Ramkumar Menon, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA
Dr. Menon has been working in the area of Perinatal Biology and Reproductive Immunology for the past 24 years with emphasis in preterm birth (PTB). Dr. Menon, using in vitro and in vivo systems, has studied the mechanistic factors associated with PTB especially in response to infectious agents. Dr. Menon has published extensively in the areas of racial disparity in biomarkers and genetic markers associated with PTB. As a perinatal genetic epidemiologist, Dr. Menon has established the Nashville Birth Cohort, a biobank where over 3000 subjects are enrolled and samples and data are stored. A biobank/tissue bank has been established along with a wealth of demographic and clinical datasets for identifying risk factors of preterm birth (PTB) in African Americans and Caucasians in an urban Nashville population. Using these samples, Dr. Menon has conducted extensive perinatal genetic epidemiologic studies to understand the genetic predisposition and interaction between gene variants and environment in producing dynamic changes in the biomarker profile leading to distinct pathophysiologic pathways of preterm labor in African Americans and Caucasians. Dr. Menon has reported both maternal and fetal genetic contributions to PTB in different races. These findings have refuted the universality of risk factors and their operational pathways in different racial groups associated with PTB. Dr. Menon is currently studying premature placental aging in preterm birth and physiologic aging of fetal membranes in normal term birth to support his hypothesis that fetal cell senescence triggers parturition. As an advisor to World Health Organization’s maternal and child health branch, Dr. Menon contributed to the very first report on the Global Preterm Birth Rate and recently published systematic reviews of genetic, behavioral, BMI and biomarker risk factors associated with PTB. Dr. Menon is collaborating with numerous researchers around the globe studying genetic, epigenetic, and environmental risk factors of PTB. Dr. Menon has published over 130 peer-reviewed papers, 22 review articles and 7 book chapters, all of which are on preterm birth and PTB.