Dr. Kjersti Aagaard
Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine, United States
Dr. Kjersti Aagaard is the Henry and Emma Meyer Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine, where she serves as Vice Chair. She received her MD & PhD from the University of Minnesota/Mayo Clinic. Following her resident training at the University of Minnesota and MFM fellowship at the University of Utah, she joined the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Aagaard carries joint appointments in Molecular and Human Genetics, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine program, and Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is a member of the Center for Reproductive Medicine, Digestive Disease Center, Eisenberg Center for Decision Sciences, the Center for Microbiome and Metagenomics Research, and the School for Tropical Medicine. She is a co-Director in the MSTP MD PhD program, and actively mentors in her laboratory and clinical research programs over 20 graduate students, post doctoral fellows, clinical fellows, and junior faculty. Dr. Aagaard has worked globally for many years, and has focused on preterm birth in Malawi since 2011. She received the NIH Directors New Innovator Award in 2007, and the Michael Debakey Medal for Research Excellence in 2015.
Dr. Aagaard’s highly collaborative laboratory and clinical research teams are dedicated to discovering the genomic, epigenomic, and metagenomic mechanisms underlying perinatal health and disease. Her lab’s interest and publications in this arena date back to 2004 and have evolved into clinical and translational research in murine, nonhuman primate, and human studies. There are currently four major focuses in the Aagaard laboratory: (1) the effect of in utero exposures on the fetal epigenome, (2) understanding the genomic and epigenomic mechanisms involved in perinatal disorders and notably the developmental origins of adult metabolic disease, (3) understanding the role of the microbiome in perinatal health with metagenomic interrogations, and (4) understanding mechanisms of emerging infectious diseases such as Zika virus. Since receipt of her first K12 in 2005 as a MFM fellow, Dr. Aagaard has been continuously funded by NIH (NICHD, NIDDK, NIGMS and the Office of the Director), Burroughs Welcome Fund Preterm Birth Initiative, March of Dimes, and most recently the Gates Foundation/USAIDS and the Thrasher Foundation. Her research group focuses on relevant perinatal translational research, notably with “big team science” and highly collaborative multi-site and center approaches. They collectively aim to continue to function as a translational research environment for biologic and informatics investigators together to interact in a transdisciplinary manner, and bring to light highly relevant clinical questions with discovery and mechanistic science.