Myriam Hemberger

Dr. Myriam Hemberger, PhD

Positions

Professor

Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Professor

Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Medical Genetics

Precision Medicine & Disease Mechanisms Program Director

Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute

Child Health & Wellness Researcher

Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute, Owerko Centre

Contact information

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Kelly Johnston
Senior Communications Specialist

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Background

Educational Background

Doctor of Philosophy , University of Freiburg, 1999

M.Sc. , University of Freiburg, 1996

Research

Areas of Research

Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
Epigenetics
Trophoblast and placental biology
Reproduction
Stem Cells
Activities

Defects of the placenta are often at the root of common pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, and still birth. Despite significant advances in obstetrics and placental biology, disorders of pregnancy still occur frequently, and are particularly prevalent in obese or older mothers. With few treatment options available, these defects result in considerable maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and can have long-lasting impact on disease predisposition well into adulthood. The precise causes of these pregnancy complications remain poorly understood. Thus, research in this area is of utmost relevance for improving population health through precision medicine at ACHRI and UCalgary.

A key focus of Dr Hemberger’s work at ACHRI will be on establishing new cellular models that can better model the earliest stages of pregnancy when key steps in development of the placenta take place. This developmental time has been notoriously difficult to study for ethical and practical reasons. Dr Hemberger’s work will employ placenta-derived stem cell and organoid models – i.e. “organ in a dish approaches” - to overcome these limitations. These approaches are at the forefront of the research field, and offer unprecedented possibilities to study placental development in health and disease.

Participation in university strategic initiatives

Awards

  • March of Dimes and Richard B. Johnston, Jr. MD, Prize in Developmental Biology, March of Dimes. 2019

Publications

  • Defects in placental syncytiotrophoblast cells are a common cause of developmental heart disease. Radford B.N., Zhao X., Glazer T., Eaton M., Blackwell D., Lo Vercio L.D., Devine J., Shalom-Barak T., Hallgrimsson B., Cross J.C., Sucov H.M., Barak Y., Dean W. and Hemberger M. . Nature Communications. 14: 1174. (2023)
  • Advanced maternal age differentially affects embryonic tissues with the most severe impact on the developing brain. Kokorudz C., Radford B.N., Dean W. and Hemberger M.. Cells. 12: 76. (2023)
  • Mechanisms and function of de novo DNA methylation in placental development reveals an essential role for DNMT3B. Andrews S., Krueger C., Hemberger M., Dean W., Perez-Garcia V. and Hanna C.. Nature Communications. 14: 371. (2023)