Professor Claire Roberts

Professor Claire Roberts
 Position Senior Research Fellow
 Org Unit Paediatrics and Reproductive Health
 Telephone +61 8 8313 3118
 Location Floor/Room WS6067 ,  Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences Building ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Current Appointments

    • Lloyd Cox Professorial Research Fellow, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide

    • Deputy Director, Robinson Research Institute

    • President, Australian and New Zealand Placenta Research Association

    • President Elect, International Federation of Placenta Associations

    • Co-Convenor, Healthy Development Adelaide

    • Chair, Healthy Development Adelaide, Executive Committee

    • Member of the Executive Committee of the Robinson Research Institute

    • Pregnancy and Birth Theme Leader Robinson Research Institute

    • Head, Placental Development Laboratory

    • Member of the Editorial Board of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology

    • NHMRC Academy Member 2014, 2016, 2017

    Past Appointments

    • NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide 2012-2016
    • NHMRC Senior Research Fellowships Panel Member 2015 
    • 2014 Award for Excellence in Higher Degree by Research Supervision School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health
    • 2012-2016 NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship
    • 2010 Inaugural Robinson Institute Directors Award
    • 2010 Inaugural Healthy Development Adelaide Leadership Award
    • 2009 International Federation of Placenta Associations (IFPA) Award in Placentology
    • 2007 ARI !mpact Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Finalist 
    • 2007 Telstra Business Woman of the Year (IBM Community and Government Award) SA Finalist
    • 2004 Bio Innovation SA Bio 2004 Scholarship

    • 2000 Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand Best New Investigator Award SA
    • 1999-2000 Hilda Farmer Medical Research Fellow University of Adelaide
    • 1997-1998 Sir Colin and Lady MacKenzie Fellow in Comparative Anatomy

    • 1994 Doreen McCarthy Bursary (AFUW Inc)  

    • 1991-1994 Australian Postgraduate Research Award 

    • 1990 A.R. Riddle Scholarship 



  • Research Interests

    A number of pathologies of pregnancy, including up to 50% of miscarriages, preeclampsia (hypertension and proteinuria in pregnancy), intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), preterm labour, unexplained stillbirth and placental abruption are characterised by impaired cytotrophoblast invasion and inadequate response of the uterine spiral arteries to undergo physiological transformation. Together these conditions affect more than one quarter of pregnant women in developed societies. Our laboratory takes a "bench to bedside" approach to discovery and solving clinical problems in pregnancy that have their origins in placental development and maternal adaptation to pregnancy. We undertake basic cellular and molecular experiments to elucidate mechanisms that govern normal and abnormal placental development. We also have a strong focus on identifying genetic, nutritional, lifestyle and clinical factors that associate with pregnancy outcome in the SCOPE and PAPO pregnancy cohorts. Current projects include single nucleotide polymorphisms in mother, father, baby trios in prediction of pregnancy complications, the role of vitamin D in placentation (in human and knockout mice), the role of hypoxia in early placental differentiation, and sex differences in the human placental transcriptome.

    1. Diagnosing risk for pregnancy complications and applying results of basic research to clinical problems

    We were funded by Government of South Australia to develop predictive tests for couples' risks for complications of late pregnancy, specifically preeclampsia, IUGR and pre-term birth. This is the Adelaide arm of the SCOPE (SCreening fOr Pregnancy Endpoints) project. SCOPE is an international consortium of clinicians and scientists who by the end of 2011 had assembled a biobank and detailed clinical and lifestyle database for nearly 6,000 women pregnant for the first time and their partners. Recruiting has ceased in all SCOPE centres.  In Adelaide we are undertaking a targeted gene approach and aim to identify genes that determine a couple's risk prior to the development of symptoms. These genes have already been shown to be important in the control of placental development. We have a particular interest in how the father imparts risk for pregnancy complications in the mother and baby. We have recently developed algorithms to predict risk in early pregnancy for subsequent preeclampsia, preterm birth, IUGR and gestational diabetes using combinations of genetic, clinical and lifestyle factors.
    We have another cohort Predicting Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes (PAPO) in whom women suffer recurrent pregnancy complications but primarily recurrent spontaneous miscarriage (RSM). It appears that RSM is in the continuum of pregnancy complications associated with poor placentation. We aim to elucidate molecular mediators in RSM and identify potential therapeutic targets for subsequent development and testing.
    We will begin recruiting women to our new cohort study, Screening Tests to Predict poor Outcomes in Pregnancy (STOP Study) in early 2015. We aim to validate our early pregnancy screening tools based on our predictive algorithms for risk of pregnancy complications. We will utilise our new software designed to provide an individualised probability of risk for each couple in the STOP Study. We will also continue to collect important clinical and lifestyle data about each pregnancy and health of both mother and child.

