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Emmet Hirsch , MD

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Vice Chairman for Faculty and Practice Development
Senior Attending
Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Chicago

Contact Information


  • Undergraduate: BMS, Medical Sciences, Northwestern University  
  • Medical School: MD, Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University 
  • Residency: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University 
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Molecular Biology, Columbia University

Board Certification

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Research and Academic Interests

  • Infection and inflammation
  • The clinical and molecular pathogenesis of preterm labor
  • Avoidance of cesarean section and prevention of maternal injury during vaginal delivery
  • Operative vaginal delivery
  • Medical complications of pregnancy

For further information about current research and past discoveries, please visit the Hirsch Lab Web Page.

Career Summary

Emmet Hirsch, MD has held several positions at prestigious institutions and added to the field’s body of knowledge through ground-breaking basic and clinical research. While working at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons he developed a commonly used mouse model of preterm labor. He later transitioned to NorthShore University HealthSystem (formerly Evanston Northwestern Healthcare) where he was Director of the Division of Obstetrics (2001-2015) and is a Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Clinical Practice (2011-present). He was a professor at Northwestern University (2001-2009) and currently teaches University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine students, residents and fellows. Through his lab he has pioneered novel approaches to research in preterm labor and illuminated underlying mechanisms and conditions in infection- and inflammation-induced labor, thus identifying several candidates for pharmaceutical treatment and prevention of preterm labor. His insights and expertise have led to better practices for safe vaginal delivery and prevention of surgical site infections. Dr. Hirsch has mentored dozens of trainees and served on many advisory boards and committees. His research has been continuously externally funded from sources including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the March of Dimes, and the Satter Foundation among others.

Outside of his roles in the hospital Dr. Hirsch has published several opinion pieces and essays, as well as a novel, The Education of Doctor Montefiore. For more information about his writings, visit Emmet Hirsch’s author web page.

Dr. Hirsch is an Examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Honors and Awards

  • 1978 First Prize, Weizmann Institute of Science, National Science Competition for Youth, Rehovot, Israel
  • 1987 Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Medical Honors Society
  • 1992 Ralph Reis Award, first place, resident research competition, Chicago, IL
  • 1992 Chicago Maternity Center Outstanding Resident Award, Chicago, IL
  • 1992 Chicago Gynecological Society award for outstanding research presentation, first prize, Chicago, IL
  • 1992 Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO)/Parke-Davis Scholar Award
  • 1993 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists/Upjohn Company Research Award in Infectious Disease
  • 1993–1998 Physician Scientist Award (K11), National Institutes of Health
  • 1996–1998 Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award, the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
  • 1999 Berlex Foundation Scholar Award in Basic Science Research
  • 2001–2004 ENH Research Career Development Award (early career)
  • 2007 ENH Research Career Development Award (mid-career)
  • 2008 March of Dimes Jonas Salk Health Leadership Award for Research
  • 2008, 2009 Outstanding Teacher Award, Northwestern University Ob/Gyn Residency
  • 2014, NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Career Development Award
  • 2015, SRI Pfizer President’s Presenter award (for outstanding abstract at annual meeting)
  • 2015, NorthShore Scientific Society Excellence in Research Award
  • 2018, Endeavor Health Medical Group Outstanding Academician Award
  • 2018 – 2019, University of Chicago Medical Student Teaching Award2019 Central Prize (best abstract, 2019 Central Association of Ob-Gyn annual meeting)

Professional Memberships/Affiliations/Activities

  • Alpha Omega Alpha, Medical Honors Society
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Fellow #000344845I)
  • The Society for Gynecologic Investigation (Council member, 2014-2017; Co-chair of Nominations Committee, 2015/16, Chair 2016/17; Co-chair of Membership Committee, 2015/16, Chair 2016/17)
  • Central Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Perinatal Research Society (Council member, 2012-2013)
  • American Medical Association, 2016 - present

Scholarly Work

Publications in Peer-Review Journals:

