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About Barbra de Vrijer

Dr. Barbra de Vrijer is an obstetrician involved in research on pregnancy risk factors and complications in the context of maternal and fetal health outcomes, with a long-term goal to improve health outcomes for mothers, including those with a high BMI, and newborn children.

Asset Map Keywords: Fetal Development, IUGR, and Maternal Health --> (see more)
Children's Health Collaborators: Genevieve Eastabrook, Timothy Regnault, and Debbie Penava


Dr. de Vrijer graduated from Erasmus University Medical School, The Netherlands and undertook her Residency Training in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Nijmegen. Her Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship was a combined clinical and research fellowship between the Erasmus University in The Netherlands and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre in Colorado, USA, from which she graduated in 2005. In 2006, she joined the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at St. Joseph’s Health Care, and established a busy clinical practice for high-risk obstetrics. After the Department’s move to London Health Sciences Centre in 2011, together with Dr. Debbie Penava, she established the ‘MY’ Clinic, a specialized clinic for pregnant women with obesity. The ‘MY’ Clinic consists of a multidisciplinary team that work together to optimize care for these patients to develop clinical pathways for ultrasound, pregnancy health, labour and delivery, and postpartum. She has been Head of the Maternal Fetal Medicine Division since May 2017.

Research
Dr. de Vrijer received her research training in fetoplacental transport and metabolism at the internationally acclaimed Perinatal Research Centre, University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre. Working with Drs. Fred Battaglia, Giacomo Meschia and Timothy Regnault, she received excellent training in fetoplacental physiology and in vivo research on placental transport and metabolism of amino acids in fetal growth restriction. She currently specializes in the abnormal uterine environment and its effects on the fetus, with a focus on the adverse effects of maternal obesity.  Dr. de Vrijer has initiated a multidisciplinary clinical Pregnancy Research Group and is establishing herself as a leading research clinician in the field of pregnancy, specializing in the obese population, with current work on imaging, markers of inflammation, and the microbiome.

With the Pregnancy Research Group, Dr. de Vrijer conducts clinical research focusing on better identification of maternal risk factors associated with adverse pregnancy outcome, detection of abnormal fetal metabolism and placental function, with the goal to improve pregnancy outcome and long term consequences of abnormal intrauterine environment such as childhood obesity and diabetes. Some examples of the Pregnancy Research Group’s research include:
  • Development and application of novel MRI-based technologies to contribute to our understanding and ability to detect abnormal metabolism inside the womb
  • Assessment of maternal cardiovascular health and determination of its clinical utility for pregnancies in women with high BMI, using Pulse Wave Velocity
  • Investigation of changes in metabolic and inflammatory markers, decorin levels and placental autophagy in patients with obesity and/or preeclampsia
  • Investigation of the effect of maternal obesity, mode of delivery and preventative use of antibiotics for Group B streptococci on the early development of the infant’s microbiota
  • Assessment of women’s and clinicians’ experiences with pregnancy care for women with obesity, participation in clinical research, prenatal testing and future health of the baby

Funding
Dr. de Vrijer, together with Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Eastabrook and co-investigators Drs. Han, Lala, McKenzie, Penava, Regnault, Shepherd and Siu, holds a CIHR/SOGC MFM Team grant. She is also a co-investigator on a NIH Human Placenta Project grant to develop novel imaging technologies to non-invasively assess placental and fetal metabolism.


Research Interest Area: Fetal and Newborn Health
Research Overview: Placental growth factors and transport function; Intra-uterine growth restriction; Gender-associated pregnancy complications; Fetal and Placental immunity

Positions

Present Associate Professor, Western University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
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Present Division Head, Maternal-Fetal Medicine; OBGYN-MFM, London Health Sciences Centre ‐ Children's Hospital
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Present Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute ‐ Children's Health Research Institute (CHRI)
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