Mark Phillippe, M.D.

Physician Investigator (Cl)
Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, Mass General Research Institute
Professor in Residence of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Obstetrics Gynecology & Repro. Bio. , Harvard Medical School
Obstetrics & Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital
MD Northwestern University Medical School 1974
M.S. in Health Care Management (MHCM) Harvard School of Public Health 2007
cell-free fetal dna; cffdna; intrauterine infection; maternal morbidity; maternal mortality; parturition; preterm delivery; telomere shortening; tlr9

The goal of Dr. Phillippe's research, previously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and several other agencies and foundations, has been to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying preterm delivery occurring in the presence of intrauterine inflammation, infection and hemorrhage. This previous research has included studies to address the mechanisms responsible for preterm delivery and the increased maternal morbidity/mortality during severe influenza infection.

Since joining the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology in 2012 as a senior investigator, Dr. Phillippe's research has addressed the novel hypothesis that cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) functions as a fetal/placental signal to trigger the spontaneous onset of labor (parturition) at the end of pregnancy.   For the last several years, Dr  Phillippe's research has addressed the role of telomeres as the biological clock mechanism that determines the length of gestation and leads to senescence in the placenta and fetal membranes, apoptosis in these tissues, the release of cell-free DNA, and stimulation of the innate immune response all leading to the onset of parturition.

As described in a scientific Expert Review article recently published (2022) in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dr. Phillippe has provided a significant amount of evidence from his research and that of multiple other researchers that provide support for a telomere-based gestational clock that determines the timing for spontaneous term and preterm parturition.  This article also discusses the important role of oxidative stress leading to premature telomere shortening, the potential benefit of antioxidant vitamins in the prevention of accelerated telomere shortening, and the biological mechanisms potentially responsible for  the racial disparities in the rate of preterm birth.

In addition to his clinical and administrative activities, Dr. Phillippe has been enaged in laboratory research as a physician scientist for more than 40 years. Dr. Phillippe has published over 100 biomedical papers, reviews and book chapters, presented over 150 scientific abstracts and given over 70 invited research presentations.

He has served on multiple scientific peer review committees for the NIH, the March of Dimes Foundation and other funding agencies; and he has served as a member on the Advisory Council for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Dr. Phillippe is a member of multiple national scientific and medical societies, including the Society for Reproductive Investigation, the Perinatal Research Society, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the American Gynecologic and Obstetrical Society, the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the American Society for Cell Biology and the American Association of Physician Leadership.

Research website Publications Clinical Profile
Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology
Thier Building
60 Blossom Street
Boston, MA 02114-3104