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Professor Michael Davies

Telephone +61 8 8313 6845
Position Professor ARC Future Fellow
Fax +61 8 8313 4099
Building Hughes Building
Floor/Room 8 21
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Paediatrics and Reproductive Health

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Biography/ Background

Professor Michael Davies is an epidemiologist located within the Robinson Reserach Institute at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. He co-directs the Lifecourse and Intergenerational Health Research Group.

His research focuses on the social and biological pathways to health at different points in the life course, commencing with the question of how periconceptional and pregnancy related factors alter our health trajectories. As part of this research program, he is interested in fertility decision making and the technologies that are involved in managing fertility, including questions related to the safety and effectiveness of treatments for infertility.


  • BA, University of Adelaide, 1980
  • BA (Hons), University of Adelaide, 1981
  • MPH, University of Adelaide, 1994
  • PhD, University of Adelaide, 2000

Awards & Achievements

  • Basil Hetzel Award for Leadership in Public Health, Public Health Association of Australia (2011, jointly with Prof V Moore)
  • James C Petrie Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen UK (2010)
  • ARC Future Fellowship, 2010-2014
  • NHMRC Research Fellow (2004-2009)
    (Career Development Award in Population Health)
  • Visiting Associate Professor
    Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
    National Perinatal Statistics Unit
    University of New South Wales (2007-2008)

Research Funding

Selected recent research funding

1.       2011-14 Davies MJ. ARC Future Fellowship FT100101018 $789,196 Building child health through maternal wellbeing

 2.       2005 -2009 Davies MJ.   NHMRC: 349548:  $426,250
Career Development Award in Population Health. Fertility and the future: Translating new knowledge & technologies into reproductive health for Australian populations

 3.       2007-2009 Moore VM, Robinson JS, Davies MJ, Warin M, Ryan P, Worsley NHMRC Strategic Award A Healthy Start to Life for All Australians. 465437 $1.09 million  
Early life influences on obesity and fat patterning in children: critical periods, environmental determinants, and socio-cultural context.

 4.       2007-2011 NHMRC Program Grant 453556  $10.36 million
 Norman RJ, Rodgers R, Robertson SA, Thompson J, Lane M, Davies MJ, Dekker GA.
Periconceptional foundations for a healthy start to life.

5.       2007—2013 NHMRC Strategic Award 465455 A Healthy Start to Life for All Australians. $1.96 million Davies MJ, Moore VM, Robinson JS, Phillips D, Norman R, DeStavola B
Intergenerational growth and risk of metabolic disorders.

6.       2007-2008            National Heart Foundation ID: G 06A 2481
Moore VM, Davies MJ, Ryan P, Robinson JS.
Consequences of women's nutrition during pregnancy for cardiovascular health of their children.

 7.       2014 HeartKids, Australia $50,000 Davies MJ. Use of infertility drugs and the risk of congenital heart defects.



Journal publications since 2010

 1.             Warin M, Moore VM, Davies MJ Ulijaszek S. Epigenetics, Obesity science and New Material Feminisms: Biohabitus and transmission. Body & Society. Accepted August 8 2014.

2.             Fernandez RC, Peters S, Carey R, Davies MJ, Fritschi L. Assessment of exposure to shiftwork mechanisms in the general population: the development of a new job-exposure matrix. Occupational and Environmental Medicine Published Online First: 6 August 2014

3.             Altered glucose metabolism in mouse and humans conceived by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) Chen M, Wu L, Zhao J, Wu F, Davies M, Wittert G, Norman R, Robker R, Heilbronn L. Diabetes Aril 23 1014.

4.             Marino JL, Moore VM, Willson KJ, Rumbold AR, Whitrow MJ, Giles LC, Davies MJ. Perinatal outcomes by mode of assisted conception and sub-fertility in an Australian data linkage cohort. PLOSOne January 08, 2014  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080398

5.           Grzeskowiak LE, Dekker G, Rivers K, Roberts-Thomson K, Roy A, Smith B, Bowden J, Bryce R, Davies MJ, Beilby J, Wilson A, Middleton P, Ruffin R, Karnon J, Clifton VL.  A randomized controlled trial to assess the clinical and cost effectiveness of a nurse-led Antenatal Asthma Management Service in South Australia (AAMS study)  BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014, 14:9

