Fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine

David S. McKenna, M.D., Director


The fellows have 12 months of blocked, protected research time. There are nine additional months of scheduled elective time, which will be tailored to the fellow’s interest and  may be used for research. The actual amount of time spent on basic science vs. clinical research is up to the individual fellow and his or her research mentor, but each fellow is required to complete at least one basic science project (see below) and one clinical research project.

During the first year, the first four months of blocked research time are dedicated to the “Introduction of Laboratory Techniques.” Fellows learn and perform basic laboratory techniques and formulate a basic science project under the tutelage of David Cool, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology and director of the Proteome Analysis Laboratory.During the last two months of the first year and the first two months of the second year, fellows will complete a basic science research project. The blocked research time in the second and third years is tailored to the individual fellow’s interests. Each fellow is expected to complete and publish at least one basic science and one clinical research project, however the curriculum is designed to accommodate many more projects and publications. Miami Valley Hospital is a Satellite Site for the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Unit of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the fellows have the opportunity to participate in the large cutting-edge multicenter studies of the network.

Diggs Lab
The Matthew O. Diggs III Laboratory for Life Science Research at Wright State University.


There is a monthly Fellow’s Research Conference where the fellows' research plans and progress are reviewed. The research conference also serves as a forum for faculty oversight and mentoring of the fellows’ research.

The following is a sampling of current faculty and fellow research projects:
  1. A randomized double blind placebo trial of antenatal late preterm steroids (ALPS)*
  2. A randomized comparison of fetal ST-segment analysis vs. conventional electronic fetal monitoring (STAN)*
  3. A randomized trial of hyperimmune intravenous gamma globulin for the treatment of congenital fetal cytomegalovirus infection*
  4. First trimester screening for preeclamsia
  5. Maternal and fetal metabolomic profiles in normal and complicated pregnancies
  6. Shortening fraction of the right ventricle: A comparison between fetuses with and without tricuspid regurgitation at 11+0 to 13+6 weeks’ gestation.
  7. Proteomic evaluation of amniotic fluid in women with an asymptomatic short cervix in the second trimester
  8. Proteomics in cervicovaginal secretions in women symptomatic of preterm labor in the third trimester
  9. Antenatal predictors of neonatal survival
  10. Antenatal estimation of birthweight in fetuses with gastroschisis
  11. Effect of Maternal hyperglycemia on placental vascular responsiveness in the ex vivo cotyledon
  12. Measurement of first trimester cervical length
  13. A comparison of sonographic 3D volume cervical length measurement to the cervical length measurement in fresh pathological specimens
  14. A comparison of 12 vs. 24 hour betamethasone dosing regimens’ functional in vitro effects in a lung cell tissue culture model
  15. Second trimester fetal prefrontal space ratio as a screen for Down syndrome
  16. Fetal cavum septum pellucidum measurements and risk for trisomy 18

*These studies are network studies of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Unit of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Fellows will receive protected and structured instruction in both basic science and clinical research. Fellows will receive specific instruction in study design and biostatistics.  During the first year the fellow serves on the hospital ethics committee, under the supervision of Dr. David Uddin, Ph.D. Dr. Uddin is the vice chairman of the MVH Institutional Review Board (IRB) and chair of the MVH Ethics Committee. He provides training to the fellows on bioethics, HIPPA and IRB processes and board membership. The second-year fellow serves on the hospital IRB.

Dr. Harry Khamis, Ph.D., professor of mathematics and statistics and director of the Statistical Consulting Centerat Wright State University, is available for consultation on research design and statistics. Dr. Khamis periodically attends the monthly Fellow's Research Meetings. It is required that each fellow receive approval from Dr. Khamis on the design and methods of his or her thesis prior to starting the project. The fellows receive didactic instruction from both Dr. Uddin and Dr. Khamis on bioethics and research methods and design during the monthly conferences.