Ben Amberg - Harold Mitchell Travel Fellowships

Benjamin Amberg


PhD student

Research Group:

Fetal and Neonatal Health

Research Centre:

The Ritchie Centre

Area of study:

Fetal Surgery

Year of enrolment:


Why did you choose Hudson Institute and your research group?

Hudson Institute and The Ritchie Centre are closely connected with Monash Medical Centre and other leading health services around the world. These connections mean that the scientific questions we work on have real world applications literally just down the corridor. For example, we recently published and presented a series of studies to the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society in Switzerland which are now been used to inform the best way to perform surgery for babies with a congenital malformation of the spine known as spina bifida.

What is your research about and what do you hope to achieve?

Fetal surgeons can operate on babies with congenital abnormalities before they are born to minimise the consequences they face after birth. Our research looks to better understand how mothers and babies tolerate this type of surgery and improve the way surgeons perform these procedures.

What opportunities have you had at Hudson Institute?

One of the best parts of Hudson Institute is the opportunities they provide beyond your normal studies. Over the course of my PhD I have had a chance to teach for Monash University, promote careers in science to high school students and build networks with clinicians and researchers all over the world. During my PhD, I also competed for Australia at several Triathlon World Championships and was lucky enough to have Hudson Institute help me fundraise for these international races. While in COV19-19 locked down I have started a podcast 'The HudCast' to share the incredible work of the researchers we work with and their life-changing research.

How will your research help others?

Fetal surgery is potentially life changing for developing babies with a congenital abnormality. However, the immaturity of the baby means that surgical complications could have devastating implications. Our research uses preclinical models of fetal surgery to ensure that the effects of these procedures are completely understood before they are attempted in humans.