School of Medicine

Research at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology with its predecessor, the Postgraduate School, has a long tradition of research in the obstetric and gynaecological fields.

The late Professor Sir William Liley pioneered work in fetal medicine/surgery in developing the technique of fetal transfusion in rhesus iso-immunised pregnancies. Professor Sir Graham Liggins revealed not only the role of the fetus in determining the time of birth, but with Ross Howie, a neonatal paediatrician, the beneficial effect of glucortcorticoids in enhancing fetal lung maturation.

The department’s research philosophy is to integrate high quality basic and clinical research on the same site and within a setting in which patients are cared for and where undergraduate teaching and postgraduate teaching are taking place. It has well equipped laboratories to support this research.

Current research

Research projects currently being undertaken by department members are concerned with a wide range of issues related to reproduction and women’s health. Most of the research is conducted under the umbrella of the Research Centre in Reproductive Medicine. Specific projects include:

  • The prediction and prevention of pre-eclampsia
  • Studies in small-for-gestational-age pregnancies
  • Post-natal growth and neurodevelopment in small-for-gestational-age children
  • Fetal hypoxia
  • The prediction and prevention of preterm birth
  • The initiation of parturition
  • Ultrasound diagnosis of fetal abnormalities
  • Antiphospholipid antibodies and recurrent miscarriage/still birth
  • Implantation disorders
  • Human Trophoblast biology
  • Human Trophoblast deportment
  • The polycystic ovarian syndrome and its management
  • Endometriosis
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • The genetic basis of ovarian cancer
  • Analysis of molecular markers of hormone resistance in breast cancer
  • Male factor infertility
  • Cardiac Inherited Disease disorder
  • Building reproductive health research and clinical audit capacity and activity in the Pacific Islands

The Research Centre was established in 1991 to foster research in the department and to promote collaborative involvement of clinical and laboratory based scientists. The present Director is Professor Peter Stone. The laboratories of the centre are well equipped. Associates of the centre contribute core knowledge in many areas of reproductive science. Their expertise covers molecular biology, cell culture, immunoassay, immunology and andrology. A number of graduate and postgraduate students currently are carrying out their research studies in the centre's laboratories. The Research Centre offers two scholarships for masters level students annually.