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Dr Melanie McDowall

Telephone +61 8 8313 1013
Position Postdoctoral Fellow
Fax +61 8 8313 8177
Mobile +61 4 2703 0527
Building Medical School South
Floor/Room 2 04
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Obstetrics and Gynaecology

To link to this page, please use the following URL:

Biography/ Background

Senior Postdoctoral Fellow
Early Development Group
Robinson Research Institute
School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health
Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics
Institute for Photonic and Advanced Sensing

Google scholar profile

Research ID profile 


1998-1999: Bachelor of Science
The University of Adelaide

2000: Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide

2001-Conferred August 2005: Doctor of Philosophy (Health Science) 
Research Centre for Reproductive Health, The University of Adelaide
Title: The Rational Development of Improved In Vitro Maturation of Bovine Oocytes

Link to Thesis 


Awards & Achievements

2014 Meat and Livestock Australia Oral Presentation Award
Finalist, Society for Reproductive Biology Annual conference

2012 Newcastle Reproduction Early Career Research Emerging Leader Award
Finalist, Society for Reproductive Biology Annual conference

2011 Australian Society for Medical Research SA Conference
Winner, Best Oral Presentation (Early Career)

2006-2007 Young Tall Poppy Science Award
This award recognises the contribution of early career scientists to their field of research and communicating science to the general public ( Part of the award involves visiting high schools to discuss life as a scientist (Tall Poppies Reaching Kids).

2007 Australasian Hair and Wool Research Society
Travel scholarship recipient (International Congress of Hair Research Congress, Vancouver, Canada)

2004 Society for Reproductive Biology Annual Conference (Sydney NSW)
Travel scholarship recipient

2002 North West Adelaide Health Services Research Day
Finalist, Higher Degrees: Basic Science, Senior Students

2001 Society for Reproductive Biology Annual Conference (Gold Coast QLD)
Finalist, Junior Scientist Award and Travel scholarship recipient

2000 North West Adelaide Health Services Research Day
Winner, Basic Science, Honours students


Research Interests

Oocyte maturation
In vitro embryo production
Peri-conceptional environment
Maternal health
Glucose and hexose metabolism


Please note: Surname change from Sutton to McDowall, IF = impact factor and RIF = journal rating according to impact factor in Reproductive Biology (unless indicated)

Total Citations = 403 h-index = 8 (7 since 2008)

1. Zeng H, Richani D, Sutton-McDowall ML, Ren Z, Smitz J, Stokes Y, Gilchrist RB & Thompson JG (2014) Pre-maturation with cyclic adenosine monophosphate modulators alters cumulus cell and oocyte metabolism and enhances developmental competence of in vitro matured mouse oocytes, Biology of Reproduction, accepted (BIOLREPROD/2014/118471).

2. Sudiman J, Sutton-McDowall ML, White M, Mottershead DG, Thompson JG and Gilchrist RG (2014) Bone morphogenetic protein 15 in the pro-mature complex form enhances bovine oocyte developmental competence, PLoS One, submitted (PONE-D-13-43439).

3. Thompson JG & Sutton-McDowall ML (2014) The metabolism of ruminant cumulus oocyte complexes revisted, Soc Reprod Fertil Supp, accepted.

4. Sutton-McDowall ML, Yelland R, MacMillan KL, Robker RL & Thompson JG (2014) A study relating the composition of follicular fluid and blood plasma from individual Holstein dairy cows to the in vitro developmental competence of pooled abattoir-derived oocytes, Theriogenology, accepted (THERIO-13-01093).

5. Frank LA, Sutton-McDowall ML, Brown HM, Russell DL, Gilchrist RG & Thompson JG (2014) Hyperglycaemia Perturbs Mouse Oocyte Developmental Competence via Beta-O-Linked Glycosylation of Heat Shock Protein 90, Human Reproduction, accepted (HUMREP-13-1416).

6. Sugimura S, Ritter LJ, Sutton-McDowall ML, Mottershead DG, Thompson JG & Gilchrist RB (2014) Amphiregulin cooperates with bone morphogenetic protein 15 to increase oocyte developmental competence by gap junction-mediated enhanced metabolite supply, Molecular Human Reproduction, accepted (MHR-13-0285).