    2. The role of Vitamin D in the placenta and pregnancy success

    Recently, vitamin D has emerged as a micronutrient critical to optimal pregnancy outcome. In women, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with complications of pregnancy including preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes, preterm birth and a greater need for caesarean section. Although our understanding of the specific functions of vitamin D in pregnancy is scant, it seems likely that vitamin D deficiency may play a role in complicated pregnancies because robust regulation of vitamin D activation and degradation occurs in the placenta. The placenta contains enzymes responsible for localized vitamin D activation and degradation, as well as the vitamin D receptor, which is responsible for mediating vitamin D-dependent gene expression. In addition, vitamin D is known to interact with the IGFs and with members of the renin angiotensin system that are also important in pregnancy success (see below).
    Perhaps the best known function of vitamin D is in the maintenance of calcium balance. Indeed, calcium supplementation in women with low dietary calcium has been shown to prevent preeclampsia. However, little is known of the mechanisms by which vitamin D and calcium act in the placenta and in maternal adaptation to pregnancy. Vitamin D is likely to interact with a number of other systems in a calcium-dependent and -independent manner, thus providing potential mechanisms for complications of pregnancy associated with vitamin D deficiency. We will elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which vitamin D deficiency affects placentation and pregnancy outcome to provide the breakthrough in vitamin D and pregnancy research that has been elusive to date.

    3. Epigenetic programming of placental and fetal development

    IGF2 and its specific membrane receptor, IGF2R, are imprinted genes which means that only one copy of the gene is expressed, the other having been silenced by DNA methylation. IGF2 is expressed from the paternal allele, while IGF2R is expressed only from the maternal allele in most species. We have recently shown that both genes are important in controlling placental invasion. A number of factors can alter the methylation status of imprinted genes including maternal nutrition, ex vivo embryo culture and cloning. Previously, we examined the effect of cloning, ex vivo embryo culture and periconceptional undernutrition on placental development and methylation of imprinted genes in the sheep. Currently we are determining whether imprinting may play a role in human pregnancy complications and particularly in placental development. We have recently quantified allele specific expression of IGF2, IGF2R and H19 across gestation in human placenta. Of most intrerest is our finding that H19 imprinting in placenta is plastic across first trimester. Biallelic expression of H19 has previously been shown in term placenta from preeclamptic pregnancies and was associated with hypertensive crisis. Could it be that aberrant H19 imprinting in first trimester is an important epigenetic link to preeclampsia? We are also currently exploring patterns of DNA methylation in non-imprinted genes and their relationship with placental development and pregnancy success.

    4. Placental invasion and the blood supply to the placenta

    A current focus in basic research in our group is on the development of the placenta and the vessels which supply it. A number of pathologies of pregnancy, including up to 50% of miscarriages, preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), preterm labour, unexplained stillbirth and placental abruption are characterised by an impaired cytotrophoblast invasion and inadequate response of the uterine spiral arteries to undergo physiological transformation. Together these conditions affect more than one quarter of pregnant women in developed societies. We aim to understand the factors that impair placental invasion and function and apply this understanding to determining which couples are at risk of developing serious pregnancy complications.
    We are investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the formation of vascular connections between the mother and fetus. The uterine arterioles which supply the placenta are invaded by placental cytotrophoblast cells and are dramatically remodelled to produce dilated compliant vessels which allow the 12 fold increase in blood flow to the uterus which is essential for normal placental, and hence fetal, growth. However, the mechanisms by which physiological transformation of these vessels occurs are poorly understood. We are currently delineating the cellular and molecular interactions between maternal decidua and fetal trophoblast during the normal transformation of the arterioles which supply the placenta using both human placental tissue and that in mice. 

    5. The role of the renin angiotensin system in the placenta and pregnancy outcome

    The renin angiotensin system is best known for its actions in regulating blood pressure and water/salt homeostasis. During pregnancy this system is an important mediator of the dramatic changes in plasma volume and peripheral resistance. Pregnant women are less sensitive to the pressor effects of angiotensin II than non-pregnant women and are able to maintain blood pressure at normal levels in this highly haemodynamic state. However, the placenta also has its own local RAS which appears to be important for local angiogenesis and affects trophoblast invasion. We are identifying associations of this system with pregnancy complications and are undertaking in vitro studies to determine functional effects and interactions.

    6. The Influence of Fetal Sex on the Placental Transcriptome

    It has been known for sometime that there are sex differences in fetal growth, survival and long term health with boys at greater risk than girls for adverse outcomes. We have NHMRC funding to investigate sex differences in the placental transcriptome in normal pregnancy in order to elucidate the normal differences in placental function between females and males. We are utilising RNA sequencing, meta-analysis of microarray data and other high throughput genomics and bioinformatics approaches to understand placental sex differences.


