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Dr Nicolette Hodyl

Telephone +61 8 8313 1303
Position MS McLeod Research Fellow
Building WCH - Norwich Centre
Floor/Room G
Campus Women's & Children's Hospital
Org Unit Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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Teaching Interests

PhD Candidates

Natalie Aboustate (Primary supervisor)
Project: Regulation of the innate immune response in the preterm neonate.

Rebecca Collins (Primary supervisor)
Project: An Investigation of cord blood biomarkers associated with poor child neurodevelopmental outcome at age 3 years.

Master's Students

Dr Kathryn Martinello (Primary supervisor)
Project: Biomarkers predicting bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in preterm neonates

Dr Amy Keir (Co-supervisor)
Project: Current transfusion practices and adverse effects in preterm neonates

Honours students
Amy Garrett (Primary supervisor)
Project: Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the glucocorticoid receptor, the cortisol awakening response and cognitive function

Tara Crawford (Primary supervisor)
Project: Effect of Pre-Transfusion Red Cell Washing on Endothelial activation and oxidation: A Randomised Controlled Trial

Nicollette Thornton (Co-Supervisor)
Assessing Lifestyle Influences on Brain Plasticity and Cognitive Function

Sophie Richards (Co-Supervisor)
The Effects of Acute Stress on Cognitive Function and Neuroplasticity

Sophia Xin Sui (Co-Supervisor)
Characterising brain function in obesity

Nathan Beu (Co-Supervisor)
Using a Novel Physiological Measure to Explain the Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Intelligence Substrate

Human Reproductive Health III. Research in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Research Project III: Biostatistics in Human Reproductive Health
Honours: Research Biostatistics for Honours Program, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health

Research Interests

My research seeks to identify the impact of common adverse exposures in pregnancy that contribute to altered fetal growth, aberrant HPA function and immune development, which ultimately lead to poor child neurodevelopmental outcomes. My specific areas of interest are (i) the effects of feto-placental inflammation on fetal and neonatal development; (ii) the role of antenatal exposure to endogenous and exogenous glucocorticoids in programming fetal systems; and (iii) the consequences of these early life exposures on child neuroendocrine function and neurodevelopment. This research involves linking clinical and environmental exposures in the perinatal period to neonatal and child health outcomes. My research spans basic science (assessing placental and cord blood biomarkers that lead to and/or predict poor outcomes) and epidemiology (examining outcomes in large Australian cohorts). Ultimately this research aims to identify aberrant processes and promulgate effective intervention strategies to (1) prevent poor neurodevelopment from occurring during the perinatal period, and (2) optimise neurodevelopment in children exposed to an adverse in-utero environment.

My research predominantly involves the study of preterm neonates. In Australia, over 24,000 babies are born prematurely every year. Over 500 of these babies will die in the neonatal period, while another 18,000 will suffer neonatal and/or lifelong morbidity. As such, preterm birth represents a huge emotional and social burden to affected parents and families, as well as a large economic cost to Australia's public health care system. My broad research area seeks to identify factors that contribute to poor brain development in this vulnerable population.

Research Funding

MS McLeod Research Fellowship (Women's and Children's Hospital Foundation, 2015-2018)
NHMRC Biomedical Research (Training) Fellowship (2011-2014)
NHMRC Project Funding (2014-2016)
Robinson Research Institute Near Miss Funding
Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation
Thrasher Research Foundation (Early Career Award)
Women's and Children's Research Foundation
University of Adelaide-Lyell McEwin Hospital Strategic Initiative
Colin Matthews Research Grant
Robinson Research Institute Travel Award


