Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies: Maternal nutrition and inflammation and their impact on pregnancy outcomes

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Project Status
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor James Beeson Personal web page
Dr Philippe Boeuf Personal web page

Project Details

The level of mortality and disease among newborns and children in Papua New Guinea is very high. Every year, 5,000 newborns die and almost half of those who survive have poor growth and development (known as stunting). Low birthweight is a major cause of both newborn death and poor growth and development of young children and is largely due to poor fetal growth.

The single strongest determinant of fetal growth is nutrient supply to the fetus and largely depends on maternal nutritional status and on the nutrient transport capacity of the placenta. Poor maternal nutrition and infectious causes of maternal inflammation (such as malaria) restrict the nutrient transport capacity of the placenta, contributing to poor fetal growth.

This project is part of our flagship Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program ongoing in Papua New Guinea in which we are following 700 pregnant women and their infants until 12 months after delivery. This project will use a combination of established assays (e.g. ELISA kits) and new powerful metabolomics/proteomic approaches to identify nutritional and inflammatory markers predictive of poor pregnancy outcomes, especially low birthweight.

Currently, the major causes of low birthweight in PNG are poorly understood. Identifying signatures of maternal malnutrition and inflammation could allow the identification of women at risk of delivering low birthweight babies to direct the limited health care resources to these at-risk pregnancies, as well as understanding the key causes of poor pregnancy outcomes.

For all queries please contact Arzum,

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Research Opportunities

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

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Key Contact

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


Medicine and Radiology

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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