  1. Hirsch E, Cohen L, Hecht B  Heterotopic pregnancy with discordant appearance of fetal cardiac activity.  Obstet Gynecol (1992) 79:824-5.
  2. Hirsch E, Saotome I, Hirsh D  A model of intrauterine infection and preterm delivery in mice.  Am J Obstet Gynecol (1995) 172:1598-603.
  3. Hirsch E, Irikura VM, Paul SM, Hirsh D  Functions of interleukin 1 receptor antagonist in gene knockout and overproducing mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (1996) 93:11008-13.
  4. Hirsch E. Anterior uterine incarceration. Int J Gynaecol Obstet (1997) 72:195-197.
  5. Hirsch E. Born too soon: Cervical ultrasonography to predict preterm delivery is unproven. The Female Patient (1998) 23: 12-21.
  6. Ma Y, Thornton S, Boivin GP, Hirsh D, Hirsch R, Hirsch E. Altered susceptibility to  collagen induced arthritis in transgenic mice with aberrant expression of IL-1 receptor antagonist. Arthritis Rheum (1998) 41: 1798-1805.
  7. Hirsch E, Mehta SP, Blanchard RK. Differential fetal and maternal contributions to the cytokine milieu in a murine model of infection-induced preterm birth. Am J Obstet Gynecol (1999) 180(2 Pt 1): 429-434.
  8. Mussalli GM, Brunnert SR, Hirsch E.  A murine model of renal abscess formation. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol (1999) 6:273-275.
  9. Irikura VM, Hirsch E, Hirsh D.  Effects of interleukin 1 receptor antagonist overexpression on infection by Listeria monocytogenes. Infect Immun (1999) 67: 1901-1909.
  10. Hirsch E, Otto T, Blanchard R, Rosenberg JO. Mouse laparoscopy. J Am Assoc Gynecol Laparosc (1999) 6: 173-177.
  11. Mussalli GM, Blanchard RK, Brunnert SR, Hirsch E. Inflammatory cytokines in a murine model of infection-induced preterm labor: Cause or effect? J Soc Gynecol Invest (1999) 6:188-195.
  12. Mussalli GM, Brunnert SR, Hirsch E. Preterm delivery in mice with renal abscess. Obstet Gynecol (2000) 95:453-6.
  13. Josephs MD, Solorzano CC, Ksontini R, Taylor M, Topping D, Abouhamze A, Mackay SLD, Hirsch E, Hirsh D, Labow M, Moldawer LL. Modulation of the acute phase response by altered expression of the IL-1 type 1 receptor or IL-1ra. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol (2000) 278:R824-R830.
  14. Leslie KK, Lee SL, Woodcock SM, Davies JK, McDuffie RS, Hirsch E, Sherman MP, Eskens JL, Gibbs RS. Acute intrauterine infection results in an imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in the pregnant rabbit. Am J Reprod Immunol (2000) 43(5):305-311.
  15. Wong M-L, Xie B, Beatini N, Phu P, Marathe S, Johns A, Hirsch E, Williams KJ, Licinio J, Tabas I. Acute systemic inflammation up-regulates secretory sphingomyelinase in vivo:  A possible new link between inflammatory cytokines and atherogenesis Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (2000) 97(15):8681-8686.
  16. Muhle RA, Pavlidis P, Grundy WN, Hirsch E. A high throughput study of gene expression in preterm labor with a subtractive microarray approach. Am J Obstet Gynecol (2001) 185:716-724.
  17. Hirsch E, Muhle RA, Mussalli GM, Blanchard R. Bacterially induced preterm labor in the mouse does not require maternal interleukin 1 signaling. Am J Obstet Gynecol (2002) 186:523-530.
  18. Devlin CM, Kuriakose G, Hirsch E, Tabas I. Genetic alterations of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist in mice markedly affect non-HDL lipoprotein cholesterol levels and foam cell lesion size. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (2002) 99:6280-6285.
  19. Hirsch E, Muhle RA. Intrauterine bacterial inoculation induces labor in the mouse by mechanisms other than progesterone withdrawal. Biol Reprod (2002) 67:1337-1341.
