Yoel Sadovsky, MD

  • Executive Director, Magee-Womens Research Institute
  • Elsie Hilliard Hillman Chair of Women’s Health Research
  • Distinguished Professor of OBGYN, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
  • Vice Chair of Research, Department of OBGYN and Reproductive Sciences
  • Associate Dean, Women's Health Research and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh
Research Grants

NIH Grants:  (3) R01, R21, R37, K12, March of Dimes, private foundations

Research Summary

Dr Sadovsky is a physician-scientist with a research focus on reproductive development and feto-placental biology. For 20 years his laboratory has used primary human placental cells, genetically altered mice, and biochemical assays to decipher molecular mechanisms underlying feto-placental function and adaptation to injury. Most of these pathways, which have a lifelong impact on health, are largely unknown and insufficiently studied. The key cells that mediate maternal-fetal exchange are placental trophoblasts, which are directly bathed in maternal blood. To better define the homeostatic adaption of trophoblasts to cellular stressors, Dr Sadovsky pursues the regulation and function of placental ncRNAs. He and his collaborators found that placenta-specific miRNAs can confer viral resistance to non-placental cells. Studies currently focus on the genomic mechanisms underlying placenta-specific function and regulation of these ncRNA. He also studies the packaging of these miRNA in exosomes and other extracellular vesicles, and mechanisms of exosome trafficking and uptake by target cells. Dr Sadovsky also seeks to understand the dynamics of lipid trafficking and lipotoxicity in a placental cell, focusing primarily on triglycerides and ferroptosis, a highly regulated cell death pathway mediated by hydroperoxy- forms of arachidonoyl (AA)- and adrenoyl (Adr)-phosphatidylethanolamine. Dr Sadovsky has trained numerous students, residents, postdoctoral fellows and faculty. He is passionate about science education and about mentoring scholars to harness the power of scientific investigation as a means to enhance health and wellness. He serves in leadership positions in national training programs in reproductive sciences and is fully aware of the extraordinary need to deepen and bolster fundamental and clinical research in the field of reproductive sciences and women’s health.

Representative Publications
  1. Delorme-Axford E, Donker RB, Mouillet JF, Chu T, Bayer A, Ouyang Y, Wang T, Stolz DB, Sarker SN, Morelli AD, Sadovsky Y*, Coyne CB*. Human placental trophoblasts confer viral resistance to recipient cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2013;110(29):12048-53. PMID23818581 (*equal contribution).
  2. Mishima T, Sadovsky E, Gegick M, Sadovsky Y. Determinants of effective lentivirus-drive microRNA expression in vivo. Sci Rep 2016; 6:33345. PMID 27627961.
  3. Chang G, Mouillet JF, Mishima T, Chu T, Sadovsky E, Coyne CB, Parks WT, Surti U, Sadovsky Y. The expression and trafficking of placental microRNAs at the feto-maternal interface. FASEB J 2017;31(7):2760-70. PMID 28289056.
  4. Wu M, Ouyang Y, Wang Z, Zhang R, Huang P-H, Chen C, Li H, Li P, Quinn D, Dao M*, Suresh S*, Sadovsky Y*, Huang TJ*. Isolation of exosomes from whole blood by integrating acoustics and microfluidics. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2017;114(40):10584-9. (*equal contribution). PMID 28923936.
  5. Bilidirici I, Schaiff WT, Chen B, Morizane M, Oh SY, O’Brien M, Sonnenberg-Hirche C, Chu T, Barak, Y, Nelson DM, Sadovsky Y. PLIN2 is essential for trophoblastic lipid droplet accumulation and cell survival during hypoxia. Endocrinology 2018, 159(12):3937-3949. PMID 30351430
  6. Margolis L, Sadovsky Y. The biology of extracellular vesicles: The known unknowns. PLoS Biol 2019;17(7). PMID: 31318874