Our research program will evolve and be driven by:
- a broad perspective on the determinants of health and wellbeing
- the results of relevant research studies
- the advice of a scientific advisory committee.
Initially, the Centre’s research program will seek to build on our existing strengths in aspects of men’s health.
Longitudinal Studies of Male Health
The Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study (FAMAS) is a multidisciplinary population cohort study examining the health and health-related behaviours of 1195 randomly selected men, aged 35-80 years and living in the north west regions of Adelaide. It employs a broad range of investigative procedures in assessing the biomedical, socio-demographic, behavioural, physical and psychological interactions that contribute to the health and health-related behaviours of men.
The project also involves a number of cross-sectional sub-studies investigating specific age-related conditions. These include investigations into ocular health, cognitive function, obesity and nutrigenomics, motor function in ageing and osteoarthritis. A recent grant from the Premiers Science and Research Council will enable the enrolment of a regional cohort in Whyalla and facilitate links with other relevant cohort studies.
The focus of research in this area includes investigating the effects of obesity and diet induced weight loss on cardiovascular function, plasma androgens, sexual function and lower urinary tract symptoms in men. This work involves collaborations within UA and with researchers at the University of Queensland and Melbourne University and has been funded by the MBF Foundation.
A grant from Pfizer is funding studies to determine the metabolic and proteomic changes that occur with diet induced weight loss and weight regain in men together with a genomic study to determine markers of obesity risk and propensity to weight regain.
The prostate cancer research program aims to understand how prostate cancers grow and escape from hormonal control at the molecular and cellular level. This research is essential to develop new strategies for the treatment of prostate cancer. Growth of prostate cancer is initially controlled by androgens and current treatments work either by inhibiting the production of androgens or blocking their action in the cancer cells. Unfortunately not all patients continue to respond to these hormonal treatments and so alternatives are urgently needed.
This research program aims to better understand how the androgen receptor protein controls the growth of prostate cancer cells and to specifically target this protein to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells while minimising undesirable side effects such as bone loss, impotence, and impaired cognitive function.
Male Reproductive Health
The focus of the reproductive health research program is on the fundamental way that the male reproductive system and its hormones are programmed and influenced throughout life. This work includes a focus on the programming in the male foetus that determines the subsequent development of different testicular components, and how environmental factors, especially man-made chemical contaminants, determine the quality and quantity of testis function later in life. The production of testosterone by the testis, its mechanism of action, as well as that of its natural metabolites, such as estrogens, are also a focus of this research.
Recent research has highlighted that steroids can act on cells and tissues using very different mechanisms, which can be modulated by a number of common substances found in food and drink, as well as by apparently harmless chemicals in the environment. Research is beginning to define some of these new mechanisms, and the role they might be playing in diseases such as cancer. In addition to steroids, the testis also produces other hormones, such as the new insulin-like peptide 3 (INSL3). Studies are ongoing using both animal and human systems to evaluate the importance of this new and uniquely male hormone in promoting and maintaining masculine function.
Masculinity and Health
This research area is focused on socio-cultural understandings of masculinities, particularly the way in which men socially construct masculinities and how this intersects with aspects of health. This research also focuses on studies of men's body image, and looks at males across the lifespan as well as various demographics and subcultures.