1. Stark MJ, Hodyl NA, Andersen CC (in press). Effects of antenatal magnesium sulphate treatment for neonatal neuro-protection on cerebral oxygen kinetics, Pediatric Research
2. Stark MJ, Hodyl NA, Belegar KK & Andersen CC. (in press) Feto-placental inflammation, cerebral oxygen consumption and susceptibility to early brain injury in very preterm newborns. Archives of Disease in Childhood
3. Andersen CC, Karayil SM, Hodyl NA & Stark MJ. (2015) Red blood cell transfusion favourably alters cerebral oxygen extraction in very preterm newborns. Archives of Disease in Childhood.
4. Hodyl NA, Grzeskowiak LG, Stark MJ, Scheil W, & Clifton VL (2014). The impact of Aboriginal status, active cigarette smoking and smoking cessation during pregnancy on perinatal outcomes in an Australian cohort. Medical Journal of Australia, 201(5): 274-278
5. Hodyl NA, Stark MJ, Scheil W, Grzeskowiak LG & Clifton VL (2014) Perinatal outcomes following maternal asthma and cigarette smoking during pregnancy. European Respiratory Journal, 43(3), 704-16
6. Clow A, Law R, Evans P, Vallence A, Hodyl NA, Goldsworthy MR, Rothwell JR & Ridding MC. (2014). Day differences in the cortisol awakening response predict day differences in synaptic plasticity in the brain. Stress, 17(3):219-23
7. Bain E, Pierides KL, Clifton VL, Hodyl NA, Stark MJ, Crowther CA & Middleton P (in press) Interventions for managing asthma in pregnancy (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 6.
8. Saif Z, Hodyl NA, Hobbs E, Tuck AR, Butler M, Osei-Kumah A & Clifton VL (2014). The human placenta expresses multiple glucocorticoid receptor isoforms that are altered by fetal sex, growth restriction and maternal asthma. Placenta, 35(4):260-8.
9. Froessler B, Collingwood J, Hodyl NA & Dekker G (2014) Intravenous ferric carboxymaltose for anaemia in pregnancy. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, Mar 25;14:115.
10. Hodyl NA, Stark MJ, Butler M & Clifton VL. (2013) Placental P-glycoprotein is unaffected by timing of antenatal glucocorticoid therapy but reduced in SGA preterm infants. Placenta, 34(4):325-30.
11. Jones M, Christofis L, Smith S & Hodyl N. (2013). An exploration of the perceptions of emergency physicians and trainees towards emergency nurse practitioners in Australia. Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 16(2), 73-80
12. Stark MJ, Clifton VL & Hodyl NA (2013). Differential effects of docasahexanoic acid (DHA) on preterm and term placental oxidant/anti-oxidant balance. Reproduction, 146(3), 243-51
13. Bain E, Pierides KL, Middleton P, Clifton VL, Hodyl NA, Stark MJ & Crowther CA (2013) Interventions for managing asthma in pregnancy (Protocols). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Oct 21;10:CD010660
14. Clifton VL, Hodyl NA, Fogarty PA, Torpy D, Roberts R, Nettelbeck T & Hetzel B. (2013) The impact of iodine supplementation and bread fortification in a mildly iodine deficient population of pregnant women in South Australia. The Nutrition Journal, 15;12:32.
15. Froessler B, Cocchiaro C, Saadat-Gilani K, Hodyl N & Dekker G (2013). Intravenous iron sucrose versus oral iron ferrous sulphate for antenatal and post-partum iron deficiency anaemia: a randomised trial. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine May;26(7):654-9
16. Clifton VL, Davies M, Moore V, Wright IMR, Ali Z & Hodyl NA. (2012) Developmental perturbation induced by maternal asthma during pregnancy: the short and long term impacts on offspring. Journal of Pregnancy, 2012:741613. Epub 2012 Jul 8.
17. Clifton VL, Stark MJ, Osei-Kumah A & Hodyl NA (2012). The feto-placental unit, pregnancy pathology and impact on long-term maternal health. Placenta, 33, Suppl, S37-41
18. Stark MJ, Hodyl NA, Butler M, Clifton VL (2012) Localisation and characterisation of uncoupling protein-2 (UCP2) in the human preterm placenta. Placenta, 33, 1020-1025
19. Clifton VL, Smith B, Roy A, Osei-Kumah A, Hodyl N, Stark M, Parange N & Saif Z (2012). Asthma during pregnancy. In: Polosa R, Papale G, Holgate ST, (eds.). Advances in Asthma Management. Future Medicine Ltd; 104-13.
20. McLernon PC, Wood LG, Murphy VE, Hodyl NA & Clifton VL (2012). Fatty acid profile of pregnant women with asthma. The European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, 7(2), e78-e85.
21. Roex A, Nikpoor P, Ven Eerd E, Hodyl N & Dekker G (2012). Serial plotting on customised fundal height charts results in doubling of the antenatal detection of small for gestational age fetus in nulliparous women. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 52, 78-82.
