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

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Burnet Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof. James Beeson 92822111 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Philippe Boeuf 9282 2111 Personal web page

Project Details

Being born too small is the biggest risk factor for neonatal death. In addition, in resource-poor regions globally, pregnant women experience high rates of malaria, under-nutrition, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other viral and bacterial infections, which can lead to maternal morbidity and mortality and in infants, low birth weight (LBW) 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.

Burnet’s research program in rural PNG, 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 has 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 STIs. The association of nutrition, malaria, and STIs during pregnancy with respect to birth outcomes will then be assessed using epidemiological techniques.

The objective of this project is to determine the major preventable causes of poor maternal health and LBW 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.

Please contact Arzum Cubuk for further details:

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Women's Health

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
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.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Burnet Institute

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