    Staff and students

    Prof  Claire Roberts, Research Leader

    Prof Gus Dekker, Clinical Leader

    Dr Tina Bianco-Miotto, Senior Lecturer School of Agriculture Food and Wine

    Dr Prabha Andraweera, NHMRC Peter Doherty Training Fellow

    Dr Jessica Phillips, Postdoctoral Fellow (Coordinator STOP Study)

    Dr Shalem Leemaqz, Postdoctoral Fellow (Biostatistics)

    Dr Tanja Jankovic-Karasoulos, Postdoctoral Fellow

    Dr Dale McAninch, Postdoctoral Fellow

    Dr Jessica Grieger, Postdoctoral Fellow

    Dr Petra Verburg, PhD Student

    Julia Dalton, Midwife/PhD student

    Samantha Pahl, Midwife

    Dylan McCullough, Research Assistant

    Caitlin McCullough, Research Assistant

    Dr Dee McCormack, Postgraduate student

    Rebecca Wilson, Postgraduate student

    Ben Mayne, Postgraduate student

    Michelle Plummer, Postgraduate student

    Brooke Loughhead, Honours student

    Melanie Smith, Honours student

  • Research Funding

  • Publications


    Publications 2017-2012 from >135 publications since 1994


    • *Buckberry S, Bianco-Miotto T, Bent S, Clifton VL, Shoubridge C, Shankar K, Roberts CT Placental transcriptome co-expression analysis reveals conserved regulatory programs across gestation. BMC Genomics 18:10.
    • *Highet AR, Bianco-Miotto T, Pringle KG, Peura A, Bent SJ, JV Zhang, Nottle MB, Thompson JG, Roberts CT Addition of Insulin like growth factor 2, urokinase plasminogen activator and plasminogen to embryo culture media improves murine embryo development, implantation and pregnancy success Reproduction 153(3):327-340.
    • Vieira MC, Poston L, Fyfe E, Gillet A, Kenny LC, Roberts CT, Myers J, Walker J, McCowan LM, North RA, Pasupathy D on behalf of the SCOPE Consortium. Clinical and biochemical factors associated with preeclampsia in women with obesity. Obesity 25, 460-467.
    • McCowan LME, Thompson JMD, Taylor RS, Baker PN, North RA, Poston L, Roberts CT, Simpson NAB, Walker JJ, Myers J, Kenny LC Prediction of small for gestational age infants in healthy nulliparous women using clinical and ultrasound risk factors combined with early pregnancy biomarkers. PLOS One 12(1):e0169311.
    • Mayne BT, Leemaqz SY, Smith AK, Breen J, Roberts CT, Bianco-Miotto T Accelerated placental aging in early onset preeclampsia pregnancies identified by DNA methylation. Epigenomics Available online 29 November 2016.
    • *Andraweera PH, Gatford KL, Dekker GA, Leemaqz S, Jayasekara RW, Dissanayake VH, McCowan L, Roberts CT The INSR rs2059806 single nucleotide polymorphism, a genetic risk factor for vascular and metabolic disease, associates with pre-eclampsia, Reproductive Biomedicine Online Available online 12 January 2017.


    • Cecatti JG, Souza RT, Sulek K, Costa ML, Kenny LC, McCowan LM, Pacagnella RC, Villas-Boas SG, Mayrink J, Passini R Jr, Franchini KG, Baker PN, Parpinelli MA, Calderon IM, Cassettari BF, Vetorazzi J, Pfitscher L, Filho EPR, Leite DF, Feitosa FE, Costa e Silva CL, Poston L, Myers JE, Simpson NAB, Walker JJ, Dekker GA, Roberts CT Use of metabolomics for the identification and validation of clinical biomarkers for preterm birth: Preterm SAMBA. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 16
    • Lie S, Morrison JL, Williams-Wyss O, Suter CM, Humphreys DT, Ozanne SE, Zhang S, MacLaughlin SM, Kleemann DO, Walker SK, Roberts CT, McMillen IC Impact of maternal undernutrition around the time of conception on factors regulating hepatic lipid metabolism and microRNAs in singleton and twin fetuses American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism 310(2):E148-59.

