Photo of pregnant woman with one hand on stomach and the other holding ultrasound image

School of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic researchers awarded grant

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic have received a $1.77 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

The principal investigators for the three-year grant include Marsha Michie, assistant professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Bioethics, and Ruth Farrell, vice chair of clinical research at Cleveland Clinic OB/GYN and Women’s Health Institute.  

The title of the grant is Framework for Advances in Reprogenomics Ethics & Regulation. The goal of the grant is to support efforts to build a framework to ethically and socially guide research in reproductive genomic interventions, with particular concern for the interests of women participants with their potential children. 

Michie explained they’re building on the landmark work by the Second Wave Project, which raised big questions about how research has historically excluded pregnant women. 

“Now, as research is just beginning on clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and other genomic interventions in pregnancy, we need to think about how to do those kinds of research in ethically and socially responsible ways,” Michie added. “Research that alters the genome or the microbiome during pregnancy—or in preparation for pregnancy—can have lifelong effects on both the mother and the future child, and balancing the risks and benefits for both of them will be crucial.”