7. Frank LA, Sutton-McDowall ML & Thompson JG (2014) The effect of peri-conception hyperglycaemia and the involvement of the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway in mediating oocyte developmental competence. Molecular Reproduction and Development, accepted (MRD-13-0190).

8. Richani D, Sutton-McDowall ML, Frank LA, Thompson JG & Gilchrist RB (2014) Effect of epidermal growth-factor-like peptides on the metabolism of in vitro matured mouse oocytes and cumulus cells, Biology of Reproduction, accepted (BIOLREPROD/2013/115311)

9. Caixeta ES, Sutton McDowall ML, Gilchrist RB, Thompson JG, Price C, Machado MF, Lima PF & Buratini J (2013) Bone morphogenetic protein 15 and fibroblast growth factor 10 enhance cumulus expansion, glucose uptake and expression of genes in the ovulatory cascade during in vitro maturation of bovine cumulus-oocyte complexes, Reproduction, 146:27-35. IF 3.555 RIF 6/28 Citations 1

10. Zeng H, Ren Z, Guzman L, Wang X, Sutton-McDowall ML, Ritter LJ, De Vos M, Smitz J, Thompson JG & Gilchrist RB (2013) Heparin and cAMP modulators interact during pre-IVM to affect mouse and human oocyte meiosis and developmental competence, Human Reproduction, 28: 1536-45. IF 4.670 RIF 2/28 Citations 2

11. McDowall M, Watson Haigh NS, Edwards NM, Kadarmideen HN, Natrass GS, McGrice HA & Hynd PI (2013) Transient treatment of pregnant Merino ewes with modulators of cortisol biosynthesis coinciding with primary wool follicle initiation alters lifetime wool growth, Animal Production Science, 53: 1101-11. IF 1.897 RIF 6/55 (Agriculture, Dairy and Animal Science)

12. Rose RD, Gilchrist RB, Kelly JM, Thompson JG & Sutton-McDowall ML (2013) Regulation of sheep oocyte maturation using cAMP modulators, Theriogenology, 79:142-8. IF 2.082 RIF 17/28 Citations 4

13. Frank LA, Sutton-McDowall ML, Wang X, Feil DK, Russell DL, Gilchrist RB & Thompson JG (2013) Effect of varying glucose and glucosamine concentration in vitro on mouse oocyte maturation and developmental competence. Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 25: 1095-104. IF 2.583 RIF 13/28

14. Sutton-McDowall ML, Mottershead DG, Gardner DK, Gilchrist RB & Thompson JG (2012) Metabolic differences in bovine cumulus oocyte complexes matured in vitro in the presence or absence of follicle stimulating hormone and bone morphogenetic protein 15, Biology of Reproduction, 87:1-8. IF 4.027 RIF 5/28 Citations 2

15. Sutton-McDowall ML, Feil D, Robker RL, Thompson JG & Dunning KR (2012) Utilisation of endogenous fatty acid stores for energy production in bovine pre-implantation embryos, Theriogenology, 77: 1632-41. IF 2.082 RIF 17/28 Citations 9

16. Hussein TS, Sutton-McDowall ML, Gilchrist RB & Thompson JG (2011) Temporal effects of exogenous oocyte-secreted factors on bovine oocyte developmental competence during in vitro maturation, Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 23: 576-84. IF 2.583 RIF 13/28 Citations 10

17. McDowall ML, Edwards NM & Hynd PI (2011) The effects of short-term manipulation of thyroid status coinciding with primary wool follicle development on fleece characteristics in Merino sheep, Animal, 5: 1406-13. IF 1.648 RIF 9/54 (Agriculture, Dairy and Animal Science)

18. Sutton-McDowall ML, Gilchrist RB & Thompson JG (2010) The pivotal role of glucose metabolism in determining oocyte developmental competence, Reproduction, 139: 685-95. IF 3.555 RIF 6/28 Citations 61