6.             Steele EJ, Giles LC, Davies MJ, Moore VM Is precarious employment associated with women remaining childless until age 35 years? Results from an Australian birth cohort study. Human Reproduction November 19, 2013 doi:10.1093/humrep/det407

7.             Davies MJ. Mental disorders in children conceived after fertility treatment BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published28 August 2013)

8.             Whitrow MJ, Davies MJ, Giles LC, De Stavola BL, Owens JA, Maftei O, Moore VM. Effects of birth size, post-natal growth and current size on insulin resistance in 9-year-old children: a prospective cohort study. Eur J Pediatr. 2013 Sep;172(9):1207-14

9.             Giles LC, Whitrow MJ, Rumbold AR, Davies CE, de Stavola B, Pitcher JB, Davies MJ, Moore VM. Growth in early life and the development of obesity by age 9 years: are there critical periods and a role for an early life stressor? International Journal of Obesity 2013 Apr;37(4):513-9.

10.         Davies MJ. Infertility treatment at the edge: Discovery and risk converge at the limits of knowledge.  Archives of Disease in Childhood 2013 Feb;98(2):89-90.

11.         Lim SS , Norman RJ, Davies MJ, Moran LJ.  The effect of obesity on polycystic ovary syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2013 Feb;14(2):95-109.

12.         Lim SS, Norman RJ, Davies MJ, Moran LJ. Overweight, obesity and central obesity in PCOS women: A systematic review and meta-analysis Human Reproduction Updates 2012 Nov;18(6):618-37.

13.         Davies MJ, Haan EA. Reproductive technologies: the alchemy of life. Medical Journal of Australia 2012; 197 (5): 276-277.

14.         Champion SL, Rumbold AR, Steele EJ, Giles LC, Davies MJ, Moore VM. Parental work schedules and child overweight and obesity. Int J Obesity 2012 Apr;36(4):573-80

15.         Rumbold AR, Giles LC, Steele EJ, Davies CE, Davies MJ, Moore VM.  The effects of house moves during infancy and early childhood on child behaviour at age 9.5 years: an Australian prospective birth cohort study.  BMC Public Health, 2012, 12:583

16.         Davies MJ, March WA, Willson KJ, Giles, LC, Moore VM. Weight and thinness at birth independently predict symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome in adulthood: a retrospective birth cohort study Human Reproduction; 2012 May;27(5):1475-80. Epub 2012 Feb 28

17.          Davies MJ, Moore VM, Willson K, Van Essen P, Priest K, Scott H, Haan EA, Chan A. The risk of birth defects by reproductive technologies within a population cohort New England Journal of Medicine, 2012 May 5; 366:1803-13. Listed in Faculty of 1000, May 2012

18.         Davies MJ, Marino J, Willson KJ, March WA, Moore VM.  Intergenerational associations of chronic disease and polycystic ovary syndrome.  PLoS One 2011;6(10):e25947. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

19.         Steele E, Giles L, Davies MJ, Moore VM. The Life Journeys of Young Women Project: Objectives, Design, and Recruitment. Am J Epidemiol. 2011;174(1):72–80

20.         Whitrow MJ, Willson KJ, Moore, VM, Davies MJ. Waist-to-height ratio is not a predictor of systolic blood pressure in 3 year old children. Pediatrics, 2011 Sep;159(3):501-3.

21.         Giles LC, Davies MJ, Whitrow MJ, Rumbold AR, Lynch JW, Sawyer MG, Moore VM.  Structured regression analyses of life course processes: An example exploring how maternal depression in early childhood affects children’s subsequent internalizing behaviour Annals of Epidemiology 2011 Sep;21(9):654-9.

22.         Steele E, Giles L, Davies MJ, Moore VM. The Life Journeys of Young Women Project: Objectives, Design and Recruitment Results. American Journal of Epidemiology 2011; 174, 72-80. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr047

23.         Warin M, Moore VM, Zivkovic T, Davies MJ. Telescoping the origins of obesity to women’s bodies: How gender inequalities are being squeezed out of Barker’s hypothesis. Annals of Human Biology 2011 Jul;38(4):453-60.

