Mary Mansilla

Mary Mansilla


PhD student

Area of study

Reproductive health, placental biology, pregnancy related disorders

Year of enrolment


Why did you choose Hudson Institute and your research group?

I completed my Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Honours) at the Implantation and Placental Development Lab at Hudson Institute of Medical Research, and absolutely fell in love with biomedical research! Throughout my undergraduate degree, the seemingly miraculous process of pregnancy always fascinated me and my Honours year really cemented my passion for research in reproductive biology. The world-class facilities, staff, and partnerships here at Hudson Institute of Medical Research are unmatched. I have also been graced with the unwavering support and guidance of my supervisors and research group, enabling me to kick-start my career as a budding researcher.

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

Preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal and fetal mortality. However, the exact causes of this devastating disorder are not well understood, and there are no effective therapies other than premature delivery. In women with preeclampsia, the placenta produces and releases a significantly higher level of a protein called HtrA4. This protein’s importance, function, and role in preeclampsia is yet to be determined, but it may be linked to a host of subsequent events that increase the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes. My project examines how HtrA4 may impair the placenta and inflict widespread damage as seen in preeclampsia.

What opportunities have you had at Hudson Institute?

I am a highly diligent, open-minded, and ambitious young scientist who is committed to exploring outside of my comfort zone to thrive as a skilled, innovative future leader. My sound work ethic and resilience in the pursuit of my PhD has secured a number of academic achievements and opportunities. These include attending and presenting at numerous local, interstate, and international conferences and symposiums. As a student at the Hudson Institute, I am also involved with numerous internal and external committees that aim to bring everyone together to share ideas, network, and support each other academically and socially. CONFERENCES | International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease World Congress; Society for Reproductive Biology – ANZPRA Awards Session; Australian Society for Medical Research Victoria Student Symposium; Monash Health Translational Precinct PhD Showcase Symposium; Monash University Translational Research Young Investigator Symposium COMMITTEES AND EXTRACURRICULAR ENGAGEMENTS | Hudson Institute Equity and Diversity Committee – PhD Representative; Social Club Committee – Centre for Reproductive Health Representative; Run Melbourne Fundraiser – Centre for Reproductive Health Representative; First Aid Officer. Hudson Institute Student Society (HISS) Early Career Researcher Representative; Hudson Institute Student Society Member. Victorian Representative for the QueersInScience National Network.