19. Hynd PI, Edwards NM, Hebart M, McDowall M & Clark S (2009) Wool fibre crimp is determined by mitotic asymmetry and position of final keratinisation and not ortho- and para-cortical segmentation, Animal, 3 (6): 838-43. IF 1.648 RIF 9/55 (Agriculture, Dairy and Animal Science) Citations 2

20. McDowall M, Edwards NM, Jahoda CAB & Hynd PI (2008) The role of activins and follistatins in skin and hair follicle development and function, Cytokine and Growth Factor Reviews, 19 (5-6): 415-426. IF 8.831 RIF 23/290 (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) Citations 18

21. Sutton-McDowall ML, Mitchell M, Cetica P, Dalvit G, Pantaleon M, Lane M, Gilchrist RB & Thompson JG (2006) Glucosamine supplementation during in vitro maturation inhibits subsequent oocyte developmental competence: Possible role of the hexosamine pathway as a regulator of developmental competence, Biology of Reproduction, 74: 881-888. IF 4.027 RIF 5/28 Citations 23

22. Sutton-McDowall ML, Gilchrist RB & Thompson JG (2005) Effect of hexoses and gonadotrophin supplementation on bovine oocyte nuclear maturation during in vitro maturation in a synthetic follicular fluid medium, Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 17 (4): 407-415. IF 2.583 RIF 13/28 Citations 23

23. Sutton-McDowall ML, Gilchrist RB & Thompson JG (2004) Cumulus-expansion and glucose utilisation by bovine cumulus-oocyte complexes during in vitro maturation: the influence of glucosamine and follicle stimulating hormone, Reproduction, 128 (3): 313-319. IF 3.555 RIF 8/28 Citations 45

24. Gangnuss S, Sutton-McDowall ML, Robertson SA & Armstrong DT (2004) Seminal plasma regulates corpora lutea macrophage populations during early pregnancy in mice, Biology of Reproduction, 71 (4): 1135-1141. IF 4.027 RIF 5/28 Citations 9

25. Sutton ML, Cetica PD, Beconi MT, Kind KL, Gilchrist RB & Thompson JG (2003), The influence of oocyte-secreted factors and culture duration on the metabolic activity of bovine cumulus cell complexes, Reproduction, 126 (1): 27-34. IF 3.555 RIF 8/28 Citations 46

26. Sutton ML, Gilchrist RB & Thompson JG (2003), Effects of in vivo and in vitro environments on metabolism of the cumulus-oocyte complex and its influence on oocyte developmental capacity, Human Reproduction Update, 9 (1): 35-48. IF 89.234 RIF 1/28 Citations 148


Professional Associations

2001-2004, 2009-present: Society for Reproductive Biology (PR secretary for council)

2002-2004, 2009-present: International Embryo Transfer Society

2014-present: Australian Science Communicators

2011: Australian Society for Medical Research

2009: Australian Institute of Policy and Science

2004-2008: Sheep Genomics

2005-2008: Australasian Hair and Wool Research Society

2005-2009: Society for Investigative Dermatology (USA)


Community Engagement

2014: Featured in "Science Stories" blog from the Robinson Research Institute

2012-present: Contributor to "The Conversation" website

2013-2014: Spokes person for the "Fertility is ageist" campaign for the "Your Fertility" coalition, including the creation of a video explaining fertility in plain English

2013: Expert commentator for "New Scientist"

2006-2008: Website administrator for the Wool sub-program of Sheep Genomics

2006-2008: Tall Poppies Reaching Kids

2005-2007: Regulator contributor to the "Can You Believe It" column (The Advertiser newspaper)

My research has been discussed on numerous media platforms such as radio, website and print media. I'm currently the publicity secretary for the Society for Reproductive Biology and activities have included official tweeter for the society (@ReproductionSRB) and attending "Science Meets Parliament" in 2014. 

Expertise for Media Contact

CategoriesFertility & Reproduction
ExpertiseAssisted reproduction; in vitro embryo production; metabolism; glucose

Entry last updated: Sunday, 31 Aug 2014

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