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March Of Dimes Database for Preterm Birth Research

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Preterm birth (PTB), or the delivery of an infant prior to 37 weeks of gestation, is a significant cause of infant morbidity and mortality. Globally, about 11% of infants are born prematurely every year, totaling nearly 15 million births. Infants born preterm are at risk for a variety of adverse outcomes, such as respiratory illness, blindness, and cerebral palsy, with associated complications resulting in nearly one million deaths each year. The March of Dimes (MOD), the leading nonprofit for pregnancy and baby health, is dedicated to improving the health of moms and babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Only modest progress has been made in identifying the underlying causes of preterm birth so the March of Dimes has now made this a top research priority. To foster a new model of collaboration with the hope of leading to transformative discoveries, five March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers were launched. The goals are to integrate scientists from individual disciplines and to form innovative collaborations that can accelerate research discoveries.

The MOD Database for Preterm Birth Research, led by Marina Sirota, PhD and Atul Butte, MD, PhD from the Institute for Computational Health Sciences at UCSF as part of the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Stanford aims to organize scientific data and research across the five MOD-funded Prematurity Research Centers with the goal of enhancing research collaboration and coordination to accelerate the overall pace of discovery in this field. The data in the repository is diverse and includes genomic, transcriptomic, immunological and microbiome data. In addition, we are augmenting relevant datasets from participating laboratories with public and government databases and private data sources. Our data-sharing efforts combined with powerful bioinformatics tools provide an unprecedented opportunity to apply precision medicine strategies to preterm birth research. We hope this work will lead to discovery of novel diagnostic biomarkers and ultimately aid in formulating more effective interventional strategies for the management and prevention of preterm birth.


GEneSTATION, part of the MOD funded Ohio Collaborative, is a gene specific data portal that aims to synthesize diverse genomic, transcriptomic and evolutionary data for pregnancy-related tissues and phenotypes.

The goal of this effort, which is established and managed at the Penn MOD Center, is to house clinical data and carry out biospecimen tracking for MOD funded studies. Login is needed in order to access the data.




March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center (PRC) Datasets



Center Themes
Center Studies

Bioinformatics and Data Integration, Infection/ Inflammation Discovery, Transcriptome and Preterm Birth.

  • SDY465 Exploring the human maternal microbiome and its contribution to preterm birth
  • SDY475 Characterization of the human maternal immune response 6 months or greater post delivery via cytometry Time-of-Flight(CyTOF)
  • SDY673 Characterization of maternal serum gene expression and microbiome
  • SDY1164 Vaginal microbial signature for preterm birth
  • SDY1157 Immune response throughout human pregnancy
  • SDY1175 Human microbiome characterization through massive shotgun sequencing of circulating cell-free DNA

Evolutionary Synthesis of Human Pregnancy, Genetics of Unique Human Populations, The Molecular Developmental Biology of Pregnancy, Progesterone Signaling in Pregnancy Maintenance and Preterm Birth, Sociobiology of Racial Disparities in Preterm Birth

  • SDY776 Causal Relationship of Maternal Height on Birth Size and Gestational Age at Birth
  • SDY1155 RNA-Seq and miRNA-Seq of Human Placenta
  • SDY1173 Genetic Associations with Gestational Duration and Spontaneous Preterm Birth

High-Speed Functional Photoacoustic Endoscopy for Assessment of Cervical Remodeling, Three-Dimensional Electrophysiology of the Uterus, The Influence of Chronodisruption on Risk of Preterm Birth.

  • Stay tuned.

Bioenergetics and Genetics, Cervical Remodeling, Placental Dysfunction.

  • SDY775 Evaluating differences between healthy placental microbiome and contamination control sample microbiomes

Regulatory Systems Across Reproductive Tissues and Cells, Transcriptional and Epigenetic Reponses to Maternal Stress and Novel Cell Models of Pregnancy.

  • Stay tuned.




March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers (PRC) Research Highlights



Genetic associations with gestational duration and spontaneous preterm birth.
Zhang G, Feenstra B, Bacelis J, Liu X, Muglia LM, Juodakis J, Miller DE, Litterman N, Jiang PP, Russell L, Hinds DA, Hu Y, Weirauch MT, Chen X, Chavan AR, Wagner GP, Pavličev M, Nnamani MC, Maziarz J, Karjalainen MK, Rämet M, Sengpiel V, Geller F, Boyd HA, Palotie A1, Momany A, Bedell B, Ryckman KK, Huusko JM, Forney CR, Kottyan LC, Hallman M, Teramo K, Nohr EA, Davey Smith G, Melbye M, Jacobsson B, Muglia LJ.
N Engl J Med. September, 2017
PMID: 28877031
Relevant study: GeneStation and SDY1173


Simultaneously Monitoring Immune Response and Microbial Infections During Pregnancy through Plasma cfRNA Sequencing.
Pan W, Ngo TTM, Camunas-Soler J, Song CX, Kowarsky M, Blumenfeld YJ, Wong RJ, Shaw GM, Stevenson DK, Quake SR.
Clin Chem September, 2017
PMID: 28904056
Relevant study: SDY673


