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Principle Investigator

My research has focused on understanding the mechanisms of parturition, with a particular emphasis on the molecular pathogenesis of infection- and inflammation-associated preterm labor. The current focuses of our NIH-funded lab are prevention of preterm delivery (including the potential of surfactant protein A (SP-A) for use as a preventive agent for preterm birth), and the relative roles of the mother and fetus in signaling for labor.

I remain active in clinical obstetrics and gynecology and was Director of Obstetrics for NorthShore University HealthSystem from 2001 through 2015. My clinical research interests fall under the rubric of safe pregnancy outcomes. I have made contributions in the areas of promotion of safe vaginal delivery, prevention of surgical site infections and improved diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes, among other topics.

I have always been an active mentor, having worked with many residents, clinical fellows and post-doctoral research fellows in their clinical and lab-based research. I am particularly proud of the many undergraduate lab assistants I have mentored who have gone on to successful careers in medicine and science.

Finally, I have an interest in popular communication of complex issues in medicine (ethics, physician-patient relationships, medical education, adverse events, etc). I am the author of a novel (The Education of Doctor Montefiore) and several opinion pieces and essays that have been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Obstetrics and Gynecology, The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and other journals.


Research Scientist I

Dr. Chandru received his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, India. His initial postdoctoral training at Wayne State University was centered on G-protein-mediated signaling mechanisms in islet beta-cell function. Thereafter he joined Dr. Jennifer Condon’s laboratory and examined the role of endoplasmic reticulum stress in the initiation of both preterm and term labor. Dr. Chandru is currently a Research Scientist in Dr. Hirsch’s lab laying the groundwork for developing surfactant protein-A (SP-A) and its derivatives as a preventative or therapeutic agent for preterm labor in humans.


Dr. Chandru’s second research focus is situated at the interface of molecular and cellular virology. Anelloviruses populate the human blood virome in pregnant patients, but there is little to no knowledge of their impact on pregnancy outcomes. With the funding support from NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute/Medical Group Pilot Grant Program, Dr. Chandru is currently investigating what impact, if any, anellovirus colonization has on pregnancy, labor, and birth.

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Research Associate

I earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology Education from Purdue University and taught a variety of science subjects in grades 6-12 before returning to research. As an undergraduate I characterized SNPs and other genetic markers in both Salmonella and salmonids, and helped map genes to identify allelic variants and gene expression differences associated with life history changes in Oncorhynchus mykiss.  As a part of Hirsch Lab I am optimizing conditions for culturing murine uterine explants so that their inflammatory response can be measured. This culture system will be used to test the efficacy and mechanism of action of truncated surfactant protein (SP)-A constructs in suppressing inflammation, with the ultimate goal of developing an effective treatment for preterm labor.


When not at the lab, I enjoy baking, art, and storytelling – whether that be listening, reading, writing, or collaborative efforts around a game table. My two cats are a constant source of joy and amusement; they tolerate my affection admirably. I would not be where I am today without the love and support of my husband and family.

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Camilla Regalia

Summer Employee

Camilla is currently a sophomore at Brown University. She is pursuing an Sc.B. degree in Neuroscience while exploring public health and biology courses. She enjoys volunteering outside of school and putting her Spanish fluency to use as a medical interpreter. In the future, she hopes to attend medical school. Camilla is excited to be joining the Hirsch lab and completing research with her new mentors in the field of women’s health. Outside of the lab, Camilla plays soccer for the school club team, reads mystery novels, and goes for long walks.


Data Analyst

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Statistics and worked in television audience measurement for 13 years before returning to school for my Master of Public Health degree with a focus on Maternal-Child Health Epidemiology. During my graduate program I worked as Research Coordinator on Dr. Hirsch’s ‘Molecular Pathogenesis of Health Disparities in Infection-Induced Preterm Birth’ study, recruiting and interviewing patients, and collecting specimens and clinical data. Subsequently I managed clinical research staff and projects in all divisions of the department of OB-Gyn. Currently I provide clinical data and custom analysis for users across the department, including retrospective research datasets, and reports used for Quality Assurance, administrative decisions, and grant applications. In my free time, I try to keep up with my active 2 young sons, and enjoy spending time outside and hanging out with friends and family.

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