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Natalia Schlabritz-Lutsevich, MD, PhD

Natalia Schlabritz-Lutsevich, MD, PhD

Regional Associate Dean of Research and Associate Professor (Research) of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Personal Research Statement

Over the past thirteen years, my research has been focused on the question: How maternal environment influences fetal health. I have a strong clinical background as a practicing Ob/Gyn. This background is complemented by a scientific expertise, as I have been working with the placenta and baboon (Papio spp) model of pregnancy-related research during the last decade. My scientific achievements include characterization of maternal obesity, stereological assessment of 3D placental structure in non-human primates and humans, and feto-placental changes associated with maternal obesity. My interest in the deteriorating effect of adverse maternal conditions on offspring’s health is documented by the book chapters, meeting abstracts, and publications I have authored. I have been a member of International Federation of Placental Associations for the 8 years. I served as the Principal Investigator on five research grants, and as Co-Investigator on two more. I was able to bring proposed research into successful completion, as documented by my publications with senior authorship, therefore I have strong experience in productive leading of research teams and efforts.

I am also a member of the international task force for setting the research priorities for neonatal health research and prevention of stillbirths. The results of this task force were published in the Lancet (2014 Jul 12;384(9938):e27-9).

I believe that the combination of my expertise in clinical obstetrics and placental physiology, molecular biology, morphology, and pregnancy physiology provide a solid basis for building up research efforts to save lives of the un-born babies and their mothers and built up the strong foundation for the future healthy generations.

Contributions to science

1.Discovery of melatonin receptors in human uterus. During my post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Hormone and Fertility Research (University of Hamburg, Germany), I brought an idea and developed an approach to address a question which I had as a practicing obstetrician: The nocturnal timing of deliveries in humans. The neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying this physiological phenomenon were not understood. This work resulted in the discovery of melatonin receptors machinery in the human uterus. I determined the mRNA expression of both MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptor isoforms in pregnant as well as non-pregnant myometrial biopsies by means of RT-PCR, in situ hybridization and histochemistry.

This work was one of the first applying quantitative PCR techniques. Additionally, we demonstrated specific, high affinity iodomelatonin binding to myometrial tissues of both pregnant and non-pregnant women. Primary cultures of myocytes responded differentially to melatonin in terms of cAMP signaling depending on the reproductive state. These results implied that melatonin may have the potential to modulate myometrial function in the human, a finding that did open up new possibilities for the development of novel therapeutic agents. Based on this discovery several patents were filed.

  • Schlabritz-Loutsevitch N, Hellner N, Middendorf R, Muller D, Olcese J. The human myometrium as a

target for melatonin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. (2003) Feb;88(2):908-13. Cited 45 times

2. Establishment and characterization of the Papio spp model of nutrient (obesity, under-nutrition) and toxicological (alcohol) interventions in pregnancy.

During my work at NYU and UTHSCA with the group of Dr. Peter Nathanielsz and my independent work supported by NIH R21 AA 22433-01, I focused on understanding the mechanisms of nutrient interventions and establishment of translational model of human disorders. This work resulted in more than 30 publications. The bibliography on this topic can be seen at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=schlabritz-Loutsevitch).

3. Discovery and description of Endocannabinoid System in maternal obesity

Using the pilot study grants from Southwest National Primate Center, UTHSCSA and UTHSC startup funds, I developed the methodologies and characterized the endocannabinoid signaling pathways in the baboon model of obesity.

  • B. Brocato, A. A Zoerner, Z. Janjetovic, C. Skobowiat, S.Gupta, B.Moore, A. Slominski, J. Zhang, M. Schenone, R.Phinehas, R.J. Ferry, Jr., E.Dick Jr, G.B. Hubbard, G.Mari and N.Schlabritz-Loutsevitch. Endocannabinoid crosstalk between placenta and maternal fat in obesity. Placenta (2013). Nov;34(11):983-9. Cited 3 times.
  • 2. I. P. Rodriguez-Sanchez, J.Guindon, M. Ruiz , Maria E. Tejero, Gene Hubbard, L. E. Martinez-de-Villarreal, H. A. Barrera-Saldaña, Edward Dick Jr., A. G. Commuzzie, N.E. Schlabritz-Loutsevitch. The endocannabinoid system in the baboon (Papio spp.) as a complex framework for developmental pharmacology. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. 2015. Accepted.