    • Delforce SJ, Wang Y, Van-Aalst ME, Corbisier de Meaultsart C, Morris BJ, Broughton-Pipkin F, Roberts CT, Lumbers ER, Pringle KG Effect of oxygen on the expression of renin-angiotensin system components in a human trophoblast cell line Placenta 37:1-6.
    • *Leemaqz SY, Dekker GA, Kenny LC, Myers J, Simpson NAB, McCowan LME, Poston L, Roberts CT Maternal marijuana use has independent effects on risk for spontaneous preterm birth but not other common late pregnancy complications Reproductive Toxicology 62:77-86.
    • *Highet AR, Buckberry S, Mayne BT, Khoda SM, Bianco-Miotto T Roberts CT First trimester trophoblasts forming endothelial-like tubes in vitro emulate a ‘blood vessel development' gene expression profile. Gene Expression Patterns 21(2):103-110.
    • *Verburg PE, Tucker G, Scheil W, Erwich JJ, Dekker GA, Roberts CT Sexual dimorphism in adverse pregnancy outcomes - A retrospective Australian population study 1981-2011. PlOS One 11(7):e0158807.
    • *Mayne BT, Bianco-Miotto T, Buckberry S, Breen J, Clifton V, Shoubridge C, Roberts CT Large scale gene expression meta-analysis reveals tissue-specific, sex-biased gene expression in humans. Frontiers in Genetics 7:183. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2016.00183.
    • *Verburg PE, Tucker G, Scheil W, Erwich JJ, Dekker GA, Roberts CT Seasonality of gestational diabetes mellitus - A South Australian population study. BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care. 4:e000286. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2016-000286.
    • *McCormack CD, Shand K, Furness DLF, Dekker GA, Roberts CT 3D Ultrasound findings in women attending a recurrent miscarriage clinic: A prospective cohort study. Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine 19:142-146. doi:10.1002/ajum.12032.
    • *Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Leemaqz SY, McCowan LM, Roberts CT The obesity associated FTO gene variant and the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes: evidence from the SCOPE study Obesity 24(12):2600-2607.
    • Zhang S, Barker P, Botting KJ, Roberts CT, McMillan CM, McMillen IC, Morrison JL Restriction of placental growth from conception in the sheep results in changes in placental structure and growth factor expression that occur independently of whether the fetus becomes hypoxaemic in late gestation. Physiological Reports 4:e13049 DOI: 10.14814/phy2.13049.


    • Pringle KG, Weatherall L, Corbisier de Meaultsart C, Keogh L,Sands S, Blackwell CC, Hall S, Clausen D, Apen K, Hollebone K, Roberts CT, Eades S, Brown A, Wadhwa PD, Collins CE, Smith R, Lumbers ER, Rae K The Gomeroi gaaynggal cohort: a preliminary study of the maternal determinants of pregnancy outcomes in Indigenous Australian women. Journal of Pregnancy and Child Health 2:7.
    • Wilson RL, Buckberry S, Spronk F, Laurence JA, Leemaqz SY, O'Leary, Bianco-Miotto T, Anderson PH, Roberts CT Vitamin D receptor gene ablation in the conceptus has limited effects on placental morphology, function and pregnancy outcome PLOS One 10(6):e0131287. 
    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Jayasekara RW, Dissanayake VHW, Roberts CT Polymorphisms in the inflammatory pathway genes and the risk of preeclampsia in Sinhalese women. Journal of Maternal Fetal and Neonatal Medicine 22:1-5.
    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Thompson SD, Jayasekara RW, Dissanayake VHW, Roberts CT The obesity related FTO gene variant associates with the risk of recurrent miscarriage. ACTA Obstetricia Gynecologica Scandinavica 94:722-726.
    • Andraweera PH, Gatford KL, Dekker GA, Leemaqz SY, Russell DL, Thompson SD, McCowan LM, Roberts CT Insulin family polymorphisms in pregnancies complicated by small for gestational age infants. Molecular Human Reproduction  3:e12495.
    • Standen P, Sferruzzi-Perri AN, Taylor R, Heinemann G, Zhang JV, Highet AR, Pringle KG, Owens JA, Kumarasamy V, Lumbers ER, Roberts CT Maternal insulin-like growth factor 1 and 2 differentially affect the placental renin angiotensin system during early placentation in guinea pigs Growth Hormone and IGF Research 25:141-147.
    • Stockham S, Stamford JE, Roberts CT, Fitzsimmons TR, Marchant C, Bartold PM, Zilm PS Abnormal Pregnancy Outcomes in Mice Using an Induced Periodontitis Model and the Haematogenous Migration of Fusobacterium nucleatum Sub-species to the Murine Placenta PLoS One 10(3):e0120050.
    • Myers JE, Thomas G, Tuytten R, Van Herrewege Y, Djiokep RO, Roberts CT, Kenny LC, Simpson NAB, North RA, Baker PN Mid trimester maternal ADAM12 levels differ according to fetal sex in pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia. Reproductive Sciences 22(2):235-41.
    • Highet AR, Khoda SM, Buckberry S, Leemaqz S, Bianco-Miotto T, Ellinger-Wu E, Roberts CT Hypoxia induced HIF1/HIF2 activity alters trophoblast transcriptional regulation and promotes invasion European Journal of Cell Biology 94(12):589-602.
    • Lie S, Morrison JL, Williams-Wyss O, Suter CM, Humphreys DT, Ozanne SE, Zhang S, MacLaughlin SM, Kleemann DO, Walker SK, Roberts CT, McMillen IC Impact of periconceptional and preimplantation undernutrition on factors regulating myogenesis and protein synthesis in muscle of singleton and twin fetal sheep. Physiological Reports 3(8) pii:e12495.


