Department of OBGYN

Robert W. Powers, PhD

  • Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology

Education & Training

  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, Magee-Womens Research Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Ph.D., Developmental Biology, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine

Representative Publications

  • Powers, R.W., Roberts, J.M., Cooper, K.M., Gallaher, M.J., Frank, M.P., Harger, G.F., and Ness, R.B. (2005) Maternal serum sFlt-1 concentrations are not increased in early pregnancy and decrease more slowly postpartum in women who develop preeclampsia. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 193: 185-91.
  • Roberts, J.M., Bodnar, L.M., Lain, K.Y., Hubel, C.A., Markovic, N., Ness, R.B., and Powers, R.W. (2005) Uric acid is as important as proteinuria in identifying fetal risk in women with gestational hypertension. Hypertension. 46: 1263-1269.
  • Powers, R.W., Bodnar, L.M., Ness, R.B., Cooper, K.M., M.J. Gallaher, M.J., Frank, M.P., Daftary, A.R., Roberts, J.M. (2006) Uric acid concentrations are increased throughout pregnancy among women with gestational hyperuricemia at delivery. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 194:161-168.
  • Speer PD*, Powers RW*, Frank MP, Harger G, Markovic N, & Roberts JM. Elevated asymmetric dimethylarginine concentrations precede clinical preeclampsia but not pregnancies with small for gestational age infants. Amer J Obstet Gynecol, 198(1):112.e1-7, Jan. 2008. (*: these individuals contributed equally to this work).

For additional publications, see: (Pubmed or other online collection) WERS+ROBERT+PITTSBURGH&log%24=activity

Clinical Interests/Research Interests

The pregnancy-specific syndrome preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. While several pre-existing maternal conditions are associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia such as diabetes, hypertension, renal dysfunction, and obesity, the underlying cause of preeclampsia is unknown. It is also unknown how obesity increases the risk of preeclampsia, how obesity-mediated metabolic aberrations interact with the pathogenesis of preeclampsia, and why only six to eight percent of obese women develop preeclampsia.

The lab hypothesizes that ADMA may be a biological convergence by which obesity increases the risk of preeclampsia. Several biochemical and molecular biology techniques are being utilized to investigate the role of ADMA as one possible mechanism by which obesity increases the risk of preeclampsia. The role of ADMA on vascular function in pregnant women as well as obese animal models is also being studied.