22. McLernon P, Wood LG, Murphy VE, Hodyl NA & Clifton VL (2012). Circulating antioxidant profile of pregnant women with asthma. Clinical Nutrition 31(1):99-107
23. Hodyl NA, Stark MJ, Osei-Kumah A & Clifton VL (2011). Prenatal programming of the innate immune response following in-utero exposure to inflammation: a sexually dimorphic process? Expert Reviews in Clinical Immunology, 7(5), 579-592
24. Hodyl NA, Stark MJ, Osei-Kumah A, Bowman M, Gibson P & Clifton VL (2011) Fetal glucocorticoid-regulated pathways are not affected by inhaled corticosteroid use for asthma during pregnancy. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 183(6), 716-22
25. Stark MJ, Hodyl NA, Wright I & Clifton VL (2011) Influence of sex and glucocorticoid exposure on preterm placental pro-oxidant-antioxidant balance. Placenta, 32, 865-870
26. Stark MJ, Hodyl NA, Wright IMR & Clifton VL (2011). The influence of sex and antenatal betamethasone exposure on vasoconstrictors and the preterm microvasculature. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 24(10):1215-20.
27. Scott NM, Hodyl NA, Osei-Kumah A, Stark MJ, Smith R & Clifton VL (2011). The presence of maternal asthma during pregnancy suppressed the placental pro-inflammatory response to an immune challenge in-vitro. Placenta, 32(6), 454-461
28. Hodyl NA, Wyper H, Osei-Kumah A, Scott N, Murphy VE, Gibson P, Smith R & Clifton VL. (2010). Sex-specific associations between cortisol and birth weight in pregnancies complicated by asthma are not due to differential glucocorticoid receptor expression. Thorax, 65(8), 677-83.
29. Hodyl NA, Walker FR, Krivanek KM, Clifton VL & Hodgson DM (2010). Prenatal endotoxin exposure alters behavioural pain responses to lipopolysaccharide in adult offspring. Physiology and Behavior, 100(2), 143-147.
30. Clifton VL, Hodyl NA, Murphy VE, Giles WB, Baxter RC & Smith R. (2010). Effect of maternal asthma, inhaled glucocorticoids and cigarette use during pregnancy on the newborn insulin-like growth factor axis. Growth Hormone and IGF Research, 20(1), 39-48.
31. Scott NM, Hodyl NA, Murphy VE, Osei-Kumah A, Wyper H, Hodgson DM, Smith R, Clifton VL (2009). Placental cytokine expression co-varies with maternal asthma severity and fetal sex. Journal of Immunology, 182 (3):1411-20.
32. Vu TT, Hirst JJ, Stark M, Wright IMR, Palliser H, Hodyl N & Clifton VL (2009). Changes in placental 5α reductase isoenzyme expression with advancing gestation: effects of fetal sex and glucocorticoid exposure. Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 21(4), 599-607.
33. Walker RF, Hodyl NA & Hodgson DM. (2009) Neonatal bacterial endotoxin challenge interacts with stress in the adult male rat to modify KLH specific antibody production but not KLH stimulated ex-vivo cytokine release. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 15; 207(1-2):57-65.
34. Hodyl NA, Krivanek KM, Clifton VL & Hodgson DM (2008) Innate Immune Dysfunction in the Neonatal Rat following Prenatal Endotoxin Exposure. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 204 (1-2):126-30.
35. Osei-Kumah A, Hodyl N & Clifton VL. (2008) Proteomics in Asthma. Expert Review of Clinical Immunology, 4(6), 713-721.
36. Hodyl NA, Krivanek KM, Seckold E., Clifton VL & Hodgson DM (2007) Prenatal exposure to a pro-inflammatory stimulus causes delays in immune maturation in the offspring. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 190 (1-2): 61-71.
37. Hodyl NA, Walker FR, Krivanek KM, Clifton V & Hodgson DM (2007). Modeling prenatal bacterial infection: Functional consequences of altered hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis development. Behavioural Brain Research, 178, 108-114.
38. Walker FR, Hodyl NA, Krivanek KM. & Hodgson DM (2006). Early life host-bacteria relations and development: Long-term individual differences in neuroimmune function following neonatal endotoxin challenge. Physiology and Behavior, 87(1), 126-134. 

Professional Associations

I am a member of the following societies:
Endocrine Society of Australia (ESA) -Treasurer
DOHaD Australia and New Zealand (DOHaD ANZ) - SA State Representative
International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)
International Federation of placental Associations (IFPA)
Australian and New Zealand Placental Research Australia (ANZPRA)
Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ)
Fetal and Neonatal Physiological Society (FNPS)
Healthy Development Adelaide (HDA)


Entry last updated: Thursday, 23 Jul 2015

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