The IBR and Ob/Gyn Jointly Awarded an NIH Supplement of $200,000 for Research

Paula Benny PhD, Jonathan Riel PhD, Men-Jean Lee MD, Johann Urschitz PhD, Corrie Miller MD.


The Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women’s Health (Ob/Gyn) was awarded a $200,000 supplement in partnership with the Institute for Biogenesis Research (IBR) on Sept. 1, 2020. The title of the supplement is “Investigating the maternal microbial metabolite signature in fetal growth abnormalities in a multi-ethnic cohort”, and the work is led by Dr. Men-Jean Lee with Dr. Paula Benny in her laboratory and Dr. Corrie Miller in partnership with the laboratory of Dr. Johann Urschitz at the IBR. This project addresses the ability of the clinician to detect IUGR and macrosomia using metabolic markers. It will test the hypothesis that there exists a unique maternal reproductive microbiome metabolic signature for a healthy pregnancy which reduces the risk for FGA.

This award was in response to NIH NOT-GB-20-017, whose major purpose was “to expand research and research capability in the IDeA states to address important issues of women’s health with a special interest in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.” This funding mechanism was only available to NIH COBRE centers, such as the IBR-COBRE. It was part of the NIH’s “Advancing Science for the Health of Women: The Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for Women’s Health Research”. This award is a direct result of the partnership that we have fostered over the past four years between the IBR and Ob/Gyn Department. We were poised to take advantage of this unique opportunity because of the work that we had laid down over the past four years. Dr. Steven Ward and his IBR team was essential to build this strong research partnership with OB/GYN Department to benefit our University of Hawaii undergraduate and graduate students as well as our OB/GYN residents, MFM fellows and faculty. This is a clear example of basic, translational and clinical research coming together to advance medical science.