  20. Wang H and Hirsch E. Bacterially induced preterm labor and regulation of prostaglandin metabolizing enzyme expression in mice: the role of toll-like receptor 4. Biol Reprod (2003) 69:1957-63.
  21. Yoshimura K, Hirsch E. Interleukin 6 is neither necessary nor sufficient for preterm labor in a murine infection model.  J Soc Gynecol Investig (2003) 10:423-427.
  22. Yoshimura K, Hirsch E, Kitano R, Kashimura M. Cervical varix accompanied by placenta previa in twin pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol Res (2004) 30:323-5.
  23. Hirsch E and Wang H. The molecular pathophysiology of bacterially induced preterm labor: insights from the murine model. J Soc Gynecol Invest (2005) 12:145-55.
  24. Hirsch E, Goldstein M, Filipovich Y, Wang H. Placental expression of enzymes regulating prostaglandin synthesis and degradation. Am J Obstet Gynecol (2005) 192:1836-43.
  25. Yoshimura K and Hirsch E. Effect of stimulation and antagonism of interleukin-1 signaling on preterm delivery in mice. J Soc Gynecol Invest (2005) 12:533-8.
  26. Craft JM, Watterson DM, Hirsch E, Van Eldik LJ.  Interleukin 1 receptor antagonist knock-out mice show enhanced microglial activation and neuronal damage induced by intracerebroventricular infusion of human b-Amyloid. J Neuroinflammation (2005) 20;2(1):15.
  27. Hirsch E, Filipovich Y, Mahendroo M. Signaling via the type I IL-1 and TNF receptors is necessary for bacterially induced preterm labor in a murine model. Am J Obstet Gynecol (2006) 194:1334-40.
  28. Hirsch E.Protecting the perineum during operative vaginal delivery. Contemporary Ob/Gyn (2007) 52: 56-63.
  29. Ilievski V, Lu S-J, Hirsch E.Activation of toll-like receptors (TLR) -2 or -3 and preterm delivery in the mouse. Reproductive Sciences (2007) 14: 315-320.
  30. Blank V, Hirsch E, Challis JR, Romero R, Lye S. Cytokine signaling, inflammation, innate immunity and preterm labour. Placenta (2008) 29 Suppl A:S102-4.
  31. Hirsch E, Haney EI, Gordon TEJ, Silver, RK. Reducing high-order perineal laceration during operative vaginal delivery. (2008) Am J Obstet Gynecol 198:668.e1-668.e5.
  32. Filipovich Y, Lu S-J, Akira S, Hirsch E. The adaptor protein MyD88 is essential for E. coli induced preterm delivery in mice. Am J Obstet Gynecol (2009) 200:93.e1-93.e8.
  33. Hirsch E, Filipovich Y, Romero R. Failure of E. coli bacteria to induce preterm delivery in the rat. (2009) J Neg Results Biomed 8:1 (4 January 2009).
  34. Equils O, Moffatt-Blue C, Ishikawa T, Simmons CF, Ilievski I and Hirsch E. Pretreatment with pancaspase inhibitor (Z-VAD-FMK) delays but does not prevent intraperitoneal heat-killed group B streptococcus-induced preterm delivery in a pregnant mouse model. (2009) Inf Dis Obstet Gynecol Volume 2009, Article ID 749432, 8 pages. DOI:10.1155/2009/749432.
  35. Adams MG, Hirsch E, MacGregor SN, Kirschner CV and Silver RK. How Should We Respond to the Trend of Increasing Cesarean Delivery? Contemp OB Gyn. (2010) 55(6):30-38.
  36. Hirsch E, Lim C, Dobrez D, Adams MG, Noble W. Meteorological factors and timing of the initiating event of human parturition. Int J Biometeor (2011) 55: 265 - 272, DOI:10.1007/s00484-010-0332-2.
  37. Ilievski V and Hirsch E.Synergy between viral and bacterial toll-like receptors leads to amplification of inflammatory responses and preterm labor in the mouse. Biol Reprod (2010) 83:767-773,  doi:10.1095/biolreprod.110.085464.
  38. Tsai H-J, Hong X, Chen J, Liu X, Pearson C, Ortiz K, Hirsch E, Heffner L, Weeks DE, Zuckerman B, Wang X. The role of African ancestry and gene-environment interactions in predicting preterm birth. Obstet Gynecol (2011) 118(5):1081-1089.
