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Wang receives award to further develop pregnancy imaging system

Burroughs Wellcome Fund to support scientist’s research on noninvasive imaging of uterine contractions

August 11, 2021

Yong Wang, PhD, an associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology and of radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a 2021 Next Gen Pregnancy Research Grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to biomedical science through research and education.

Wang, also an associate professor of electrical & systems engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering, is one of eight U.S. researchers selected for the prestigious Wellcome Fund’s Next Gen Pregnancy research grant. Wang will use the four-year, $500,000 grant to develop a novel imaging system for uterine contractions. The device — called microstructure-enriched electromyometrial imaging, or mEMMI — aims to measure electrical activity at the abdomen surface and noninvasively map the muscle cells during contractions.

Using the imaging system to examine the microscopic and physiological differences of uterine contractions in women experiencing healthy and high-risk pregnancies can help researchers develop treatments to safeguard maternal health and prevent preterm births, the world’s leading cause of death in children under age 5.