Obstetrics and Gynaecology Overview

Our researchers undertake a wide range of basic, clinical and epidemiological research in obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatal paediatrics.

Overview

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology includes staff at its major centres, the Royal Women’s Hospital and the Mercy Hospital for Women and the associated teaching hospitals, Sunshine Hospital, Northern Hospital, Ballarat Hospital and Goulburn Valley Hospital. Our researchers undertake a wide range of basic, clinical and epidemiological research in obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatal paediatrics.

Main research strengths

Obstetrics

Our research covers a wide range of aspects of pregnancy and labour including ectopic pregnancy, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, foetal growth restriction, perinatal medicine and pre-term labour.

Gynaecology

Areas under investigation include the mechanisms and management of heavy menstrual bleeding, the genetics of endometriosis, aberrant uterine innervation, endometriosis-associated pain and uterine fibroids. Work on IVF includes investigation of uterine receptivity for embryo implantation.

Cancer

Research on cancer ranges from basic science through prevention to clinical studies. Ovarian cancer is a major focus with studies on characterisation of genes and microRNA associated with chemoresistant ovarian tumour cells, as well as characterisation and proteomic profiling of chemoresistant exosomes. The JAK-STAT signalling pathway is under study in mouse models as a possible target to reduce tumour growth associated with chemoresistance in serous ovarian cancer. Studies on immune aspects are being applied to the development of a novel ovarian cancer vaccine.

Aspects of treatment under study include synchrotron microbeam radiation therapy and prevention of infertility after chemoradiation.

Clinical trials in gynaecological cancer and sentinel node studies in endometrial and vulvar cancer are in progress.

Neonatal medicine

The Department has an international reputation in the field of neonatal research and longer term outcomes of premature birth, including studies on neonatal resuscitation, reducing lung injury in pre-term infants and improving the long-term health of high-risk infants.

Menopause

Research in this area covers both basic and clinical studies, including the mechanisms of vasomotor symptoms at menopause, non-hormonal management of menopausal symptoms, the impact of surgical menopause, the management of menopausal symptoms after cancer treatment and mental health at menopause.

Funding

Major sources of funding include the National Health and Medical Research Council, the National Institutes of Health (USA), Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne IVF, Diabetes Australia, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, National Heart Foundation and pharmaceutical companies.

Collaborators

We have close collaborative links with other departments within The University of Melbourne, and with other universities, institutes and organisations, both nationally and internationally, including Yale University (USA), University of Edinburgh (UK), University of Paris (France), University of London (UK), Norwegian University of Science and Technology, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (Saudi Arabia), Texas Biomedical Research Institute (USA), University of Leuven (Belgium), University of Helsinki (Finland) and the Karolinska Institutet (Sweden).

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