Sarah J. Bacon

Associate Professor of Biology, Mount Holyoke College


Ph.D.: University of Chicago
Postdoctoral Training: Department of Human Genetics, University of Chicago

Human Reproductive Physiology

Bacon is fascinated by the relationship between mother and fetus during pregnancy. "What I'm really interested in is fertility and miscarriage," she says. "Eighty percent of what humans conceive is lost before birth." Bacon says that most pregnancies end before a woman even knows she's pregnant. She's trying to find out why by studying reproduction in rats, which have very similar pregnancies to humans. Bacon also studies the ways in which mother and fetus communicate through the placenta. "It's so powerful, such an enigma," she says. "There's no other relationship that is that physiologically intimate."

Representative publications:

Bacon, S. J., S. A. Ellis and D. F. Antczak (2002). "Control of expression of major histocompatibility complex genes in horse trophoblast." Biol Reprod 66(6): 1612-20.

Carpenter, S., J. M. Baker, S. J. Bacon, T. Hopman, J. Maher, S. A. Ellis and D. F. Antczak (2001). "Molecular and functional characterization of genes encoding horse MHC class I antigens." Immunogenetics 53(9): 802-9.

Bacon, S. J. and M. K. McClintock (1999). "Sex ratio bias in postpartum-conceived
Norway rat litters is produced by embryonic loss in midpregnancy." J Reprod Fertil 117(2): 403-11.