Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide. Clinicians increasingly recognize the benefits of reducing risk factors early in life to prevent heart disease from developing later on. Dr. Stephane Bourque, Canada Research Chair in Developmental and Integrative Cardiovascular Pharmacology, is taking this a step further by studying how complications during a pregnancy can result in heart disease in offspring.
For example, iron deficiency—the most common nutritional deficiency—affects fetal growth and development. Bourque and his research team are trying to understand how this, in turn, can cause a child to be more prone to heart disease later in life. He and his team are using what they learn to develop new methods of diagnosing pregnancy complications as well as new treatment strategies to improve birth outcomes and the long-term health of offspring.