The RANZCOG Foundation offered a number of scholarships for application this year for research commencing in 2017. The process for evaluating scholarship applications aims to identify promising early-career researchers and the RANZCOG Research Grants Committee, which assesses these applications, was very impressed with the high quality of applications received. The RANZCOG Foundation is pleased to present the following summary of recipients and research being conducted in 2017.
Glyn White Research Fellowship, 2017–18
Recipient: Dr Kirsten Palmer
Institution: Monash University
Project: ‘Targeting placental specific sFLT-1: enhancingthe prediction and diagnosis of pre-eclampsia’
Dr Palmer is a FRANZCOG trainee, an O&G Senior Registrar at Monash Medical Centre/Monash Health, a Lecturer at Monash University and Honorary Lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Dr Palmer’s project will assess a new test that holds promise in its ability to accurately predict or diagnose pre-eclampsia. If successful, this test could then be used globally to improve the prediction and/or diagnosis of pre-eclampsia, with the goal of improving outcomes for women and their babies.
Mary Elizabeth Courier Research Scholarship, 2017–18
Recipient: Dr Rachael Rodgers
Institution: University of New South Wales
Project: ‘The administration of anti-Mullerian hormoneto protect the ovaries during
Dr Rodgers is a final year FRANZCOG trainee, currently undertaking first year CREI subspeciality training, and Fertility Fellow at the Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney. Using mice, Dr Rodgers’ research project investigates whether the concurrent administration of anti-Mullerian hormone during chemotherapy will reduce the degree of damage to the ovarian reserve. As long-term cancer survival rates increase, fertility preservation is a very important issue to a large number of young premenopausal women diagnosed with cancer each year.
Norman Beischer Clinical Research Scholarship, 2017–18
Recipient: Dr Monica Zen
Institution: Westmead Hospital
Project: ‘The impacts of kidney disease in pregnancy’
Dr Zen is a FRANZCOG trainee/O&G Senior Registrar at Westmead and secondment hospitals and enrolled as a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. As part of Dr Zen’s research, a Cochrane Systematic Review of proteinuria in pregnancy and its role in predicting and diagnosing adverse pregnancy outcome will be performed. In addition, a cohort study will be conducted to assess the diagnostic and prognostic performance of dipstick urinalysis versus urinary albumin to creatinine ratio versus urinary protein to creatinine ratio in the diagnosis and prediction of adverse pregnancy outcome in a cohort of high-risk obstetric patients, namely women with diabetes.
Luke Proposch Perinatal Research Scholarship, 2017
Recipient: Dr Thomas Cade
Institution: Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne
Project: ‘New criteria for the diagnosis of gestational diabetes: a maternal and neonatal health outcome and economic analysis in a large tertiary level maternity centre’
Dr Cade is Head of Diabetes and a Consultant Obstetrician/ Gynaecologist at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne. Dr Cade, a RANZCOG Fellow, has been awarded the Luke Proposch Perinatal Research Scholarship for his project that aims to determine if the new diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes result in better maternal and neonatal outcomes and if the change is economically beneficial to public health.
RANZCOG Fellows’ Clinical Research Scholarship, 2017
Recipient: Dr Tanya Nippita
Institution: Kolling Institute, Royal North Shore Hospital
Project: ‘Probiotics for women with preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM) to
delay preterm birth: a randomised controlled trial’
Dr Nippita, a RANZCOG Fellow, is a Staff Specialist, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at Royal North Shore Hospital, and Perinatal Women’s Health Lecturer at Sydney Medical School-Northern, the University of Sydney. Dr Nippita has been awarded the RANZCOG Fellows’ Clinical Research Scholarship for her project that will endeavour to determine whether the addition of a probiotic to standard management of women with PPROM <34 weeks gestation will delay the onset of labour and birth and improve neonatal outcomes. Dr Nippita’s project also seeks to determine the microbiota of the uterus and preterm infant after PPROM and acceptability of probiotics by pregnant women at risk of preterm delivery.
Taylor Hammond Research Scholarship, 2017
Recipient: Dr Charlotte Oyston
Institution: University of Auckland
Project: ‘The placental transcriptome in severe early onset fetal growth restriction: effect of sildenafil citrate’
Dr Oyston is a FRANZCOG trainee and PhD candidate at the University of Auckland. Dr Oyston’s project aims to improve the knowledge of mechanisms underlying severe early onset fetal growth restriction (FGR), and the mechanisms through which sildenafil may improve fetal growth by using a genome-wide method of expression analysis of placental samples collected from women in a clinical trial. The findings have the potential to help inform clinical practice. For example, the findings may provide insight as to the optimal time for treatment initiation of sildenafil or suggest specific subtypes of FGR where maximal benefit would be obtained with treatment.
