Mark Phillippe, MD, MHCM

Phillippe Lab: Mark Phillippe, MD, MHCM

The Phillippe Lab is investigating the mechanisms underlying preterm delivery in pregnant mothers.


The goal of Dr. Phillippe's previous research, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies, has been to elucidate the mechanisms underlying preterm delivery occurring in the presence of intrauterine inflammation, infection and hemorrhage. This previous research has included studies to address the mechanisms responsible for preterm delivery and the increased maternal morbidity/mortality during severe influenza infection.

Since joining the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology in 2012 as a senior investigator, Dr. Phillippe's research has addressed the novel hypothesis that cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) functions as a fetal/placental signal to trigger the spontaneous onset of labor (parturition) at the end of pregnancy.

As described in a scientific review article published in September 2015 in the journal Reproductive Sciences (2015; 22:1186-1201), Dr. Phillippe has proposed that cffDNA is released into the maternal plasma as a result of placental apoptosis in response to progressive telomere shortening in trophoblast cells.

The increased cffDNA activates the innate immune system through stimulation of TLR9 (a DNA-sensing pattern recognition receptor). This sequence of events then leads to activation of the proinflammatory signaling events that have been demonstrated by him and other investigators in this field to result in spontaneous parturition.

Thus this new research currently funded by the Burroughs Welcome Fund seeks to identify the missing link that triggers these inflammatory events leading to parturition in the absence of microbial invasion and intrauterine infection.

In addition to his clinical and administrative activities, Dr. Phillippe has been enaged in laboratory research as a physician scientist for more than 35 years. Dr. Phillippe has published over 95 biomedical papers, reviews and book chapters, presented over 130 scientific abstracts and given over 60 invited research presentations.

He has served on multiple scientific peer review committees for the NIH, the March of Dimes Foundation and other funding agencies; and he has served as a member on the Advisory Council for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Dr. Phillippe is a member of multiple national scientific and medical societies, including the Society for Reproductive Investigation, the Perinatal Research Society, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the American Gynecologic and Obstetrical Society, the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the American Society for Cell Biology and the American Association of Physician Leadership.

Group Members

Mark Phillippe, MD, MCHM

Mark Phillippe, MD, MCHM
Investigator, Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology
Professor in Residence, Harvard Medical School

Clinical Research Fellow
Kaitlyn Edelson, MD

Laboratory Staff
Michala Sawyer, Research Technician I


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