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Lorna G. Moore, Professor

Ph.D. (1973) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Division of Basic Reproductive Sciences

Mail Stop 8613, RC2, Room 3004 (office), Room 3007 (lab)

Phone: (303) 724-7474
Fax:     (303) 724-3512

My research centers on the physiological mechanisms underlying the normal maternal physiological responses to pregnancy and the pregnancy complications of fetal growth restriction and preeclampsia.  I use the chronic hypoxia of residence at high altitude (>2500 m or 8000 ft) as a natural laboratory for studying these mechanisms since high altitude exerts one of the strongest influences on fetal growth (being second in magnitude only to gestational age) and triples the frequency of preeclampsia.  With students, fellows and faculty colleagues from obstetrics & gynecology and other disciplines (anesthesiology, anthropology, cancer biology, genetics, medicine, pediatrics, physiology, and public health) and the aid of NIH, NSF or other federal funding, we have published more than 200 articles documenting the effects of chronic hypoxia on maternal and fetal well being.  In particular our human studies have shown that altitude lowers birth weight an average of 102 g/1000 m and is associated with less pregnancy-associated rise in uterine artery blood flow, due in turn to smaller uterine artery diameters.  Experimental animal studies have shown that chronic hypoxia vs. normoxia reduces uterine artery nitric oxide production, vasodilator response to flow, growth and remodeling, suggesting that chronic hypoxia interferes with the normal maternal uterine vascular responses to pregnancy.  Multigenerational populations (Andeans, Tibetans) are largely protected from hypoxia-associated fetal growth restriction, due in part to being able to attain greater uterine artery diameter and blood flow than shorter-term residents (Europeans, Chinese).  Our recent whole-genome scan and gene-expression studies have identified several genes likely involved.  Current work is aimed at identifying the specific gene variants and physiological mechanisms by which they exert their effects with hopes that such studies will aid not only in understanding processes of evolutionary adaptation but also our ability to identify persons at risk for pregnancy complications and/or design more effective therapies for their treatment or prevention. 


Key publications include:

  1. Bigham AW, Mao X, Akey JM, Bauchet M, Brutsaert T, Mei R, Pinto D, Scherer S, Parra EJ, Julian CG, Wilson MJ, Moore LG, Shriver MD. Identifying signatures of natural selection in Tibetan and Andean populat​​ions using dense genome scan data. Plos Genetics, Sept 2010; 6(9): 1-14.
  2.  Julian CG, Galan HL, Wilson M, Desilva W, Cioffi-Ragan D, Schwartz J, Moore LG.  Lower uterine artery blood flow and higher endothelin relative to nitric oxide metabolite levels are associated with reductions in birth weight at high altitude.  Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008; Sep 295(3): R906-15.
  3. Julian CG, Vargas E, MacCannell W, Armaza JF, Niermeyer S, Moore, LG. High-altitude ancestry protects against hypoxia-associated reductions in birth weight. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2007; Sep 92(5): F372-377.
  4. Mateev S, Sillau AH, Mouser R, McCullough RE, White MM, Young DY, Moore LG.  Chronic hypoxia opposes pregnancy-induced increase in uterine artery vasodilator response to flow.  Am J Physiol 2003; 284:H820-H829.
  5. Keyes LE, Armaza JF, Niermeyer S, Vargas E, Young DY, Moore LG. Intrauterine growth restriction, preeclampsia and intrauterine mortality at high altitude in Bolivia.  Pediatr Res. 2003; Jul 54(1): 20-25.
  6. Moore LG, Young D, McCullough RE, Droma T, Zamudio S.  Tibetan protection from intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and reproductive loss at high altitude.  Am J Hum Biol 2001; 13(5): 635-644.
  7. White MM, McCullough RE, Dyckes R, Robertson AD, Moore LG.  Chronic hypoxia, pregnancy, and endothelium-mediated relaxation in guinea pig uterine and thoracic arteries. Am J Physiol 2000; 278(6): H2069-H2075.
  8. Jensen GM, Moore LG.  The effect of high altitude and other risk factors on birth weight: independent or interactive? Am J Public Health 1997; 87(6): 1003-1007.
  9. Niermeyer S, Yang P, Shanmina, Drolkar, Zhuang J, Moore LG. Arterial oxygen saturation in Tibetan and Han infants born in Lhasa, Tibet.  N Engl J Med 1995; 333(19): 1248-1252.
  10.  ​Palmer SK, Zamudio S, Coffin C, Parker S, Stamm E, Moore LG. Quantitative estimation of human uterine artery blood flow and pelvic blood flow redistribution in pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol 1992; 80(6): 1000-1006.​