RANZCOG NSW Regional Committee Trainee Research Grant, 2017
Recipient: Dr Sarika Gupta
Institution: University of Sydney
Project: ‘Investigating the impact of communitycontraceptive implant provision on maternal morbidity and mortality on Karkar Island, PNG’
Dr Gupta is a FRANZCOG trainee and PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine-Sydney Medical School. Dr Gupta’s study aims to investigate the impact of contraceptive implants on maternal health in rural communities in Papua New Guinea by comparing specific health statistics pre and post introduction of the implant devices. The study also aims to understand how contraceptive implants are perceived and accepted by rural communities in Papua New Guinea and to identify any potential social and cultural barriers that may prevent ongoing use of the implants.
RANZCOG NSW Regional Committee Trainee Research Grant, 2017
Recipient: Dr Jason Phung
Institution: Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project: ‘Understanding myometrial transition in term andpreterm labour to guide tocolysis’
Dr Phung is a FRANZCOG trainee and accredited registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Liverpool Hospital/South Western Sydney Local Health District. Dr Phung is currently undertaking a Masters of Public Health and plans to commence a PhD at the University of Newcastle in 2017. Dr Phung has been awarded a RANZCOG NSW Regional Committee Trainee Research Grant to undertake research to study the pathway to labour, which genes are responsible for the initiation of uterine contractions, and how we can use them to identify new therapeutic targets to halt preterm labour. A better understanding of the pathway to labour may also improve induction of labour and treatment of PPH.
UroGynaecological Society of Australasia (UGSA) Research Scholarship, 2017
Recipient: Dr Lin Li Ow
Institution: Monash Health
Project: ‘Mini-sling or Retropubic sling in women with Intrinsic Sphincter Deficiency: a RCT study (Mini RISD)’
Dr Ow is a RANZCOG Fellow, Urogynaecology subspecialty trainee and Urogynaecology Fellow, Monash Health. The primary aim of Dr Ow’s project is to assess the objective cure rate (negative clinical cough stress test) of the mini-sling against the retropubic sling at six months postsurgical treatment of female urodynamic stress incontinence and intrinsic sphincter deficiency (USI/ISD). The project could demonstrate that the minimally invasive sling can potentially be used in women with SUI associated with ISD with a potential for reduced risk of complication (bladder perforation, voiding for congenital diaphragmatic hernia: a global partnership to translate surgical and cellular innovation’
ASGO International Travelling Fellowship, 2017
Recipient: Dr Nirmala Kampan
Institution: The Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne
Dr Kampan is an Associate Professor at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Malaysia and PhD candidate, Monash University. Dr Kampan has been awarded an ASGO International Travelling Fellowship to allow her to travel to the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne in July/August 2017 to undertake a placement in the Gynae/Oncology Unit. Dr Kampan’s visit will include exposure to medical oncology clinics, gynae-oncology operations, observation of ongoing clinical trials and participation in multidisciplinary team meetings and activities, as well as presentations and conduct of teaching and audit sessions.
SCHOLARSHIPS CONTINUING IN 2017
Fotheringham Research Scholarship, 2016–17
Recipient: Dr Ryan Hodges
Institution: The Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute, Monash University
Project: ‘Fetal therapy antenatally to fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia: a global partnership to translate surgical and cellular innovation’
Dr Hodges’ project, which is testing the hypothesis that human amnion epithelial cells (hAECs), when administered antenatally to fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH),can reduce lung hypoplasia and abnormal pulmonary vasculature that leads to pulmonary hypertension, by promoting tissue regeneration and repair in utero, will continue to be funded in 2017. Dr Hodges believes the findings will extend to other fetal lung pathologies, for example, oligohydramnios-related pulmonary hypoplasia, the devastating consequence of early preterm prelabour rupture of membranes and preterm birth.
Dr Hodges’ project, which is testing the hypothesis that human amnion epithelial cells (hAECs), when administered dysfunction, bowel injury) and a reduced risk of overactive bladder symptoms and pain, compared to the retropubic approach.
RANZCOG/OvCan (ACT & Region) Ovarian Cancer Awareness/Support Scholarship, 2016
Recipient: Dr Noor Lokman
Institution: University of Adelaide
Project: ‘Targeting hyaluronan to overcome chemoresistance in ovarian cancer’
Dr Lokman’s research will investigate the potential clinical use of HA as a serum biomarker for early detection of relapse in ovarian cancer patients after chemotherapy treatment (months 1–4). The clinical use of HA inhibitor, 4-MU will be investigated in comparison to carboplatin using established ovarian cancer models (months 5–9). The study will evaluate whether 4-MU is effective to increase the cytotoxic effect of carboplatin to overcome platinum resistance.
The RANZCOG Foundation is very grateful to all those who have continued to support its philanthropic work. Donations to the RANZCOG Foundation, from individuals as well as organisations, enable the College to not only support clinical and scientific research, but also initiatives in Indigenous women’s health and women’s health in developing countries and the development and preservation of the College’s historical collection. RANZCOG members are able to donate to the RANZCOG Foundation via the payments section of the MY.RANZCOG portal. To log in and donate, please visit https://my.ranzcog.edu.au/login.
Please contact the RANZCOG Foundation Coordinator, Jennifer Keating on +61 3 9412 2993 or [email protected].