    • Gatford KL, Heinemann GK, Thompson SD, Zhang JV, Owens JA, Dekker GA, Roberts CT Circulating IGF1 and IGF2 and SNP genotypes in pregnant and non-pregnant women and men. Endocrine Connections 3(3): 138-149.
    • Sykes S, Pringle KG, Zhou A, Dekker GA, Roberts CT, Lumbers ER The balance between human maternal plasma angiotensin II and angiotensin 1-7 levels in early gestation pregnancy is influenced by fetal sex Journal Of The Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System Available 15(4):523-531.
    • Sykes S, Pringle KG, Zhou Z, Dekker GA, Roberts CT, Lumbers ER Fetal sex and the circulating renin-angiotensin system in early gestation in women who later develop preeclampsia or gestational hypertension Journal of Human Hypertension 28(2):133-9. 
    • Lie S, Morrison JL, Williams-Wyss O, Suter CM, Humphreys DT, Ozanne SE, Zhang S, MacLaughlin SM, Kleemann D, Walker SK, Roberts CT, McMillen IC Periconceptional Undernutrition Programs Changes in Insulin Signaling Molecules and MicroRNAs in Skeletal Muscle in Singleton and Twin Fetal Sheep Biology of Reproduction 90(1):5-15.
    • Lie S, Morrison JL, Williams-Wyss O, Suter CM, Humphreys DT, Ozanne SE, Zhang S, MacLaughlin SM, Kleemann D, Walker SK, Roberts CT, McMillen IC Impact of embryo number and maternal undernutrition in the periconceptional or preimplantation period on insulin signalling molecules, gluconeogenic factors and microRNAs in the liver in the fetal sheep American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism 306(9):E1013-24.
    • Buckberry S, Bent SJ, Bianco-Miotto T, Roberts CT massiR: a method for predicting the sex of samples in gene expression microarray datasets Bioinformatics 30(14):2084-2085.
    • Buckberry S, Bent SJ, Bianco-Miotto T, Dekker GA, Roberts CT Integrative transcriptome meta-analysis reveals widespread sex-biased gene expression at the human fetal-maternal interface. Molecular Human Reproduction 20(8):810-819.
    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Thompson SD, Nowak RC, Jayasekara RW, Dissanayake VHW, Roberts CT Polymorphisms in the fibrinolytic pathway genes and the risk of recurrent miscarriage. Reproductive Biomedicine Online 29(6):745-751.

    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Thompson SD, Jayasekara RW, Dissanayake VHW, Roberts CT Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α gene polymorphisms in early and late onset preeclampsia in Sinhalese women. Placenta 35(7):491-495.
    • Kenny LC, Black M,Poston L, Taylor R, Myers J, Baker PN, McCowan LME, Simpson N, Dekker GA, Roberts CT, Rodems K, Noland B, Raymundo M, Walker JJ, North RA Early pregnancy prediction of preeclampsia in nulliparous women, combining clinical risk and biomarkers; the SCOPE international cohort study. Hypertension 64(3):644-652.
    • Williams-Wyss O, Zhang S, MacLaughlin SM, Kleemann DO, Walker SK, Suter CM, Cropley JE, Morrison JL, Roberts CT, McMillen IC Embryo number and periconceptional undernutrition in the sheep have differential effects on adrenal epigenotype, growth and development. American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism 307(2):E141-150.


    • Zhou A, Dekker GA, Lumbers ER, Lee SY, Thompson SD, McCowan LME, Roberts CT The association of AGTR2 polymorphisms with preeclampsia and uterine artery bilateral notching is modulated by maternal BMI Placenta 34(1): 75-81.

    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Dissanayake V, Bianco-Miotto T, Jayasekara R, Roberts CT Vascular endothelial growth factor family gene polymorphisms in preeclampsia in Sinhalese women in Sri-Lanka. Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine 26(5): 532-536.

    • Xiang R, Johns WH, Eindorf T, Rutley DL, Kruk ZA, Fitzsimmons CJ, Thomsen DA, Roberts CT, Burns BM, Anderson GI, Greenwood PL, Hiendleder S Maternal and Paternal Genetics Differentially Affect Myofibre Characteristics and Muscle Weights of Bovine Fetuses at Midgestation PLoS One 8(1):e53402.
    • Myers J, Tuytten R, Thomas G, Laroy W, Kas K, Vanpoucke G, Roberts CT, Kenny LC, Simpson NAB, Baker PN, North RA Integrated proteomics pipeline yields novel biomarkers for predicting preeclampsia Hypertension 61(6):1281-8.
    • Zhou A, Dekker GA, Lumbers ER, Leemaqz SY, Thompson SD, Heinemann GA, McCowan LME, Roberts CT The association of maternal ACE A11860G with small for gestational age pregnancies is modulated by the environment and fetal sex: a multicentre prospective case-control study Molecular Human Reproduction 19:618-627.
    • McCowan LME, Thompson J, Taylor RS, North RA, Poston L, Baker PN, Myers J, Roberts CT, Dekker GA, Simpson NB, Walker JJ, Kenny LC Clinical prediction of infants small for gestational age by customised birthweight centiles in a healthy nulliparous cohort. PLoS One 8(8):e70917.

