David Westergaard

Portrait of David Westergaard
David Westergaard, MSc, PhD

Translational aspects of fertility genetics to improve patient stratification and long term health

The loss of a wanted pregnancy is a devastating condition to a woman, her partner, and close relatives. More so, 1-2% of pregnant women will experience Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL), the loss of three consecutive pregnancies. There are known factors that increase the risk of pregnancy loss, but 50% of women with RPL have no known cause. For some women pregnancy loss increases the risk of disease later in life, such as stroke.

Due to a lack of evidence-based approaches, women with a pregnancy loss are not investigated prior to the third loss, and the loss is not included in risk evaluation of future disease. Thus, focus must be put on this condition. In the project, I will try to identify novel causes of RPL. Further, I will evaluate if integrating genetic information can be used to stratify women with pregnancy loss earlier, thereby avoiding unnecessary losses.

Lastly, I will explore if there is any genetic information that is shared between RPL and other diseases later in life.


Basic Mentor: Professor Søren Brunak, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research (CPR), University of Copenhagen

Clinical Mentor: Associate Professor Henriette Svarre Nielsen, Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Unit, Rigshospitalet