24.         Warin M, Zivkovic T, Moore VM, Davies MJ. Mothers as smoking guns: foetal overnutrition and the reproduction of obesity. Feminism and Psychology. Feminism & Psychology Volume 22 Issue 3, August 2012.

25.         Giles LC Moore VM, Whitrow MJ, Warin MJ, Davies MJ.  Maternal depressive symptoms during toddlerhood and child behaviour at age 5½ years: Results from an Australian prospective birth cohort study. 2011 Jul;128(1):e78-84. Epub 2011 Jun 13.

26.         Marino J, Moore VM, Rumbold A, Davies MJ. Fertility treatments and the young women who use them: an Australian cohort study. Human Reproduction 2011, 26(2):473-9.  

27.         Davies MJ. Commentary: Early lessons in life: maternal education and fetal growth. International Journal of Epidemiology 2010; doi: 10.1093/ije/dyq107

28.         Giles LC, Glonek GFV, Moore VM, Davies MJ, Luszcz MA. Lower age at menarche affects survival in older Australian women: Results from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing  BMC Public Health BMC Public Health 2010, 10:341doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-341

29.         MAGESTIC (McLernon DJ, Harrild K, Bergh C, Davies MJ, de Neubourg D, Dumoulin JCM, Gerris J, Kremer JAM, Martikainen H, Mol BW, Norman RJ, Thurin Kjellberg A, Tiitinen A, van Montfoort APA, Van Peperstraten A, Van Royen E, Bhattacharya S) Clinical effectiveness of elective single versus double embryo transfer: results from an individual patient data meta-analysis of randomised trials. BMJ 2010 Dec 21;341:c6945. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c6945

30.         Zivkovic T, Warin M, Davies MJ, Moore VM. In the Name of the Child: The Gendered Politics of Childhood Obesity. Journal of Sociology Journal of Sociology 2010; 46(4)

31.         Clifton VL, Davies MJ, Moore VM, Wright IM, Ali Z, Hodyl NA. Developmental perturbation induced by maternal asthma during pregnancy: the short- and long-term impacts on offspring. Journal of pregnancy.;2012:741613. doi: 10.1155/2012/741613. Epub 2012


Selected earlier publications

 32.         Critical period, accumulation and social mobility hypotheses: Using a regression framework to explore mothers’ partner status in early childhood and externalizing behaviours of children at 5½ years. Giles LC, Moore VM, Whitrow MJ, Sawyer MG, Lynch JW, Davies MJ.  Australasian Epidemiologist 16:325-29 Dec 2009

33.         Effect of supplemental folic acid in pregnancy on childhood asthma: a prospective birth cohort study. Whitrow MJ, Moore VM, Rumbold AR, Davies MJ. American Journal of Epidemiology 2009;170(12) 1486-1493.  
Listed in Faculty of 1000 Biology, Nov 2009

34.         The prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome in a community sample assessed under contrasting diagnostic criteria. March WA, Moore VM, Willson KJ, Phillips DIW, Norman RJ, Davies MJ. Human Reproduction 2010;2:1:544-551. 
Listed in Faculty of 1000 Medicine, Jan  2010.

35.         Mahajan NN, Turnbull DA, Davies MJ, Jindall UN, Briggs NE, Taplin JE. Changes in Affect and State Anxiety across an IVF/ICSI cycle: The role of Biomedical and Sociodemographic Factors. Fertility Sterility (Feb 23 Epub ahead of print)

36.         Warin M, Turner K, Moore VM, Davies MJ. Bodies, mothers and identities: rethinking obesity and BMI. Sociology of Health & Illness 2008, 30(197-111).

37.         Factors and perceptions that influence women’s decisions to have a Single Embryo Transferred. de Lacey S, Davies MJ, Homan G, Briggs N, Norman RJ. Reproductive Biomedicine Online on web 26 September 2007

38.         Nohr EA, Bech BH, Davies MJ, Frydenberg M, Henriksen TB, Olsen J. Prepregnancy obesity and fetal death: A study within the Danish National Birth Cohort. Obstet Gynecol 2005 Aug;106(2):250-259.

39.         Moore VM, Davies MJ, Willson KJ, Worsley A, Robinson JS. Dietary composition of pregnant women is related to size of the baby at birth. Journal of Nutrition 2004 Jul;134(7):1820-1826.

