORCH Newsletter Investigator Spotlight: Andrea G. Edlow, MD, MSc

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Andrea Edlow, MD, MSc

Andrea Edlow, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School

Laboratory Staff

Sezen Kislal, PhD

Sezen Kislal, PhD – Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kislal completed her undergraduate studies in Biology at Hacettepe University in Turkey. After graduating, she completed a PhD at Pennsylvania State University in experimental psychology with special emphasis on context aversion learning, working in the laboratory of Dr. David Blizard. She also had the opportunity to work in the National Institute of Genetics in Mishima, Japan, where she studied the genetics of bitter taste in mice. After completing her PhD, to further explore the interactions between animal behavior and neuroscience, she joined Dr. Mehrdad Shamloo’s laboratory at Stanford University as a postdoctoral fellow. While in Dr. Shamloo’s laboratory she focused on novel therapeutic approaches in experimental models of stroke. She came back to the United States from Ankara to make Boston her new home while working as a post-doctoral fellow in the Edlow lab.

Lydia Shook, MD

Lydia Shook, MD – Clinical/Research Fellow

Pablo Llevenes, MS

Pablo Llevenes, MS – Lab Technician

Pablo is a Research Technician II working in the Edlow Laboratory.  Pablo came to us from Madrid, Spain, where he studied at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, earning a BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a MSc in Pharmacological Research.  Here, he works with Dr. Edlow and staff to study the effects of maternal obesity on fetal brain development and offspring behavior.

Lab Alumni

  • Ruthy Glass, PhD, postdoctoral fellow. Current position: Associate Consultant, IQVIA
  • William Jin, BS, lab technician. Current position: Master’s student, Boston University


Selected Publications

Edlow AG, Guedj F, Sverdlov D, Pennings JLA, Bianchi DW. Significant Effects of Maternal Diet During Pregnancy on the Murine Fetal Brain Transcriptome and Offspring Behavior. Front. Neurosci. 2019; 13(1335).

Edlow AG,
Chen M, Smith NA, Lu CA, McElrath T. Fetal Bisphenol A Exposure: Concentration of Conjugated and Unconjugated Bisphenol A in Amniotic Fluid in the Second and Third Trimesters. Reprod Toxicol. 34(1): 1-7, 2012.

Edlow AG, Bianchi DW. Tracking Fetal Development Through Molecular Analysis of Maternal Biofluids Biochim Biophys Acta. 1822(12):1970-80, 2012.

Chen M, Edlow AG, Lin T, Smith NA, McElrath T, Lu CA. Determination of bisphenol-A levels in human amniotic fluid samples by liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. J Sep Sci 34(14):1648-55, 2011.

Hui L, Wick HC, Edlow AG, Cowan JM, Bianchi DW. Global gene expression analysis of term amniotic fluid cell-free RNA: A window into fetal maturation. Obstet Gynecol 121(6):1248-54, 2013.

Edlow AG, Vora NL, Hui L, Wick HC, Cowan JM, Bianchi DW. Maternal obesity affects fetal neurodevelopmental and metabolic gene expression: a pilot study. PLoS One. 9(2):e88661, 2014.

Noto K, Majidi S, Edlow AG, Bianchi DW, Slonim D. CSAX: Characterizing Systematic Anomalies in eXpression Data. J Comput Biol 22(5):402-13, 2015.

Edlow AG, Slonim DK, Wick HC, Hui L, Bianchi DW. The Pathway Not Taken: Understanding 'Omics Data in the Perinatal Context. Am J Obstet Gynecol 213(1):59.e1-172, 2015.

Neri C, Edlow AG. Effects of Maternal Obesity on Fetal Programming: Molecular Approaches. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med, 2015 Sep 3;6. pii: a026591.

Edlow AG, Hui L, Wick HC, Fried I, Bianchi DW. Assessing the fetal effects of maternal obesity via transcriptomic analysis of cord blood: a prospective case-control study. BJOG 123(2): 180-189, 2016.

Edlow AG, Guedj F, Pennings JLA, Sverdlov D, Neri C, Bianchi DW. Males are from Mars, females are from Venus: sex-specific fetal brain gene expression signatures in a mouse model of maternal diet-induced obesity. Am J Obstet Gynecol 214(5):623.e1-623.e10, 2016.

Edlow AG. Maternal Obesity and Neurodevelopmental and Psychiatric Disorders in Offspring. Prenatal Diagnosis, 37(1):95-110, 2017. PMC5572633.

Mhatre M, Adeli S, Norwitz EN, Craigo S, Phillippe M, Edlow AG. The effect of maternal obesity on placental cell-free DNA release in a mouse model. Reprod Sci 2018, in press.