Dr Hayley Dickinson, NHMRC Career Development Fellow


Dr Hayley Dickinson is an NHMRC Biomedical Career Development Research Fellow (2014-2017), who obtained her PhD in reproductive physiology from Monash University in 2006.

Dr Dickinson’s research is aimed at reducing death and long-term burdens (health, emotional and economic) of major perinatal conditions such as birth asphyxia, stillbirth and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Dr Dickinson’s experimental work utilises the spiny mouse, a precocial rodent species with important similarities to human pregnancy in the timing of development of fetal organs and hormone production. She has modelled maternal viral and bacterial infection, maternal glucocorticoid excess, and intrauterine growth restriction and examined the fetal and postnatal consequences, and long-term outcomes in offspring. Dr Dickinson’s recent work, studying birth asphyxia in the spiny mouse, shows long-term multi-organ protection by maternal dietary creatine supplementation. She now leads a series of clinical studies aimed at unravelling the role of creatine in pregnancy and perinatal health.

To date, Dr Dickinson has published 58 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 2 book chapters, and supervised 6 PhD students to completion. She currently supervises 3 PhD students and has obtained over $2.5 million in competitive research funding. Dr Dickinson was awarded the Monash University Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Deans Award for Research Excellence in 2013.

Selected publications

  • Dickinson H, Davies-Tuck M, Ellery SJ, Grieger JA, Wallace EM, Snow RJ, Walker DW, Clifton VL, Maternal creatine in pregnancy: a retrospective cohort study. BJOG. 2016 Aug 23. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.14237. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Ellery SJ, Walker DW, Dickinson HCreatine for women: a review of the relationship between creatine and the reproductive cycle and female-specific benefits of creatine therapy. Amino Acids. 2016 Aug;48(8):1807-17. doi: 10.1007/s00726-016-2199-y. Epub 2016 Feb 22. Review.

  • Bellofiore N, Ellery SJ, Mamrot J, Walker DW, Temple-Smith, Dickinson H., First evidence of a menstruating rodent: the spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus). Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Aug 5. pii: S0002-9378(16)30476-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.07.041. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Ellery SJ, et. al., Dickinson H. Maternal Creatine Homeostasis is altered During Gestation in the Spiny Mouse: is this a Metabolic Adaptation to Pregnancy? BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 2015 Apr 14;15:92. doi: 10.1186/s12884-015-0524-1. 

  • Ellery SJ, Dickinson H, McKenzie M, Walker DW. Dietary interventions designed to protect the perinatal brain from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy–Creatine prophylaxis and the need for multi-organ protection. Neurochem Int. 2016 May;95:15-23. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2015.11.002. Epub 2015 Nov 11. Review.

  • Dickinson H, Ellery S, Ireland Z, LaRosa D, Snow R, Walker DW. Creatine supplementation during pregnancy: summary of experimental studies suggesting a treatment to improve fetal and neonatal morbidity and reduce mortality in high-risk human pregnancy. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2014 Apr 27;14(1):150.

  • Bain E, Wilkinson D, Middleton P, Crowther CA, Dickinson H, Walker DW. Creatine for women in pregnancy for neuroprotection of the fetus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 11, Art.No: CD010846. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010846.

  • O’Connell BA, Moritz KM, Walker DW and Dickinson H. Treatment of pregnant spiny mice at mid gestation with a synthetic glucocorticoid has sex-dependent effects on placental glycogen stores. Placenta34 (10): 932-940, 2013.

  • Ellery SJ, Ireland Z, Kett MM, Snow R, Walker DW, and Dickinson H. Creatine pretreatment prevents birth asphyxia-induced injury of the newborn spiny mouse kidney. Pediatric research 73 (2):201-208, 2013.

  • Dickinson H, Ireland ZJ, LaRosa DL, O’Connell B, Ellery SJ, Snow R, and Walker DW. Maternal dietary creatine supplementation does not alter the capacity for creatine synthesis in the newborn spiny mouse. Reproductive sciences 20(9):1096-102, 2013.

  • O’Connell BA, Moritz KM, Walker DW, and Dickinson H. The Synthetic Glucocorticoid Dexamethasone Inhibits Branching Morphogenesis in the Spiny Mouse Placenta. Biology of reproduction 88 (1) 26:1-8, 2013.

  • O’Connell BA, Moritz KM, Walker DW, and Dickinson H. Sexually dimorphic placental development throughout gestation in the spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus). Placenta 34: 119-126, 2012.

  • Pasco R, Gardner DK, Walker DW, and Dickinson H. A superovulation protocol for the spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus). Reproduction, Fertility, and Development 24: 1117-1122, 2012.

  • Cuffe JS, Dickinson H, Simmons DG, and Moritz KM. Sex specific changes in placental growth and MAPK following short term maternal dexamethasone exposure in the mouse. Placenta 32: 981-989, 2011.

  • Ireland Z, Castillo-Melendez M, Dickinson H, Snow R, and Walker DW. A maternal diet supplemented with creatine from mid-pregnancy protects the newborn spiny mouse brain from birth hypoxia. Neuroscience 194: 372-379, 2011.

  • O’Connell BA, Moritz KM, Roberts CT, Walker DW, and Dickinson H. The placental response to excess maternal glucocorticoid exposure differs between the male and female conceptus in spiny mice. Biology of reproduction 85: 1040-1047, 2011.

  • Cannata DJ, Ireland Z, Dickinson H, Snow RJ, Russell AP, West JM, and Walker DW. Maternal creatine supplementation from mid-pregnancy protects the diaphragm of the newborn spiny mouse from intrapartum hypoxia-induced damage. Pediatric research 68: 393-398, 2010.

  • Ireland Z, Dickinson H, Snow R, and Walker DW. Maternal creatine: does it reach the fetus and improve survival after an acute hypoxic episode in the spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus)? Am J Obstet Gynecol 198: 431 e431-436, 2008.

  • Dickinson H, Griffiths T, Walker DW, and Jenkin G. Application of clinical indices of fetal growth and wellbeing to a novel laboratory species, the spiny mouse. Reprod Biol 8: 229-243, 2008.

  • Dickinson H, Walker DW, Wintour EM, and Moritz K. Maternal dexamethasone treatment at midgestation reduces nephron number and alters renal gene expression in the fetal spiny mouse. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol292: R453-461, 2007.