Michael A. Belfort

Chairman and Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Co-investigator for cerebral autoregulation in preeclampsia within PROVE


I am a tenured Professor and Chairman in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of medicine in Houston, Texas and I am Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. I am board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal-Fetal Medicine by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and certified as a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in England (by examination-FRCOG), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (by examination-FRCSC), and by the Medical and Dental Council of South Africa (by reciprocity). Prior to taking the Chair at Baylor College of Medicine I served as Director of Perinatal Research, Fetal Therapy and Obstetric Telemedicine at HCA Healthcare in Nashville, TN, and as a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and practicing MFM physician at HCA St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. My research career has been centered on cerebral perfusion. I have a research MD degree from the University of Cape Town with a thesis on neonatal piglet brain blood flow, and a PhD focused on the maternal cerebral physiology and pathophysiology of brain blood flow and cerebral autoregulation in pregnancy and preeclampsia. My clinical and translational research career has revolved around vascular reactivity in normal and complicated pregnancies. We recruited Dr. Yallampalli in September 2013 to lead Basic Sciences Perinatology Research in our department. He came to us after a successful tenure at UTMB for over 25 years. Dr. Yallampalli is an expert on the role of the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) super family and has spent a lot of his time and effort over the past years in understanding its role in vascular adaptions during pregnancy, placental function, and fetal growth regulation (primarily using rat models). After moving to Baylor, he quickly applied many of his rodent studies to allow study in women. The goal of the proposed studies is to assess whether the actions of complement inhibitory proteins (CIPs) of fetal origin, CD46, CD55, and CD59 on trophoblastic cells, are critical for the proper regulation of C at the fetal-maternal interface in preeclampsia (PE). The pilot data for have been obtained at Baylor College of Medicine where we have a superb translational research environment including an impressive universal combinatorial obstetrical database and biospecimen repository. Our Peri Bank has more than 36,000 patients entered with an expectation for increasing numbers over time. My role in the current project will be two-fold: (1) As Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine, and as Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief at Texas Children’s Hospital I have influence within Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital that will directly impact the facilitation of all aspects of this application and will be helpful to the goals of the proposed specific aims. (2) As a practicing Maternal Fetal Medicine physician, I will be actively facilitating the collection of placental tissues, as directly and indirectly participating in the enrollment and management of patients for the studies proposed in this grant application. I have knowledge and a clear understanding of the pathophysiology of human pregnancy and I know what is required in terms of commitment and resources to be successful in the Texas Children’s and Baylor environments. I work closely with Administration at Texas Children’s Hospital and have a good grasp on the financial reality of performing meaningful research in a value-based medical environment.