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Dr Louise Gaynor

Research Interests

Supervisors: Dr Francesco Colucci, Professor Ashley Moffett

Immunogenetics of uterine Natural Killer (uNK) cell and trophoblast interactions in placental development 

Defective placental development underlies major disorders of pregnancy including pre-eclampsia (PE), recurrent miscarriage (RM) and fetal growth restriction (FGR). Uterine NK cells account for 70% of decidual leukocytes in the first trimester of pregnancy and are thought to regulate trophoblast invasion and spiral artery remodelling through interactions between their highly polymorphic receptors (KIR) and polymorphic MHC class I expressed by the trophoblast, HLA-C (Hiby et al, 2010).


Using data from a prospective clinical cohort study at the Rosie Hospital, I will compare maternal KIR and maternal/fetal HLA-C status with mean uterine artery pulsatility index, used as an estimate of spiral arterial remodelling. Our group are currently using mouse models to enable us to investigate the contribution of the maternal NK cell repertoire and fetal MHC class I to reproductive outcome.


cross-sectional and cohort studies ; placenta ; immunohistochemistry ; trophoblast ; decidua ; KIR ; microscopy ; statistical analysis ; FACS ; uterine natural killer cells


  • reproductive immunology

Key Publications

Jens Kieckbusch, Louise M. Gaynor, Ashley Moffett & Francesco Colucci MHC-dependent inhibition of uterine NK cells impedes fetal growth and decidual vascular remodelling Nature Communications 2014: 5, 3359 doi:10.1038/ncomms4359