Maternal and Perinatal Medicine

Professor Euan Wallace established the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Group (now Maternal and Perinatal Medicine) in 1996 after joining Monash University’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The group’s original research focus on pregnancy and the fetus has expanded to include life after birth, leading to the inclusion of perinatal in its name. Improvement of maternal, fetal, and neonatal health remains the focus of the group’s work. As leaders in their field, the team continues to combine fundamental and clinical research to shape best clinical practice and improve patient care. Their impressive record for delivery of translational outcomes includes several world firsts.

Despite embracing fetal and neonatal research, the team’s central focus on the pregnant woman continues to align them with The Ritchie Centre’s Women’s Health Theme. With several other research groups evolving from the Maternal and Perinatal Medicine research group, they remain tightly embedded in the Centre’s broader research portfolios. These established independent groups have maintained active collaborations within the Centre.

Embryology and Placental Biology sub-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.

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

Research Projects

Our research focus

Research Group

Selected publications

  • Ellery SJ, Murthi P, Gatta PAD, May AK, Davies-Tuck ML, Kowalski GM, Callahan DL, Bruce CR, Wallace EM, Walker DW, Dickinson H, Snow RJ (2020) The Effects of Early-Onset Pre-Eclampsia on Placental Creatine Metabolism in the Third Trimester. Int J Mol Sci.;21(3):806.

  • de Guingand DL, Palmer KR, Bilardi JE, Ellery SJ (2020) Acceptability of dietary or nutritional supplementation in pregnancy (ADONS) – Exploring the consumer’s perspective on introducing creatine monohydrate as a pregnancy supplement. Midwifery; 82:102599.

  • Ellery SJ, Murthi P, Davies-Tuck ML, Della Gatta PA, May AK, Kowalski GM, Callahan DL, Bruce CR, Alers NO, Miller SL, Erwich JJHM, Wallace EM, Walker DW, Dickinson H, Snow RJ (2019) Placental creatine metabolism in cases of placental insufficiency and reduced fetal growth. Mol Hum Reprod. 25(8):495-505.

  • De Guingand DL, Ellery SJ, Davies-Tuck ML, Dickinson H (2019) Creatine and pregnancy outcomes, a prospective cohort study in low-risk pregnant women: study protocol. BMJ Open. 9(1):e026756.

  • Marshall SA, Cox AG, Parry LJ, Wallace EM (2018). Targeting the vascular dysfunction: Potential treatments for preeclampsia. Microcirculation. e12522

  • Selvaratnam RJ, Wallace EM, Flenady V, Davey MA.  Risk factor assessment for fetal growth restriction, are we providing best care? (2020) Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol.

  • Selvaratnam RJ, Davey MA, Mol BW, Wallace EM.  Increasing obstetric intervention for fetal growth restriction is shifting birthweight centiles: a retrospective cohort study (2020) BJOG.

  • Langston-Cox A, Anderson D, Creek DJ, Palmer K, Wallace EM, Marshall SA (2020). Measuring Sulforaphane and Its Metabolites in Human Plasma: A High Throughput Method Molecules. 25(4):829.

  • Langston-Cox AG, Marshall SA, Palmer KR, Wallace EM (2019) Prolong: a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial of broccoli sprout extract in women with early onset preeclampsia. A clinical trial protocol. BMJ Open. 9(10):e027493. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027493.

  • Bellofiore N, Ellery SJ, Mamrot J, Walker DW, Temple-Smith P, Dickinson H. First evidence of a menstruating rodent: the spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus) (2017). Am J Obstet Gynecol. 216(1):40.e1-40.e11