Barbara McFarlin

    Email Address:
    College: Nursing Department: Women, Child, and Family Health Sciences
    Title: Associate Professor and Department Head
    Office: 806, College of Nursing, MC 802 Phone: 6-0516
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    Dr. McFarlin's program of research seeks to find noninvasive methods to determine risk for preterm birth. Her research has focused on an ultrasound method to detect cervical microstructural tissue changes leading to preterm birth long before a woman would have contractions, cervical shortening or ruptured membranes. Dr McFarlin first developed this method in studies of the pregnant rat cervix through her collaboration with engineers. She has translated these ultrasound methods for use in human pregnancy. In women destined for preterm birth, she was able to detect cervical changes already at 20 weeks of pregnancy. This technology could have a major impact on the incidence of preterm birth by identifying women who need intervention and monitoring interventions on a tissue level.

    Dr. McFarlin, in collaboration with mechanical, civil and material sciences engineers, is studying new technologies (second harmonic imaging, elastography, nanoindention) to furhter understand the process of cervical remodeling in pregnancy. Furthermore, her team is working on methods (finite element modeling and tissue engineering) to model cervical remodeling in humans without using human cervical tissue biopsies.

    Current Research Projects:

    "Multi-Omics approach toward identification of metabolic biomarkers of vaginal microbiome."
    “Pathways to Preterm Birth: Stress, Inflammation, & Cervical Remodeling”.
    "Application of Fourier transform-second-harmonic generation imaging to the rat cervix."
    "System-level biomechanical approach for the evaluation of term and preterm pregnancy maintenance."
    "Prediction of pelvic prolapse with ultrasonic attenuation."

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 10

    Qualifications of a Student:
    Engineering, bioengineering, nursing medicine
    Knowledge of Matlab is a plus

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    To work on research projects. Many opportunities available from data collection, learning ultrasound, data analysis, data processing.

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