$8.77 million grants to investigate reproductive health

Thursday, 22 August 2002

A team of University of Adelaide researchers has been awarded a program grant of $8.3 million (over five years) by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to investigate women's reproductive health.

The team from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has also been awarded $480,000 over three years for a separate project to help develop a new product for human IVF. Last year, a program grant of $4.5 million over five years was awarded to the same Department (in conjunction with the Department of Physiology) for a project examining the fetal origins of adult disease.

The team comprises Professor Rob Norman (team leader), Professor David Armstrong and Drs. Ray Rodgers, Sarah Robertson and Jeremy Thompson.

Professor Norman said: "We are thrilled by this investment that recognises the quality research being undertaken by the group and the potential the team has in delivering major research outcomes in the area of reproductive health in women. Infertility affects one in six couples, and women today face major challenges balancing careers, lifestyle choices and having children. The Federal Government is concerned about the decline in the fertility rate in Australia. Establishing a career, or the selection of some lifestyle choices such as diet or smoking, can delay or impede pregnancy establishment. We wish to work closely with policy makers and provide them with basic research information about why such factors affect fertility, and provide some solutions."

The grant was awarded for basic research, focussing on how eggs within the ovary prepare for fertilization, how early embryos develop after fertilization and how a successful pregnancy is initiated, especially from an immunological perspective.

Professor Norman said:"It is particularly pleasing to be able to secure the future of our present researchers and to have the opportunity to attract new post-doctoral fellows and students to this fascinating area. A feature of the bid made to the NHMRC was the close clinical and commercial connections the team has already created. This makes the transfer of our research findings into real treatments much easier and increases the chance of success".

Through the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the University of Adelaide has created the clinical reproduction service, Repromed, and is shortly about to create a new company, focussing on reproductive medicine technologies and diagnostics.

Professor Norman said: "None of this would have been possible without the assistance of others, especially The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which has given us great support over the past 40 years and is where the origins of this Programme were seeded".

The NHMRC has also awarded a development grant of $450,000 over three years to a team from the University's Department of Molecular Biosciences. The funding will go to Prof James Paton, Dr Adrienne Pato and Dr Renato Morona for their project, 'Recombinant bacteria expressing oligosaccharide receptor mimics for prevention of enteric infections'.


Contact Details

Professor Rob Norman
Email: robert.norman@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/robinson-research-institute/
Professor of Reproductive & Periconceptual Medicine
Robinson Research Institute
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 8166
Mobile: 0450 840 245

Professor Jeremy Thompson
Email: jeremy.thompson@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.artlabsolutions.com
ART Lab Solutions Founder
Robinson Research Institute
Business: +61 8 8222 8408
Mobile: +61 (0)408 849 172