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Dr. Alan Bocking
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Dr. Alan Bocking


Dr. Alan Bocking

Dr. Alan Bocking is an Associate Member at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute and is also the Gordon C. Leitch Chair of the University of Toronto, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.  He is a Professor in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Physiology at the University of Toronto, past President of the Canadian Association of Academic Professionals in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (APOG), a member of the Ontario Provincial Maternal Newborn Advisory Committee, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Canada and the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society.

Dr. Bocking's main areas of study are the mechanisms underlying infection-mediated preterm labour. His other research interests include new diagnostic tests for preterm labour, the role of oxidative stress on fetal alcohol syndrome, as well origins of health and disease.

Dr. Bocking is also known internationally for his work in the Enhancement of Research Capacity in the Department of Reproductive Health at Moi University School of Medicine in Western Kenya. His work therefore aims to enhance research, teaching and clinical care in reproductive health in areas of cervical cancer, obstetric fistula as well as maternal newborn care through the provision of emergency obstetrical training courses.

Dr. Bocking is a renowned leader in enhancing communication between research institutes across Canada and internationally. As Co-Director of the Canadian Cohort Birth Registry in the Maternal, Infant and Child Research Network (MICYRN), he compiled work with colleagues, from the past 18 years that combined many birth cohort studies to create an internationally accessible inventory of relevant research for investigators across the globe.

Currently, Dr. Bocking is working with Dr. Stephen Lye and a team of more than 30 clinicians and researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital to lead the Ontario Birth Study,  the largest Canadian study of its kind to track the health of women and their babies.

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   At a Glance

  • Dr. Bocking has published over 100 original articles, reviews and book chapters and has given over 100 invited lectures related to his research.
  • He is the recipient of a Medical Research Council of Canada (MRC) Fellowship.

  • Dr. Bocking is studying the role of infection and inflammation in preterm birth, as well as the developmental origins of health and disease.

Major Research Activities

  • Dr. Bocking's lab was the first to demonstrate that the fetus when hypoxemic in the absence of acidemia, reverses the initial decrease in fetal breathing movements seen with acute asphyxia.
  • He has used in vivo cerebral microdialysis to study the effects of both reduced uterine blood flow and ethanol exposure on fetal cerebral extracellular adenosine and PGE2 levels in animal models. These studies also include the finding of biomarkers and signs of oxidative stress with ethanol exposure.
  • Dr. Bocking and his team discovered that the placental pro-inflammatory response to infectious stimuli is greater in pregnancies with a male fetus. He will continue this research to examine the effect of probiotic lactobacillus GR-1 on amnion epithelial cytokine and prostaglandin production, and he hopes to find the potential mechanisms whereby probiotic lactobacilli may be protective for preterm birth in women with bacterial vaginosis.
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