Obstetrics, Nutrition and Endocrinology Group

Research Overview

The Lappas lab has a number of research themes. Current projects are examining the mechanisms that govern birth (Theme 1) and the development of gestational diabetes (Theme 2). It is hoped that this research will offer new insights into the development of therapeutics for the management of these conditions. Theme 3 is a novel area of reproductive research using dietary phytophenols as therapeutics to prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes. Other projects underway include collaborative studies such as the Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study (MPEWS) which promises to significantly advance our understanding the mechanisms through which maternal antenatal emotional disorders impacts fetal outcome.



  • Prof Megan Galbally, Murdoch University
  • Prof Sof Andrikopoulos, University of Melbourne
  • Prof Mary Wlodek, University of Melbourne
  • Prof Greg Rice, University of Queensland
  • Dr Carlos Salomon Gallo, University of Queensland
  • A/Prof Ramkumar Menon, Emory University
  • Dr Alicia Jawerbaum, University of Argentina



Norman Beischer Medical Research Foundation

Diabetes Australia

Rebecca L Cooper Foumndation


Endocrine Society of Australia

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Publications

Lappas M. Activation of inflammasomes in adipose tissue of women with gestational diabetes. Molecular and cellular endocrinology. 2014a;382:74-83.

Lappas M. Effect of pre-existing maternal obesity, gestational diabetes and adipokines on the expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism in adipose tissue. Metabolism: clinical and experimental. 2014b;63:250-62.

Lappas M. NOD1 expression is increased in the adipose tissue of women with gestational diabetes. The Journal of endocrinology. 2014c;222:99-112.

Lappas M. Copper metabolism domain-containing 1 represses the mediators involved in the terminal effector pathways of human labour and delivery. Molecular human reproduction. 2016a.

Lappas M. RAF1 is increased in labouring myometrium and modulates inflammation-induced pro-labour mediators. Reproduction. 2016b;151:411-20.

Lappas M, Mundra PA, Wong G, Huynh K, Jinks D, Georgiou HM, Permezel M, Meikle PJ. The prediction of type 2 diabetes in women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus using lipidomics. Diabetologia. 2015;58:1436-42.

Lappas M, Munns MJ, King RG, Rice GE. Antisense oligonucleotide inhibition of type II phospholipase A2 expression, release and activity in vitro. Placenta. 2001;22:418-24.

Lim R, Barker G, Lappas M. Activation of AMPK in human fetal membranes alleviates infection-induced expression of pro-inflammatory and pro-labour mediators. Placenta. 2015;36:454-62.

Lim R, Lappas M. A novel role for GSK3 in the regulation of the processes of human labour. Reproduction. 2015;149:189-202.

Lim R, Tran HT, Liong S, Barker G, Lappas M. The transcription factor interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF1) plays a key role in the terminal effector pathways of human preterm labor. Biology of reproduction. 2016;94:32.

Liong S, Lappas M. Endoplasmic reticulum stress is increased after spontaneous labor in human fetal membranes and myometrium where it regulates the expression of prolabor mediators. Biology of reproduction. 2014;91:70.

Liong S, Lappas M. Endoplasmic reticulum stress is increased in adipose tissue of women with gestational diabetes. PloS one. 2015;10:e0122633.

Liong S, Lappas M. Endoplasmic reticulum stress regulates inflammation and insulin resistance in pregnant skeletal muscle. Molecular and cellular endocrinology. 2016.

McCarthy EA, Walker SP, Ugoni A, Lappas M, Leong O, Shub A. Self-weighing and simple dietary advice for overweight and obese pregnant women to reduce obstetric complications without impact on quality of life: a randomised controlled trial. BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology. 2016.

Seth S, Lewis AJ, Saffery R, Lappas M, Galbally M. Maternal prenatal mental health and placental 11beta-HSD2 gene expression: initial findings from the Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study. International journal of molecular sciences. 2015;16:27482-96.

Walker SP, Ugoni AM, Lim R, Lappas M. Inverse relationship between gestational weight gain and glucose uptake in human placenta from female foetuses. Pediatric obesity. 2014;9:e73-6.