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Nazeeh Hanna, MD

Chief of Neonatology
Professor of Pediatrics
Director, Women and Children Research Center


Infants born prematurely are at increased risk of early postnatal and later developmental problems. Approximately 25% of premature babies less than 25 weeks have severe disabilities and at increased risk for cognitive, perceptual and behavioral problems. With advances in prenatal and neonatal care, there has been improvement in survival, but improvements in function and outcome have lagged. The optimal way to reduce complications of prematurity is to reduce the incidence of prematurity itself. 

Our lab focuses on understanding altered immune function in pregnancy and preterm labor. The studies done at NYU Winthrop Hospital will contribute significantly to our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of preterm labor and the role of exposure to environmental toxicants on this pathologic process. This exciting work will help bridge the gap between clinical and basic research and provides a novel model on the pathogenesis of preterm labor. As our understanding of the immune mechanisms behind preterm labor grows, our findings may ultimately suggest new strategies to predict, treat or prevent preterm labor. Clinical samples collected in our studies include term, preterm and second trimester placentas, breast milk as well as cord and neonatal blood mononuclear cells. Current research projects include:

  • The role of placental exosomes and microRNAs in mediating placental immune tolerance to infection.
  • Novel biomarkers to predict preterm labor
  • Role of breast milk exosomes in inducing anti-inflammatory neonatal milieu 
  • Role of progesterone in regulating the production of placenta cytokines
  • Develop methodology that provides non-invasive technique to predict and monitor preterm labor. 
  • Elucidating environmental toxins-linked mechanisms of preterm labor

Current lab members include Xinhua (Albert) Lin, Ph.D. Lead Senior Scientist, Yuko Arita, D.D.S., Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Ellen Gurzenda, B.S. Laboratory Manager, Mark Bustoros, Research technician, Caterina Tiozzo, M.D., Neonatologist, Ranjith Kamity, M.D., Neonatologist, Vikramaditya Dumpa, , M.D., Neonatologist, Amrita Nayak, Neonatologist as well as several pediatrics fellows.


  1. Kiefer DG, Peltier MR, Keeler SM, Vintzileos AM, Hanna N. Efficacy of Midtrimester Short Cervix Interventions is Conditional on Intra-Amniotic Inflammation. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Sep 10.
  2. Olgun NS, Hanna N, Reznik SE. BQ-123 prevents LPS-induced preterm birth in mice via the induction of uterine and placental IL-10. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2015 Feb 1;282(3):275-84.
  3. Olgun NS, Arita Y, Tristan S, Peltier MR, Hanna N. Carbon monoxide attenuates bacteria-induced Endothelin-1 expression in second trimester placental explants. 2014 Jun;35(6):351-8
  4. Peltier MR, Koo HC, Gurzenda EM, Arita Y, Klimova NG, Olgun N, Hanna N. Can Carbon Monoxide Prevent Infection-Mediated Preterm Birth in a Mouse Model? Am J Reprod Immunol. 2013 Jul;70(1):31-7.
  5. Peltier MR, Arita Y, Gurzenda EM, Klimova N, Koo HC, Murthy A, Hanna N: Effect of carbon monoxide on bacteria-stimulated cytokine production by placental explants. Am J Reprod Immunol 2013;69:142-149.
  6. Murphy SP, Fast LD, Hanna N, Sharma S: Uterine NK cells mediate inflammation-induced fetal demise in IL-10-null mice. J Immunol 2005;175:4084-4090.
  7. Hanna N, Hleb M, Balkundi D, Padbury J, Sharma S: Gestational age-dependent expression of IL-10 and its receptor in human placental tissues and isolated cytotrophoblasts. J Immunol 2000;164:5721-5728.