    • van der Graaf AM, Zeeman G, Groen H, Roberts CT, Dekker GA Non-invasive assessment of maternal hemodynamics in early pregnancy. Pregnancy Hypertension 3(4):261-269.

    • McCarthy FP, O'Keeffe LM, Khashan AS, North RA, Poston L, McCowan LME, Baker PN, Dekker GA, Roberts CT, Walker JJ, Kenny LC The impact of maternal alcohol consumption in early pregnancy on pregnancy outcome Obstetrics and Gynaecology 122(4):830-837.
    • Lie S, Sim SM, McMillen IC, William-Wyss O, MacLaughlin SM, Kleeman DO, Walker SK, Roberts CT, Morrison JL Maternal undernutrition around the time of conception and embryo number each impact on the abundance of key regulators of cardiac growth and metabolism in the fetal sheep heart J DOHAD 4(5):377-390.

    • Zhang S, Williams-Wyss O, Maclaughlin SM, Walker SK, Kleeman DO, Suter CM, Morrison JL, Molloy L, Cropley JE, Roberts CT, McMillen IC Maternal undernutrition during the first week after conception results in decreased expression of glucocorticoid receptor mRNA in the absence of GR exon 17 hypermethylation in the fetal pituitary in late gestation J DOHAD 4(5):391-401.

    • Lie S, Morrison JL, Williams-Wyss O, Suter CM, Humphreys DT, Ozanne SE, Zhang S, MacLaughlin SM, Kleemann D, Walker SK, Roberts CT, McMillen IC Impact of embryo number and periconceptional undernutrition on factors regulating adipogenesis, lipogenesis and metabolism in adipose tissue in the sheep fetus American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism 305(8):E931-E941.

    • Blankley RT, Fisher C, Westwood M, North R, Baker PN, Walker MJ, Williamson A, Whetton AD, Lin W, McCowan L, Roberts CT, Cooper GJ, Unwin RD, Myers JE A label-free SRM workflow identifies a subset of pregnancy specific glycoproteins as potential predictive markers of early-onset pre-eclampsia Molecular and Cellular Proteomics 12(11):3148-59.
    • Furness DLF, Fenech M, Dekker GA, Khong TY, Roberts CT, Hague WM Folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and homocysteine: impact on pregnancy outcome. Maternal and Child Nutrition 9(2):155-166.


    • Dekker GA, Lee SY, North RA, McCowan LM, Simpson N, Roberts CT Risk factors for preterm birth in an international prospective cohort of nulliparous women PLoS One 7(7):e39154.

    • Gatford KL, Smits RJ, Collins CL, De Blasio MJ, Roberts CT, Nottle MB, van Wettere WHEJ, Kind KL, Owens JA Maternal low-dose porcine somatotropin treatment in late gestation increases progeny weight at birth and weaning in sows but not in gilts. Journal of Animal Science 90(5):1428-35.

    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Thompson SD, North RA, McCowan LME, Roberts CT A functional variant in ANGPT1 and the risk of pregnancies with hypertensive disorders and small-for-gestational-age infants Molecular Human Reproduction 18(6):325-332.

    • Soo PS, Hiscock J, Botting KJ, Roberts CT, Davey AK, Morrison JL Maternal undernutrition reduces P-glycoprotein in guinea pig placenta and developing brain in late gestation Reproductive Toxicology 33:374-381.

    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Thompson SD, Roberts CT Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the KDR gene in pregnancies complicated by gestational hypertensive disorders and small for gestational age infants Reproductive Sciences 19(5):547-54.

    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Laurence J, Roberts CT Placental expression of VEGF family mRNA in adverse pregnancy outcomes Placenta 33: 467-472.

    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Thompson SD, McCowan LME, North RA, Roberts CT Interaction between maternal BMI and angiogenic gene polymorphisms associates with the risk of spontaneous preterm birth Molecular Human Reproduction 18(9):459-465.

    • Highet AR, Zhang VJ, Heinemann GK, Roberts CT Use of Matrigel in culture affects cell phenotype and gene expression in the first trimester trophoblast cell line HTR8/SVneo Placenta 33(7):586-588.

    • Lee SY, Lee SX, Dekker GA, Roberts CT Multivariate Visual Clustering of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Clinical Predictors using Chernoff Faces Proceedings of the 5th Annual Applied Statistics Education and Research Collaboration (ASEARC) Conference 2012:56-59.

    • Tung E, Roberts CT, Heinemann GA, DeBlasio MJ, Kind KL, van Wettere WHEJ, Owens JA, Gatford KL Increased placental nutrient transporter expression after maternal growth hormone treatment in pigs: A placental mechanism for increased fetal growth Biology of Reproduction 87(5):126, 1-8.

