Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies in Papua New Guinea – The impact of nutrition, malaria, and other infections on pregnant women and infants

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Masters by Research, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Researchers
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Number of Master Places Available
1
Department / Centre
Medicine and Radiology
Location
Burnet Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof James Beeson beeson@burnet.edu.au 9282 2111 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Michelle Scoullar michelle.scoullar@burnet.edu.au 9282 2111 Personal web page

Summary In resource-poor regions globally, pregnant women experience high rates of malaria, under-nutrition, and viral and bacterial infections, which can lead to maternal morbidity and mortality and low birth weight in infants, which results in a large number of infant deaths each year. The objective of this project is to determine the major preventable causes of poor maternal health and low birth weight to enable the development of future interventions to improve health and pregnancy outcomes. This project is offered as a laboratory or epidemiological project, or a combination of the two depending on student interests

Project Details

In resource-poor regions globally, pregnant women experience high rates of malaria, under-nutrition, reproductive tract infections, and other viral and bacterial infections. These can lead to maternal morbidity and mortality and in infants they can cause low birth weight (LBW) and premature delivery resulting in a significant number of infant deaths each year. In these settings, LBW is due to fetal growth restriction and preterm delivery. However the link between nutrition, malaria, STIs ,and other infections on birth outcomes is unknown. Being born too small is the biggest risk factor for neonatal death, and also puts infants at risk of poor growth and development.

Burnet has a research program in rural PNG, called Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, in partnership with the PNG Institute of Medical Research, East New Britain Provincial Government, University of PNG, the National Department of Health, and others. We have undertaken a longitudinal study of 700 pregnant women attending antenatal care, and followed them through to delivery. Among these women, we will measure markers of nutrition and evaluate micronutrient deficiencies, determine malaria and other infections. The association of nutrition, infections, and other factors during pregnancy with respect to birth outcomes will then be assessed. We are also investigating the mechanisms that lead to poor infant growth and mapping disease burden in the population. The objective of this project is to determine the major preventable causes of poor maternal and infant health and causes of LBW and poor child growth to enable the development of future interventions to improve health. This project is offered as a laboratory or epidemiological project, or a combination of the two depending on student interests.



Faculty Research Themes

Child Health, Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Women's Health



Research Opportunities

PhD students, Masters by Research, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Researchers
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre

Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Burnet Institute

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