4. Discovery of novel Brucella subspecies, associated with the stillbirth and description of infectious causes of pregnancy loss in non-human primates

  • Schlabritz-Loutsevitch N, Whatmore AM, Quance C R , Koylass MS, Dick  EJ Jr., Snider CL, Cappelli D, Ebersole JL, Nathanielsz PW and Hubbard GB. A novel Brucella isolate in association with two cases of stillbirth in non-human primates – first report. (2009) J Med Primatol. Feb;38(1):70-3.
  • Adrian M. Whatmore, Nicholas Davison, Axel Cloeckaert, Sascha Al Dahouk, Michel S. Zygmunt, Simon D. Brew, Lorraine L. Perrett, Mark S. Koylass, Gilles Vergnaud, Christine Quance,  Holger C. Scholz, Edward J. Dick Jr, Gene Hubbard and Natalia E. Schlabritz-Loutsevitch. Brucella papii sp. nov. isolated from baboons (Papio spp.). International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology (2014).
  • Grieves JL, Hubbard GB, Williams JT, Vandeberg JL, Dick EJ Jr, López-Alvarenga JC, Schlabritz-Loutsevitch N.  Trypanosoma cruzi in non-human primates with the history of stillbirth: retrospective study (Papio hamadryas spp.) and case report (Macaca fascicularis) (2008) J Med Primatol, 37(6): pp.318-328. 

5. Development of the models of minimally invasive surgeries to model the pre-eclampsia (PI,  Texas Biomed Southwest  National Primate Center, San Antonio, TX,  Director’s Discretionary Small Research Grant ”Non-invasive surgery for establishment of a baboon model of Pre-Eclampsia”, 2007. ) and treatment of diaphragmatic herniation.

  • J. Lopera, E. Moses, M. Nijland, P. Frost, E. Dick, G. Hubbard, V. Williams, C. Moore and N. Schlabritz-Loutsevitch  Minimally-invasive uterine artery occlusion in the baboon (Papio spp.). In: ISSHP world congress proceeding book. 2008. Abstract #521, pp.147-148
  • Mari G Deprest J., Schenone M, Jackson S, Samson J. , Brocato B., Tate D., White G., Gupta S., Skobowjat S., Slominski A., Sullivan R., Cohen H.L and. Schlabritz-Loutsevitch N. A novel translational model of percutaneous fetoscopic endoluminal tracheal occlusion - baboons (Papio spp). (2014) Fetal Diagnostic and Therapy. 

Education

MD- State School of Medicine, Minsk Belarus

Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology- Birth Clinic, Minsk, Belarus

Fellowship/PhD in Reproductive Endocrinology- State School of Medicine, Minsk, Belarus

Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology- University of Kiel, Germany. Studied under Prof. K. Semm, Prof. L. Mettler

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Reproductive Endocrinology- University of Hamburg, Germany. Studied under Prof. Leidenberger, Prof. Schroeder

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Fetal Maternal Medicine- University of Tennessee, Studied under Prof. G. Mari

Memberships

Institutional Review Board, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, 2015-present

Chair of the Regional Advisory Research Committee at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin, 2014-present

Institutional Review Board, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 2013-2014

Chair of curriculum and accreditation committees, St. James School of Medicine, NA, 2009

Institutional Review Board, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 2008

Research Society on Alcoholism (RSoA), 2013-present

International Federation of Placenta Associations (IFPA), 2008-present

European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), 1993-present 

Research Gate Profile

Contact

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin 

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

701 W. 5th St.

Odessa, TX 79763

natalia.schlabritz-lutsevich@ttuhsc.edu

Telephone: 432-703-5050

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