In June of 2015, the March of Dimes joined with the University of Chicago, Northwestern and Duke to launch the fifth prematurity research center aimed exclusively at finding the unknown causes of premature birth. This demonstrates the commitment and enthusiasm of accomplished directors, investigators and faculty as they come together in this transdisciplinary and cross-institutional effort to solve the mysteries of premature birth. This team will collaborate with the other four centers as they pursue the challenging questions of what causes premature birth, and specifically address five interrelated transdisciplinary research themes around gene regulation.

In 2015, the March of Dimes extended their network of Prematurity Research Centers by welcoming the fifth center, a collaboration between the University of Chicago, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Duke University School of Medicine. As part of the national initiative to fund a network of research centers across the country, they will continue to examine the causes of prematurity to eventually prevent and end premature birth. This new center will be known as the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center UChicago-Northwestern-Duke.

Northwestern brings its expertise in stem cell biology and the cutting-edge applications relevant to that technology. Duke Medicine and the University of Chicago, who have previously collaborated on related projects, bring a diverse expertise in genomics.Working together all three institutions will develop the maps for critical genes relevant to pregnancy, as well as the switches that regulate these genes.