    • Buckberry S, Bianco-Miotto T, Hiendleder S, Roberts CT Quantitative Allele-Specific Expression Analysis of H19, IGF2 and IGF2R in the Human Placenta Across Gestation PLoS One 7(12): e51210.

    • Leemaqz SY, Dekker GA, Roberts CT Tiered Prediction System for Preeclampsia: an integrative application of multiple models. Proceedings of MODSIM2013, 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand, December 2013


    • O'Connell BA, Moritz K, Roberts CT, Walker DW, Dickinson H The placental response to excess maternal glucocorticoid exposure differs between the male and female conceptus. Biology of Reproduction 85(5):1040-1047.

    • Horgan RP, Broadhurst DI, Walsh SK, Dunn WB, Brown M, Roberts CT, North RA, McCowan L, Kell DB, Baker PN, Kenny LC Metabolic profiling uncovers an early phenotypic signature of Small for Gestational Age in early pregnancy. Journal of Proteome Research 10(8):3660-3683.

    • Carty DM, Siwy J, Brennand JE, Zurbig P, Mullen W, Franke J, McCulloch JW, Roberts CT, North RA, Chappell LC, Mischak H, Poston L, Dominiczak AF, Delles C Urinary Proteomics for Prediction of Preeclampsia. Hypertension 57:561-569.

    • McCowan LME, Kho EM, Black MA, Chan E, Dekker GA, Poston L, Taylor RS, North RA, Roberts CT Paternal contribution to small for gestational age babies: a multicentre prospective study. Obesity 19(5):1035-1039.

    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Thompson SD, Nowak RC, Zhang VJ, McCowan LME, North RA, Roberts CT Association of vascular endothelial growth factor +936 C/T single nucleotide polymorphism with pregnancies complicated by small for gestational age babies Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 165(12):1123-1130.

    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Thompson SD, North RA, McCowan LME, Roberts CT A functional variant in the thrombospondin-1 gene and the risk of small for gestational age infants. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 9(11):2221-2228.



    • Mol BW, Roberts CT, Thangaratinam S, Magee L, de Groot C, Hofmeyr J Pre-eclampsia Lancet 387(10022):999-1011. INVITED SEMINAR
    • Andraweera PH, Bobek G, Bowen C, Burton GJ, Correa Frigerio P, Chaparro A, Dickinson H, Duncombe G, Hyett J, Illanes SE, Johnstone E, Kumar S, Morgan TK, Myers J, Orefice R, Roberts CT, Salafia CM; Thornburg KL, Whitehead CL, Bainbridge S IFPA Meeting 2015 Workshop Report: Late Onset IUGR Surveillance and Monitoring; Biomarkers of Placental Function and Complications of Pregnancy; Mechanistic Role of the Placenta in Fetal Programming. Placenta pii: S0143-4004(15)30108-9.
    • Bianco-Miotto T, Mayne B, Buckberry S, Breen J, Rodriguez Lopez C, Roberts CT Recent progress towards understanding the role of DNA methylation in human placental development. Reproduction 152(1):R23-R30.
    • Wilson RL, Grieger JA, Bianco-Miotto T, Roberts CT Maternal zinc status and dietary zinc intake effects on placenta-related pregnancy complications: A systematic review. Nutrients 8:641 doi:10.3390/nu8100641.
    • Hodyl NA, Roberts CT, Bianco-Miotto T Cord blood epigenetic markers for predicting neurodevelopmental outcome. Genes 7(12):117. doi:10.3390/genes7120117.


    • Barbaux S, Erwich JJ, Favaron PO, Gil S, Gallot D, Golos TG, Gonzalez-Bulne, A, Guibourdenche J, Heazell AE. Jansson T, Laprevote O, Lewis RM, Miller RK, Monk D, Novakovic B, Oudejans C, Parast M, Peugnet P, Pfarrer C, Pinar H, Roberts CT, Robinson W, Saffery R, Salomon C, Sexton A, Staff AC, Suter M, Tarrade A, Wallace J, Vaillancourt C, Vaiman D, Worton SA, Lash GE IFPA meeting 2014 workshop report: Animal models to study pregnancy pathologies; new approaches to study human placental exposure to xenobiotics; biomarkers of pregnancy pathologies; placental genetics and epigenetics; the placenta and stillbirth and fetal growth restriction, Placenta 36 Suppl 1:S5-10.
    • Zhang S, Regnault T, Barker P, Botting K, McMillen IC, McMillan C, Roberts CT, Morrison J Placental Adaptations in Growth Restriction Nutrients 7:360-389.


    • Buckberry S, Bianco-Miotto T, Roberts CT Imprinted and X-linked non-coding RNAs as potential regulators of human placental function. Epigenetics 9(1):81-89.


