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Introducing LUMC Global PhD Candidate Anne Noll

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February 8, 2022

LUMC Global welcomes yet another PhD candidate to the program. Gynaecologist to be, Anne Noll, joins the LUMC Global initiative to work on a very unique and challenging international research project on fetal therapy, part of the field of  obstetric care. In a special collaboration between fetal therapy expert centers Karolinska University Hospital (Stockholm, Sweden), UZ Leuven (Leuven, Belgium) and LUMC, Anne will try to create a better understanding on selective growth restriction in identical twins, to ultimately contribute to improved diagnostic monitoring, management and outcome prediction of these pregnancies.

About Anne

Anne completed her Medicine studies at Maastricht University and is currently in her third year of specialty training to become a gynaecologist. Before coming to the Leiden University Medical Center, she worked at the Haga Ziekenhuis in the Hague. She will now pause her specialty training to work as a PhD student for three years. “I believe being part of this very interesting research project will be of great value as it will deepen my knowledge in the field of research in general and fetal therapy specifically. I am very grateful to be granted this opportunity by the LUMC”, says Anne.

The project

The Fetal Therapy department of the LUMC and LUMC Global are more than happy to have Anne aboard the team. The necessity for improving our knowledge of the pathophysiology of selective fetal growth restriction is high. “With selective fetal growth restriction, twins share the same placenta but one of the fetuses has a bigger share than the other, resulting in one fetus receiving more blood, oxygen and nutrition. This could lead to severe growth problems for one of the twins and hemodynamic imbalances for both twins, as the blood streams of the twins are connected through the same placenta”, Anne explains. “So far, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. The course can be unpredictable and there is no treatment yet. Besides, consensus on the optimal management is lacking. These twins are almost always born (very) prematurely, with all the accompanying risks.  This research will hopefully contribute to answering some of these questions, ultimately benefiting management of the disease and patient counselling.”

International research

To come to a comprehensive dataset, Anne will perform both retrospective and prospective analyses of pregnancies affected by selective fetal growth restriction from three top referral centers for fetal therapy in Europe. “Since this is a rare condition, it is better to collaborate in order to collect enough patient data. That’s why this project will include UZ Leuven and Karolinska University Hospital as well, since they, just like the LUMC, are tertiary referral centers for selective fetal growth restricted pregnancies in their respective country. Not only will this help us to work with a larger patient group, we can also benefit from each other’s expertise within the subject. We all bring other expert knowledge to the table and can strengthen each other.” For Anne, this means she will spend one year at each institution to work on her research project.

Future goals

“After completing this research I will resume my specialty training to become a gynaecologist. I’m very open to the idea of further specializing in perinatology/fetal therapy. Improving care for unborn children and their mothers is extremely interesting, significant and challenging. For now, I am really excited to start my new job and hope that our research will truly contribute something to this field..”

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