Explore This Lab


The goal of Dr. Phillippe's long-standing research has been to elucidate the molecular, cellular and cell-signaling mechanisms involved in and leading to the onset of both term and preterm labor (parturition).

Dr. Phillippe’s research utilizes in-vitro cell, placental and fetal membrane explant cultures, and in-vivo timed-pregnant mouse models to assess agonist-induced preterm delivery, the innate immune responses, and the molecular signaling pathways activated by the gestational tissues. 

Current Projects

Current studies in Dr. Phillippe’s laboratory address the novel hypothesis that a telomere-based gestational clock leads to apoptosis of the gestational tissues (i.e., the placental and fetal membrane), cell-free DNA (cfDNA) release by these gestational tissues, and increased production of proinflammatory mediators that ultimately result in the onset of parturition. 

Studies are ongoing to assess the effects of cadmium-induced oxidative stress on telomere shortening in the gestational tissues of timed-pregnant mice leading to preterm pregnancy loss, and the ability of antioxidants vitamins and N-acetyl cysteine to reverse this effect.

To better understand the common final pathway leading to the onset of parturition, other ongoing studies in the laboratory involve assessment of the innate immune response induced by cell-free DNA released by the gestational tissues from near term pregnant mice.

Who We Are

Meet our team

Mark Phillippe, M.D., MHCM

Physician-Investigator, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital

Professor in Residence of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School

Gynecologists/Obstetrician, Massachusetts General Hospital

After earning his B.S. and M.D. degrees at Northwestern University in Chicago, Dr. Phillippe completed his residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Boston Hospital for Women and his fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Phillippe also earned a M.S. degree in Health Care Management (MHCM) from the Harvard School of Public Health. During his academic career, Dr. Phillippe has held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School, the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and the University of Vermont College of Medicine. In addition to providing patient care as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine subspecialist, Dr. Phillippe has been engaged in laboratory-based translational research as a physician-scientist throughout his career. Dr. Phillippe has published over 110 biomedical papers, reviews and book chapters, and co-authored over 145 scientific abstracts. He has served on multiple local and national scientific peer review committees; and he is a member of multiple national biomedical research and professional societies.

Amjad Pervez Khan, PhD

Research Scientist

Dr. Khan earned his Ph.D. degree from the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology CSRI in New Delhi, India. Subsequently, he completed postdoctoral research fellowships in the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, both at the University of Michigan. Before joining the Phillippe laboratory, Dr. Khan held a research scientist position in the Wellman Center at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Khan has received multiple speaking and research awards. He has co-authored multiple highly cited scientific publications in journals including Nature, Neoplasia, Nature Medicine, Journal of Clinical Medicine, Analytic Biochemistry, etc.



Phillippe M, Adeli S.  Cell-free DNA Release by Mouse Placental Explants.  PLoS One 2017;12(6):e0178845. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178845.  PMC5473530

Goldfarb I, Adeli S, Berk T, Phillippe M.  Fetal and Placental Stimulation of TLR9: a Mechanism Possibly Contributing to the Proinflammatory Events during Parturition.  Reproductive Sciences  2018;25:788 – 796.  doi: 10.1177/1933719117728798 [Epub in Sept 2017].  PMID: 28884630

Sawyer MR, Adeli S, Phillippe M. Cell-Free DNA Release by Mouse Fetal Membranes. Reprod Sci  2019;26:847-857. doi: 10.1177/1933719118817659. Epub 2018 Dec 20.PMID: 30572800. PMID: 30572800

Phillippe M, Sawyer MR, Edelson PK. The Telomere Gestational Clock: Increasing Short Telomeres at Term in the Mouse. Am J Obstet and Gynecol 2019;220: 496.e1-496.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.01.218. Epub 2019 Jan 25.  PMID: 30690015

Liff I, Adeli S, Goldfarb IT, Sawyer MR, Phillippe M.  Modulation of IL10 and its Receptor Subunits in Normal and Progesterone-Prolonged Gestation in the Mouse.  Reproductive Sciences 2020 Feb;27(2):555-560. doi: 10.1007/s43032-019-00022-7. Epub 2020 Feb 3.Reprod Sci. 2020. PMID: 32016805

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