Sandra T Davidge, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS
Pronouns: she, her, hers
WCHRI Executive Director, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Obstetrics & Gynaecology Dept
- (780) 492-6557
5-083F Edmonton Clinic Health Academy
11405 - 87 Ave NWEdmonton ABT6G 1C9
Executive Director, WCHRI, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Women and Children's Health Research Institute
Area of Study / Keywords
Medicine Pregnancy Complications Preeclampsia Advanced Maternal Age Developmental Origins of Cardiovascular Disease Cardiovascular Physiology
Dr. Sandra Davidge is a Distinguished University Professor and the Executive Director of the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI). She is a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Alberta. As a leader in pregnancy research, Dr. Davidge is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS). She has published over 280 scientific articles on pioneering studies that are focused on understanding the causes on pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction, in order to develop new therapies to improve pregnancy outcomes.
Place of Graduation: PhD, University of Vermont, 1993
Post-doctoral Training: Magee Womens Research Institute; University of Pittsburgh, 1993-1996
Distinction: Former 2-term Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Maternal and Perinatal Cardiovascular Health, Government of Canada, 2007-2021
Research Focus & Overview
The Davidge laboratory studies cardiovascular physiology with a specific interest in the area of women’s, maternal and perinatal cardiovascular health. We investigate potential mediators for vascular endothelial cell dysfunction in both aging and estrogen deficiency as well as in the pregnancy complication, preeclampsia. Moreover, we combine our expertise in aging and pregnancy complications to study the long term cardiovascular effects for offspring born from an adverse intrauterine environment (also known as developmental origins of disease).
Studies include understanding mechanisms for normal cardiovascular adaptations of pregnancy as well as mechanisms for impaired vascular responses in women with preeclampsia, a pregnancy disorder characterized by hypertension and proteinuria. This work addresses the regulation of vascular tone by factors such as nitric oxide and matrix metalloproteinase. Moreover, we study the effect of oxidative stress on endothelial cell function as a potential mechanism for vascular dysfunction in women with preeclampsia.
Effects of Maternal Aging on Vascular Function
Another area of research for this laboratory is studying the impact of aging on the vasculature with a specific interest for the action of sex steroids on vascular function. Moreover, the age at which women deliver their first child has increased steadily. In Canada, births occurring among women aged 35 years and older account for over 18% of total live births. Childbirth at an advanced maternal age (≥35 years) has a myriad of clinical ramifications, including increased risk of preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. Children born from a suboptimal intrauterine environment are at a greater risk of cardiovascular morbidities later in life. Our laboratory is studying the consequences of maternal aging on vascular function with interests in both maternal and offspring health.
Fetal Programming of Cardiovascular Disease
Complications in pregnancy may also influence cardiovascular health in the offspring. Numerous epidemiological studies have determined an association between a poor uterine environment (usually reflected by low birth weight) and the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases later in life. It is likely that adaptive responses to fetal/neonatal environmental stresses lead to permanent changes that negatively influence metabolic and cardiovascular health in adult life. However, the mechanisms underlying these changes are not known. Our laboratory assesses mechanisms for altered cardiovascular responses in pregnancies from an adverse maternal environment as well as assessing the offspring from these pregnancies in various life stages (fetal, neonatal, young and aged adults).
The Davidge laboratory is committed to the training of undergraduate and graduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows with an average of 8-10 trainees in the laboratory.
This research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions and the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute, through the generous support of the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation and the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation.
• Vascular function studies using myography are conducted on isolated small arteries from our various animal models.
• Analysis of the expression of various enzymes and receptors using Western blot and Immunohistochemistry techniques.
• Cell cultures of endothelial and smooth muscle cells to assess cellular mechanisms.
Research Associate / Lab Manager
Floor Spaans, PhD
Physiology 404/504- Cardiovascular Physiology
Physiology 413/513- Fetal Physiology