  39. Liu X, Wang G, Hong X, Tsai HJ, Liu R, Zhang S, Wang H, Pearson C, Ortiz K, Wang D, Hirsch E, Zuckerman B, Wang X.. Associations between gene polymorphisms in fatty acid metabolism pathway and preterm delivery in a US urban black population. Hum Genet (2012) 2012131:341-51. DOI 10.1007/s00439-011-1079-5.
  40. Agrawal, V and Hirsch E. Intrauterine infection and preterm labor. Semin Fetal Neonatal Med (2012) 17: 12-19, DOI 10.1016/j.siny.2011.09.001.
  41. Abramov Y, Hirsch E, Ilievski V, Goldberg RP, Botros S, Sand PK. Expression of platelet-derived growth factor B mRNA during vaginal vs. dermal incisional wound healing in the rabbit. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol (2012) 162:216-20. DOI 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2012.03.012. PMID: 22464204.
  42. Qu X-W, Jilling T, Neerhof MG, Luo K, Hirsch E, Thaete LG.  Unilateral uterine ischemia/reperfusion-induced bilateral fetal loss and fetal growth restriction in a murine model require intact complement component 5.  J Reprod Immunol 95 (2012) 27– 35.
  43. Abramov Y, Hirsch E, Ilievski V, Goldberg RP, Sand PK. Transforming Growth Factor Beta-1 Gene Expression During Vaginal Wound Healing in a Rabbit Menopause Model. BJOG, (2013) 120:251–6. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03447.x. PMID: 22827859.
  44. Abramov Y, Hirsch E, Ilievski V, Goldberg RP, Botros SM, Sand PK.  Transforming Growth Factor Beta Gene Expression During Vaginal vs. Cutaneous Surgical Wound Healing in the Rabbit. Int Urogynecol J (2013) 24 (4):671-675. PMID: 22872035.
  45. Thaete LG, Qu X-W, Jilling T, Crawford SE, Fitchev P, Hirsch E, Khan S and Neerhof MG. Impact of toll-like receptor 4 deficiency on the response to uterine ischemia/reperfusion in mice. Reproduction (2013) 145: 517–526. DOI: 10.1530/REP-12-0433.
  46. Agrawal V, Smart K, Jilling T, Hirsch E. Surfactant Protein (SP)-A Suppresses Preterm Delivery and Inflammation via TLR2. PLoS ONE (2013) 8 (5):e63390. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063990. PMID:23700442.
  47. Jaiswal MK, Agrawal V, Mallers T, Gilman-Sachs A, Hirsch E and Beaman KD. Regulation of Apoptosis and Innate Immune Stimuli in Inflammation Induced Preterm Labor. J Immunol 2013 191:5702-13. PMID:24163412.
  48. Hirsch E, Elue R, Wagner A, Nelson K, Silver RK, Zhou Y, Adams MG. Severe perineal laceration during operative vaginal delivery: the impact of occiput posterior position. J Perinatol (2014) 34:898-900. doi: 10.1038/jp.2014.103. Epub 2014 May 29.
  49. Colicchia LC, Lauderdale DS, Du H, Adams M, Hirsch E.Recurrence of Group B Streptococcus Colonization in Successive Pregnancies. J Perinatol. 2015 Mar;35(3):173-6. doi: 10.1038/jp.2014.185. Epub 2014 Oct 1
  50. Agrawal V, Jaiswal MK, Ilievski V, Beaman KD, Jilling T, Hirsch E. Platelet Activating Factor (PAF): A role in preterm delivery and an essential interaction with toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling in mice. Biol Reprod (2014) Nov;91(5):119. DOI: 10.1095/biolreprod.113.116012. Epub Sep 24.
  51. Lu J, Reese J, Zhou Y, Hirsch E. Progesterone-induced activation of membrane-bound progesterone receptors in murine macrophage cells. J Endocrinol (2015) 224:183-194. DOI: 10.1530/JOE-14-0470
  52. Agrawal V, Jaiswal MK, Mallers T, Gilman-Sachs A, Beaman KD, Hirsch E. Altered autophagic flux enhances inflammatory responses during inflammation-induced preterm labor. Sci Rep (2015) 5:9410. doi: 10.1038/srep09410
