Dr. J. Lee Nelson studies microchimerism, a state in which cells exchanged by mother and child during pregnancy persist in both individuals for many years. Her interdisciplinary research team investigates the health consequences of this phenomenon. In 1998, Dr. Nelson reported the first study linking an autoimmune disease with the lasting presence of fetal cells in mothers. Because women generally develop autoimmune diseases more often than men, these findings have led to a new avenue of investigation into a range of diseases in which the immune system begins attacking the body’s own tissues. By learning more about microchimerism, Dr. Nelson hopes to help improve the success of blood stem cell and organ transplantation. Her team investigates the role of microchimerism in autoimmune diseases, cancer, infectious disease, neuroscience, and in pregnancy.


00:00:00 Introduction / 00:02:00 We are not a cardboard cut-out/00:05:00 Male DNA in women / 00:07:00 What do these cells do? / 00:09:00 The mammal brain / 00:12:00 The good, the bad and the ugly / 00:16:00 Evolutionary smart mechanism / 00:21:00 Scientific talk in pop music / 00:23:00 Intergeneration communication / 00:27:00 Outro

Recommendations and further reading:

Dr. J.Lee Nelson

Male Microchimerism in the Human Female Brain