Embryology and Placental Biology

Embryology and Placental Biology Research Group

This Ritchie Centre research group studies development of the placenta and its role in the aetiology of major obstetric complications including, intrauterine growth restriction and stillbirth.

A major focus of the group is understanding how creatine in the maternal diet, and its production by the placenta, influences pregnancy outcomes.

By studying the embryo and using micro-manipulation this group investigate the intricate relationship between the fetus and placenta. Differential development of the placenta in males and females is investigated, to understand the vulnerability of males to complications of pregnancy and birth.

How early life events, such as intrauterine growth restriction and birth asphyxia, impact on development of the fetus, affecting adult health and fertility is a research strength of this team.

A recent discovery of the only known menstruating rodent, the spiny mouse, provides an unprecedented opportunity to improve research into menstrual disorders, such as endometriosis and PMS. This team have sequenced and assembled the transcriptome of the spiny mouse and are characterising the genetics of this species.

Research Projects

  • Embryo development and manipulation
  • Sex-specific fetal and placental development
  • Early life events and female fertility
  • Understanding the biosynthesis and requirement of creatine for the mother, fetus, placenta and newborn
  • Menstruation and menstrual disorders


Dr Kirsten Palmer – Monash Health
Professor Peter Temple-Smith – Dept Obstetrics and Gynecology, Monash University
Professor Tony Papenfuss – WEHI
Professor Beverley Vollenhoven – Monash Health
A/Professor Ashley Siefert – University of Kentucky
Professor Rod Snow – Deakin University
Dr Padma Murthi – The Ritchie Centre
Professor Karen Moritz – University of Queensland
Professor David Walker -RMIT

Research Group