  53. Filipovich Y, Agrawal V, Crawford SE, Fitchev P, Qu X, Klein J; Hirsch E. Depletion of polymorphonuclear leukocytes has no effect on preterm delivery in a mouse model of E. coli-induced labor. Am J Obstet Gynecol. (2015) 213:697.e1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.07.025. PMID: 26215328.
  54. Jaiswal MK*, Agrawal V*, Pamarthy S, Katara GK, Kulshrestha A, Gilman-Sachs A, Beaman KD and Hirsch E (*co-first authors). Notch signaling in inflammation-induced preterm labor. Sci Rep. 2015 Oct 16;5:15221. doi: 10.1038/srep15221. PMID: 26472156
  55. Agrawal V*, Jaiswal MK*, Pamarthy S, Katara G, Kulshrestha A, Gilman-Sachs A, Hirsch E, Beaman KD  (*co-first authors). Role of Notch signaling during lipopolysaccharide-induced preterm labor. J Leukoc Biol. (2016) 100:261-74 doi: 10.1189/jlb.3HI0515-200RR. PMID: 26373439. Featured as “Leading Edge Research” with a press release on the FASEB website (
  56. Filipovich, Y, Klein J, Zhou Y, Hirsch E. Maternal and fetal roles in bacterially-induced preterm labor in the mouse. Am J Obstet Gynecol (2016) 214:386.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.10.014. PMID: 26478101
  57. Turrentine M, Colicchia LC, Hirsch E, Cheng P-J, Tam T, Ramsey PS, Page-Ramsey SM. Efficiency of screening for the recurrence of antenatal Group B Streptococcus colonization in a subsequent pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis with independent patient data. Am J Perinatol (2016) 33:510-7. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1569988. PMID: 26683604
  58. Thaete LG, Qu X-W, Neerhof MG, Hirsch E, Jilling T. Fetal growth restriction induced by transient uterine ischemia-reperfusion: Differential responses in different mouse strains. Reprod Sci. (2017). doi: 10.1177/1933719117732160. PMID: 28946817
  59. Dambaeva S, Schneiderman S, Jaiswal MK, Agrawal V, Katara G, Gilman-Sachs A, Hirsch E, Beaman KD. IL-22 Prevents Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Preterm Labor in Mice. Biol Reprod (2018) 98:299-308. doi: 10.1093/biolre/iox182. PMID: 29315356.
  60. Agrawal V, Jaiswal MK, Beaman KD and Hirsch E. Surfactant Protein (SP)-A Suppresses Preterm Delivery Induced by Live E. coli in Mice. Biol Reprod (2018) 99:546-555 doi: 10.1093/biolre/ioy074. PMID: 29590302.
  61. Mishra P, Hirsch E. Variable responsiveness to agonists for TLR2 and TLR7 in myometrial cells from different sources: correlation with receptor expression. In Press, Reproductive Sciences.
  62. Shah AA, Wang, D, Hirsch E. Nucleic acid-based screening of maternal serum to detect viruses in women with labor or PROM. In press, Reproductive Sciences.
  63. Scholz RC, Smith BA, Adams MG, Shah M, Brudner C, Datta A, Hirsch E. A multi-faceted surgical site infection prevention bundle for cesarean delivery. In press, Am J Perinatol.

Active Grants:

  •  NIH/NICHD (1R01HD092446-01A1, Borders, PI) Psychosocial Intervention, Maternal Inflammation, and Birth Outcomes: Centering vs. Routine Prenatal Care (PIINC), $562,857 Direct costs, 4/3/18-3/31/23.

  • Ferring Research Institute (FRI) Innovation Grant. A novel use for surfactant protein A (SP-A) to prevent preterm delivery. Direct costs $58,459, 1/1/19 – 12/31/19.

  • The Associate Board, NorthShore University HealthSystem. Surfactant Protein A (SP-A): A Novel agent to prevent preterm birth. Direct costs $130,000, 3/1/19 – 2/28/22.

  • NIH/NICHD (1R01HD096209, Hirsch, PI) Prevention of Preterm Birth Using the Collectin Surfactant Protein A (SP-A), Direct costs $942,117, 4/11/19 – 3/31/23.


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