40.         Norman RJ, Noakes M, Wu R, Davies MJ, Moran L, Wang JX. Improving reproductive performance in overweight/obese women with effective weight management. Human Reproduction Update 2004;10(3):267-280.

41.         Wang JX, Davies MJ, Norman RJ.  Obesity increases the risk of spontaneous abortion during infertility treatment. Obesity Research 2002;10:551-554.

42.         Moore VM, Davies MJ. Nutrition before birth, programming, and the perpetuation of social inequalities in health. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002;11 Suppl 3:S529-536.

43.         Moore VM, Davies MJ. Early life influences on later health: the role of nutrition. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2001;10(2):113-117.

44.         Wang JX, Davies MJ, Norman RJ.  Body mass and probability of pregnancy during assisted reproduction treatment: retrospective study.  British Medical Journal 2000;321:1320-1321.

45.         Slade GD, Spencer AJ, Davies MJ, Stewart JF. The influence of exposure to fluoridated water on socio-economic inequalities in children's caries experience. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 1996;24:89-100.

46.         Davies MJ, Spencer AJ, Westwater A, Simmons B. Dental caries experience in Aboriginal, non‑Aboriginal Australian born and overseas born children. WHO Bulletin 1997;75:197-203.

47.         Sedgwick AW, Thomas DW, Davies MJ. Relationships in men and women between change in aerobic fitness and changes in blood pressure and plasma lipids: The “Adelaide 1000”, a four year follow-up. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 1993;46:141-151.

48.         Owen N, Davies MJ. Preferences for smoking cessation services: Results of a population survey. Preventive Medicine 1990;19:424-431.

49.         Sedgwick AW, Thomas DW, Davies MJ, Baghurst KI. Relationship between weight change and blood lipids in men and women: The Adelaide 1000. International Journal of Obesity 1990;14:439-450.

Key reviews

 50.         Davies MJ, Norman RJ. Programming and reproductive functioning. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 2002;13(9):386-392.

51.         Davies MJ. Programming: The twin perspective. Reproduction Fertility and Development 2005;17(3):379-386.

52.         Davies MJ. Evidence for effects of weight on reproduction in women. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 2006 May;12(5):552-61.

53.         Moore VM, Davies MJ. Diet during pregnancy, neonatal outcomes and later health.  Reproduction Fertility and Development 2005;17(3):341-348

54.         Kind KL, Moore VM, Davies MJ. Diet around conception and during pregnancy – fetal and neonatal outcomes. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 2006 May;12(5):532-41.

55.         Homen GE, Davies MJ, Norman RJ. The impact of lifestyle factors on reproductive performance in the general population and those undergoing infertility treatment: a review. Hum Reprod Update. 2007, 13(3)209-23


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) publications and reports


The following are official publications of the AIHW which form authoritative reference texts for clinical and policy use nationally and internationally. 


Named contributor, peer reviewed:

56.         Australia’s Health, 1992. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Canberra: AGPS; 1992. ISSN 1032-6138 Initial print run 4,500

57.         Australia’s Health, 1994. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Canberra: AGPS; 1994. ISSN 1032-6138 Initial print run 4,500

58.         Australia’s Health, 1996. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Canberra: AGPS; 1996. ISSN 1032-6138   Initial print run 4,500, plus 25,600 html downloaded copies as of Jan 2009

Australian Commonwealth Government consultancy reports

 59.         Spencer AJ and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Dental Statistics and Research Unit. Policy directions for dental care for Australian adults. AIHW; 1993.

60.         Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Dental Statistics and Research Unit and Social and Preventive Dentistry, The University of Adelaide. A Research Database on Dental Care in Australia, Interim Report. AIHW; 1993.

61.         Allister J, Brennan D, Davies M, Hoskin G, Robert-Thomson K, Spencer J, Slade G, Stewart J, Szuster F. A Research Database on Dental Care in Australia, Final Report. AIHW; 1993.

62.         Carter K, Stewart J, Davies MJ, Szuster FSP, Allister J, Slade G, Spencer AJ. National dental telephone interview survey, 1994. AIHW; 1994.

63.         Brennan D, Slade GD, Davies MJ, Spencer AJ. Adult dental programs survey (cross sectional), 1994. AIHW; 1994.

