Two leading staff at the Hudson Institute’s Ritchie Centre working to improve the health of newborn babies have been recognised with academic promotions at Monash University: Dr Flora Wong and Dr Suzie Miller are now Associate Professors.
A Consultant Neonatologist at Monash Newborn, MonashHealth, Associate Professor Flora Wong also holds a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship through the Department of Paediatrics, Monash University and The Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research.
Associate Professor Wong’s research interests are in newborn cerebral pathophysiology, cerebral blood flow and oxygenation in relation to brain injury in newborn infants undergoing intensive care. Her projects aim at investigations of the mechanisms of newborn brain injury, development of cotside monitoring and neuroprotective strategies.
“This promotion is a great acknowledgement of the work over the years and is of course shared with all my collaborators and members of my research group,” said Associate Professor Wong.
“It’s also an encouragement for me to continue doing what I love, and I hope to take on more responsibilities in mentoring junior researchers and clinicians who are interested in pursuing research.”
As a lead research neonatologist, Associate Professor Wong has led an international multi-disciplinary team of scientists and clinicians from neonatology, obstetrics, paediatric cardiology and paediatric pathology, to conduct translational research using the fetal lamb model. The team has now also performed the world’s first transhepatic fetal pulmonary valvuloplasty and also atrial septal stenting in the fetal lamb, as a potential treatment for hypoplastic right and left heart disease.
Also at Hudson’s Ritchie Centre, Associate Professor Suzie Miller is a theme leader in the field of Neurodevelopment and Neuroprotection.
Associate Professor Miller is a fetal physiologist who gained specialist expertise in neurodevelopment during postdoctoral training with the Centre for Perinatal Brain Protection and Repair at University College London.
In 2010 she was recruited as a Senior Scientist to The Ritchie Centre to lead a perinatal brain research program.
“I think this promotion will provide me with increased opportunities to pursue my research goals and advance the research of my group, hopefully also to bring in further funding,” said Associate Professor Miller, who holds an ARC Future Fellowship.
Associate Professor Miller’s research is focused on experimental and clinical studies that aim to understand, and inhibit, the mechanisms that contribute to newborn brain injury and functional deficits associated with cerebral palsy. This approach has led to the recent commencement of a world first human clinical trial at Monash Health to examine melatonin therapy to protect the developing brain in pregnancies compromised by fetal growth restriction.
“I hope that my promotion might motivate young women researchers who are looking to advance their careers while juggling family commitments,” added Associate Professor Miller, a keen advocate for the role of women in science, and founding member of the NHMRC’s Women in Health Science Committee.
Hudson Institute communications
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