    • Ahmed MS,,Aleksunes LM, Boeuf P, Chung MK, Daoud G, Desoye G, Diaz P, Golos TG, Illsley NP, Kikuchi K, Komatsu R, Lao T, Morales-Prieto DM, Nanovskaya T, Nobuzane T, Roberts CT, Saffery R, Tamura L, Tamura K, Than NG, Tomi M, Umbers A, Wang B, Weedon-Fekjaer S, Yanmada S, Yamazaki K, Yoshie M, Lash GE IFPA Meeting 2012 Workshop Report II: Epigenetics and imprinting in the placenta, growth factors and villous trophoblast differentiation, role of the placenta in regulating fetal exposure to xenobiotics during pregnancy, infection and the placenta Placenta 34 SUPPL:S6-S10.


    • Andraweera PH, Dekker GA, Roberts CT The Vascular endothelial growth factor family and adverse pregnancy outcome Human Reproduction Update 18(4):436-57. INVITED REVIEW.


    • Dekker GA, Robillard PY, Roberts CT The etiology of preeclampsia; the role of the father. Journal of Reproductive Immunology INVITED REVIEW 89(2):126-132.

    • Sferruzzi-Perri AN, Owens JA, Pringle KG, Roberts CT The neglected role of maternal endocrine insulin-like growth factors in regulating fetal growth. Journal of Physiology-London 589(1):7-20. INVITED REVIEW.

    • Furness DLF, Dekker GA, Roberts CT DNA damage and health in pregnancy. Journal of Reproductive Immunology INVITED REVIEW 89(2):153-162.


    Non-refereed Papers


    • Roberts CT, Bianco-Miotto T Which pregnant women are at risk? Australasian Science Jan/Feb 2016 37(1):26-28.


    • Buckberry S and Roberts CT Why are boys more at risk in the womb? Australasian Science November 2014. 



    • Roberts CT and Owens PC (2002) Regulation of cytotrophoblast cell differentiation and cell migration. Patent Cooperation Treaty Application # PCT/AU02/01226 filed 30 August 2002, International Publication Date 28 February 2004, WO2003/018781, Claiming priority #PR7331 from 30 August 2001. Licensed by Medicult A/S, Denmark. Currently being examined in Australia, Canada and Europe. Granted in USA. Granted in New Zealand.

    • Roberts CT (2005) Compositions and methods for improving implantation, development and pregnancy outcomes. PCT # 2005903997 Filed 27 July 2006 Claiming priority from 27 July 2005 International Publication Date 1 February 2007 #WO2007/012117 A1 Licensed by Medicult A/S, Denmark. Filed in Australia, USA, Europe and China (Chinese application #200680032241.8).

    • Roberts CT and Thompson SD (2008). IGF2 polymorphisms associated with pregnancy complications. Provisional patent application #2008902646 filed 27.5.2008 (Priority Date).

    • Roberts CT (2008) Insulin gene polymorphisms associated with pregnancy complications. Provisional patent application #2008902733 filed 30.5.2008 (Priority Date)

    • Roberts CT (2008) UPA polymorphisms associated with pregnancy complications.Provisional patent application # 2008902753 filed 2.6.2008 (Priority Date)

    • Roberts CT (2008) Polymorphisms in genes of the renin angiotensin system associated with pregnancy complications. Provisional patent application #2008903044 Filed 16.6.2008 (Priority Date)

    • Roberts CT, Thompson SD, Zhou A, Andraweera P. Polymorphisms associated with pregnancy complications. #PCT/AU2009/000668 filed 27.5.2009 Claiming priority from 27.5.2008 incorporating Provisional patent applications #2008902646, #2008902646, # 2008902753 and #2008903044.

    • Roberts CT, Furness DL, Andraweera P, Nowak R. Maternal, paternal and neonatal polymorphisms associated with pregnancy complications. Provisional patent application #2009903976 Filed 21.8.2009 (Priority Date)

    • Roberts CT, Furness DL, Andraweera P, Nowak R, Thompson SD, Zhou A. Polymorphisms associated with pregnancy complications. Provisional patent application #2009904774 Filed 1.10.2009 (Priority Date)

    • Roberts CT, Dekker GA, Leemaqz SY Methods and systems for determining risk of a pregnancy complication occurring PCT Application PCT/AU2016/0502 Filed 23 March 2016 Priority Date 23 March 2015 

    International Patents Granted:

    • Roberts CT and Owens PC (2007) Regulation of cytotrophoblast cell differentiation and cell migration. US Patent 7,244,707. Issued July 2007.

    • Roberts CT and Owens PC (2008) Regulation of cytotrophoblast cell differentiation and cell migration. New Zealand Patent 531362 Issued 12 June 2008.

  • Media Expertise

    CategoriesMedicine & Medical Research, Fertility & Reproduction
    ExpertisePregnancy complications; placenta; pre-term birth; preeclampsia; intrauterine growth restriction; fetus
    NotesHead, Placental Development Laboratory
    Mobile0406 381 575

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Entry last updated: Friday, 23 Jun 2017

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