Replication and refinement of a vaginal microbial signature of preterm birth in two racially distinct cohorts of US women.
Callahan BJ, DiGiulio DB, Goltsman DSA, Sun CL, Costello EK, Jeganathan P, Biggio JR, Wong RJ, Druzin ML, Shaw GM, Stevenson DK, Holmes SP, Relman DA
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. September, 2017
PMID: 28847941
Relevant study: SDY1164


Numerous uncharacterized and highly divergent microbes which colonize humans are revealed by circulating cell-free DNA
Kowarsky M, Camunas-Soler J, Kertesz M, De Vlaminck I, Koh W, Pan W, Martin L, Neff NF, Okamoto J, Wong JR, Kharbanda S, El-Sayed Y, Blumenfeld Y, Stevenson DK, Shaw GM, Wolfe ND, Quake SR
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. August, 2017
PMID: 28830999
Relevant study: SDY1175


Comprehensive RNA profiling of villous trophoblast and decidua basalis in pregnancies complicated by preterm birth following intra-amniotic infection
Ackerman WE, Buhimschi IA, Eidem HR, Rinker DC, Rokas A, Rood K, Zhao G, Summerfield TL, Landon MB, Buhimschi CS
Placenta August, 2016
PMID: 27452435
Relevant study: SDY1155


Temporal and spatial variation of the human microbiota during pregnancy
DiGiulio DB, Callahan BJ, McMurdie PJ, Costello EK, Lyell DJ, Robaczewska A, Sun CL, Goltsman DSA, Wong RJ, Shaw G, Stevenson DK, Holmes SP, Relman DA
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. August, 2015
PMID: 26283357
Relevant study: SDY465


Implementing mass cytometry at the bedside to study the immunological basis of human diseases: distinctive immune features in patients with a history of term or preterm birth.
Gaudillière B, Ganio EA, Tingle M, Lancero HL, Fragiadakis GK, Baca QJ, Aghaeepour N, Wong RJ, Quaintance C, El-Sayed YY, Shaw GM, Lewis DB, Stevenson DK, Nolan GP, Angst MS.
Cytometry A. July, 2015
PMID: 26190063
Relevant study: SDY475




Relevant Resources for Preterm Birth Research
Publicly Available Data to Facilitate Future Discoveries


Title Study ID Database Type Number of Samples Tissue Paper ID
Whole blood gene expression profile associated with spontaneous preterm birth GSE46510 GEO Transcriptomics 154 samples Maternal Blood 24828675
Maternal Whole Blood Gene Expression at 18 and 28 weeks of Gestation Associated with Spontaneous Preterm Birth in Asymptomatic Women GSE59491 GEO Transcriptomics 326 samples Maternal Blood 27333071
Unique inflammatory transcriptome profiles at the maternal fetal interface and onset of human preterm and term birth GSE73685 GEO Transcriptomics 183 samples Amion, Cord Blood, Desidua, Maternal Blood Unpublished
The vaginal microbiota of pregnant women who subsequently have spontaneous preterm labor and delivery and those with a normal delivery at term PRJNA242473 SRA Microbiome 349 samples Vaginal Microbiome PMC4066267
Genome-Wide Association Study of Preterm Birth phs000332.v2.p2 dbGAP Genetics 1779 samples Blood Unpublished
NICHD Genomic and Proteomic Network for Preterm Birth Research (GPN) phs000714.v1.p1 dbGAP Genetics 2928 samples Blood Unpublished
Genome-Wide Association Studies of Prematurity and Its Complications (African American) phs000353.v1.p1 dbGAP Genetics 3478 samples Blood 19336370, 18787502, 17855807, 17805208, 21145756
Whole Genome Study for De Novo Mutation Rates phs001055.v1.p1 dbGAP Genetics 2397 samples 27322544, 26781218, 27322544
The Placenta Harbors a Unique Microbiome phs000735.v1.p1 dbGAP Microbiome 48 samples Placenta 24848255
The Vaginal Microbiome: Disease, Genetics and the Environment phs000256.v3.p2 dbGAP Microbiome 3474 samples Vaginal Microbiome Unpublished
Response of women during pregnancy to the inactivated influenza virus vaccine SDY37 ImmPort ELISA, Cytokines 55 samples Maternal Blood 22198680
Immune response of patients during pregnancy SDY36 ImmPort Vaccine Response 300 samples Maternal Blood 22353963
Investigating Human Placentation and Pregnancy Using First Trimester Chorionic Villi phs001320.v1.p1 dbGAP Transcriptomics 58 samples Chorionic villus sampling Unpublished
STAMPEED: Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (NFBC1966) phs000276.v2.p1 dbGAP Genetics 5415 samples Blood 19060910
Database for Preterm Birth NA dbPTB Genetic Associations NA Blood PMC3275764