Skip to main content
Faculty Featured Featured News Grants and Awards News Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics Research Sidebar Featured News,
Mariava Phillips
October 23, 2023

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is partnering with Rutgers University, Tulane University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Rochester to launch the Integrated Transporter Elucidation Center (InTEC) supported by a $5 million grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

The goal of InTEC is to better understand the placental transport proteins involved in the prenatal disposition of nutrients, drugs and toxic chemicals. This work will support drug development and post-marketing drug safety for medications used during pregnancy. 

“We will fill the knowledge gap about placental transport proteins and show how important they are, and how they can help improve personalized medicine and medication safety for the mom and the fetus,” said Jacqueline Tiley, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics (DPET) and subcontract principal investigator (PI).  

Throughout pregnancy, many physiological changes can affect the maternal drug disposition and fetal drug exposure, such as heart rate, motility and blood flow. The placenta is a temporary organ that plays an important role during pregnancy in the exchange of nutrients, elimination of wastes and protection of the fetus from toxins and drugs. However, diseases and medications can influence the mother’s and the placenta’s health. Research shows approximately 39% of women in childbearing age have a chronic condition and take medication every day—including diabetes, thyroid disorders, asthma and more. There is limited information about how chronic diseases and medications can impact placental transporters during pregnancy, which is one of the gaps InTEC would like to fill. 

 “This research will improve our understanding of placental transport proteins and the important role they play in maternal-fetal health. We are thrilled to be part of this important research effort,” said Kim Brouwer, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor in DPET and a co-investigator on the project. 

The InTEC team will determine how drug-specific properties and gestational age-specific variations impact key transport proteins involved in placenta transfer of compounds. This information is fundamental to improving the safety of medications used during pregnancy. 

“I’m really excited to be part of this translational project, impacting maternal and fetal health, while working with a great team here at Carolina, including Dr. John Fallon and Dr. Kim Brouwer and the lead PI, Dr. Lauren Aleksunes at Rutgers,” said Tiley. 

Tiley received her Ph.D. from the University of Basel in Switzerland before starting a postdoc in DPET in 2016. She then joined the School as a faculty member in 2019. 

Latest News

Comments are closed.