64.         Allister J, Brennan DS, Carter KD, Davies MJ, Slade GD, Spencer AJ, Stewart JF, Szuster FSP, Thomson WM. Commonwealth Dental Health Program Baseline Evaluation Report 1994. AIHW; 1995.

65.         Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Dental Statistics and Research Unit. Commonwealth Dental Health Program Research Report 1. AIHW; 1995.

66.         Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Dental Statistics and Research Unit. Commonwealth Dental Health Program Research Report 2. AIHW; 1995.

67.         Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Dental Statistics and Research Unit. Commonwealth Dental Health Program Research Report 3. AIHW; 1995.


NHMRC consultancy report

 68.         Report to the National Health & Medical Research Council on the Adequacy of Supply of Excess ART Embryos for Research in Australia, March 2003. de Lacey S, Davies MJ, Norman RJ. Tender RTF 38/0203..


Community Engagement

  • 2001 BBC, London - Obesity and fertility
  • 2002 Advertiser, Adelaide, South Australia - Single embryo transfer and IVF
  • 2002 Brisbane Courier Mail - Effects of poverty on birth size
  • 2002 The Age, Melbourne - Stress of multiple pregnancy
  • 2002 The Herald Sun, Sydney - Stress of multiple pregnancy
  • 2003 ABC Catalyst, Sydney - Long term birth outcomes of ART
  • 2003 Sunday Telegraph, Sydney - Obesity and pregnancy success
  • 2004 Dairy Australia Updates - Maternal diet and fetal growth
  • 2004 Melbourne, Herald Sun - Maternal diet and fetal growth
  • 2004 Radio 2UE, New South Wales - Maternal diet and fetal growth
  • 2004 Advertiser, Adelaide - Monitoring of ART babies in the UK
  • 2005 The Bulletin, Australia - Assisted reproduction and age
  • 2005 Sydney Morning Herald - Risk factors for miscarriage
  • 2005 BBC World Service, AAP, Reuters, New Scientist, Herald Sun - Growth before birth and PCOS in young women.
  • 2006 Australian Science Media Centre. Secondary sex ratios and stress.
  • 2006 Herald Sun Sydney, Radio 2UE Sydney, Channel 10 National News, Macquarie News. Smoking in pregnancy and reproductive disorders in offspring.
  • 2007 Canberra Times Sex ratios among offspring of athletes
  • 2007 Sydney Morning Herald Surgical reversal of sterilization
  • 2008 Channel 10 Adelaide Folate supplementation and asthma
  • 2009 Channel 10 Adelaide, 5AA Adelaide, Advertiser Adelaide, Brisbane Courier Mail. Intergenerational health and reproduction
  • 2009 ABC Radio National Maternal diet in pregnancy and adiposity in offspring.
  • 2009 Reuters Health New York, Medical Observer, AAP, The Advertiser Adelaide, ABC radio Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Sydney SAFM radio Australia, 2GB Sydney, Jiji Press Japan. Folate supplementation during pregnancy and asthma in children. Press articles in over 130 print media outlets internationally.
  • 2010 Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC). Ad hoc commentary on current topics in the media (approximately 4 times per year), plus ad hoc media requests
  • 2011 ABC Radio ‘The Health Report" 15th July 2011 Vanishing twins and birth defects.
  • 2011 ABC Radio, 5AA radio, Channel 10 Sydney, The Advertiser Adelaide, "The Conversation" Melbourne, PCOS and parental CVD risk
  • 2012 IVF and Birth defects, press release reported over 700 times in first 7 days. Personal interviews with NY Times (USA), BBC (UK), ABC News Radio (Australia), ABC ‘The Health Report" and >20 other media interviews in the first week.
  • 2014 Perinatal outcomes after infertility and related treatments. Interviewed by all major television channels in Australia, ABC radio, Australian, with over 400 media reports in first 24 hours.
  • 2014 Safety of assisted conception. Nature

Expertise for Media Contact

CategoriesMedicine & Medical Research, Fertility & Reproduction
ExpertiseEpidemiology, fertility, human reproduction, social structure, assisted reproduction, assisted reproduction technologies, birth defects from assisted reproduction

Entry last updated: Sunday, 24 Jan 2016

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