Our people

Shaun Brennecke

Professor Shaun Brennecke
Director

Shaun Brennecke is the Director of the Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Head of its Pregnancy Research Centre at the Royal Women’s Hospital.

In 1992 he was appointed the University of Melbourne's inaugural Professor/Director of Perinatal Medicine, based at the Royal Women's Hospital in Carlton, Victoria. In 1999 he took up the University of Melbourne Dunbar Hooper Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Royal Women's Hospital. He is also Head of the Pregnancy Research Centre at the Hospital and an Obstetric Team Leader within the Maternity Care clinical service of the Hospital.

Professor Brennecke's clinical and research interests focus on aspects of Maternal Fetal Medicine, especially pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction, preterm labour, placental function, the endocrinology of human pregnancy and parturition, the assessment of fetal welfare, miscarriage and factors influencing perinatal morbidity and mortality. more

Bill Kalionis

Dr Bill Kalionis
Deputy Head of Research

Dr Kalionis BSc (Hons), Phd, is the Head of the Stem Cell Laboratory and a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Pregnancy Research Centre. He joined the Royal Women’s Hospital in 2000 as a Senior Research Fellow, and is now Deputy Head of Research. He is a molecular biologist with a background in Biochemistry and Genetics. He has supervised 55 students, including PhD, Masters Honours and Advanced Medical/Scholarly Selective students. He has been invited to speak at national and international meetings. He has received peer-reviewed research grants to support stem cell research from the NHMRC, Clive and Vera Ramaciotti, Kathleen Cuningham Foundations, University of Sydney – Utrecht University Partnership Collaboration Award, Trevor Basil Kilvington Bequest and Sydney Research, Big Ideas Award. Since 2005, he has led the Stem Cell Laboratory and has focussed on an important stem cell type in the human placenta; the mesenchymal stem cell. more

Harry Georgiou

Dr Harry Georgiou
Senior Research Fellow

Dr Georgiou BSc (Hons), PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow in the Pregnancy Research Centre, and a Senior lecturer in the UoM DOG at the RWH.

Dr Georgiou gained his PhD through the University of Melbourne and conducted his research at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute. He investigated the modification of graft immunogenicity and histocompatibility matching on fetal pancreas transplantation. 

Dr Georgiou is an author of over 80 publications, proceedings, chapters or reports. He has presented or co-authored over 100 papers at national and international conferences.

His current research focus is the development of biomarkers to improve the detection of preterm labour (the PPeTaL Study) in collaboration with Carmentix, a Singapore based biotechnology company.

Dr Maria Kokkinos
Research Fellow

Dr Kokkinos BSc (Hons), PhD, is a Research Fellow in the Stem Cell group, Pregnancy Research Centre. Dr Kokkinos majored in genetics and microbiolgy, her PhD thesis was entitled “The Aetiology of Uterine Leiomyomas and Leiomyosarcomas”. She supervises Honours, Masters and PhD students in their research studies and acts as an examiner for Masters and PhD student theses for the University of Melbourne. 

Stefan Kane

Dr Stefan Kane
Research Clinician

Dr Stefan Kane, MBBS, BA, BMedSc, FRANZCOG, CMFM, DDU.

Dr Kane is a RANZCOG-certified subspecialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine who combines his clinical obstetric duties with a passion for clinical research. He is the lead investigator for a local clinical trial, The ROADMAP Study, which uses an ultrasound examination of the mother’s eye to assess changes in blood flow to the brain of women with pre-eclampsia. This project forms the basis of the PhD in which he is currently enrolled, with the support of an NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship, a RANZCOG Foundation Clinical Research Scholarship, and a grant from the Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine. more

Dr Tom Cade
Research Clinician

Dr Tom Cade, MBBS, DMedSc, FRANZCOG, is an obstetrician and Head of the Diabetes Service at the Royal Women’s Hospital. His current research focus is gestational diabetes and the impact on clinical outcomes of new approaches to screening and diagnosis of this condition. Dr Cade is a recipient of a University of Melbourne Early Career Researcher Fellowship. With the support of RANZCOG Foundation Luke Proposch Perinatal Research Scholarship, he recently completed his doctorate on this topic.

Andrea Khaw

Dr Andrea Khaw
Research Clinician

Dr Andrea Khaw, MBBCh FRCOG (UK) FRANZCOG, is an obstetrician with a keen interest in using clinical research findings to improve management of pregnancy complications. Andrea is the local co-ordinator for a large international randomised control trial, the FACT trial, which aims to discover if a high-dose folate supplement can prevent pre-eclampsia.

Louise Kornman

Assoc Prof Louise Kornman
Research Clinician

Assoc Prof Louise Kornman MBBS (UNSW) PhD (Groningen) FRANZCOG MRCOG DDU COGU, G CertUniTeach (UMelb), is a member of the Fetal Medicine Unit and a consultant ultrasonologist at the Royal Women’s Hospital.
She is the local coordinator for the MAGENTA clinical trial which aims to discover if magnesium treatment given before premature birth can protect the baby’s brain function after birth.
Assoc Prof Kornman has also been the local coordinator of two other studies, the ASTEROID, (Australasian Antenatal Study To Evaluate the Role Of Intramuscular Dexamethasone versus Betamethasone prior to preterm birth to increase survival free of childhood neurosensory disability) Trial and the WIP (Weight monitoring In Pregnancy) Study.

Ricardo Palma Dias

Clinical Assoc Prof Ricardo Palma Dias
Research Clinician

Clin Assoc Prof Palma Dias, MD, PhD, FRANZCOG, DDU, Dip US (O&G) Dip Fet Med, is an obstetrician-gynaecologist with a special interest in ultrasound- based prenatal diagnosis and fetal medicine.
He is currently a Clinical Associate Professor in the University of Melbourne Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the Director of Ultrasound Services, and a clinical researcher in the Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Pregnancy Research Centre at the Royal Women's Hospital.
His main areas of interest and research involvement are first trimester screening, the role of MRI in prenatal diagnosis and the ultrasound assessment of complex multiple pregnancies.

Penny Sheehan

Dr Penny Sheehan
Research Clinician

Dr Penny Sheehan MBBS FRANZCOG GDipEpiBiostats is a Royal Women’s Hospital (RWH) staff specialist Obstetrician who has been a Head of Unit for 18 years. Dr Sheehan is a Lecturer at the University of Melbourne Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, lecturing to undergraduate medical students. Since 2016, she has been Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Women’s at Sandringham.
She has gained considerable breadth of experience during this time working with both women in low-risk maternity care and high-risk settings. She also heads the Preterm Labour Unit, providing surveillance and interventions for women who are at high risk of preterm birth.
Dr Sheehan complements her clinical role with . more

Mark Umstad

Clinical Assoc Prof Mark Umstad
Research Clinician

Mark is a leading expert in the management of high risk pregnancies and in particular multiple pregnancies. Mark is active in conducting and supporting research into multiple pregnancy at the Royal Women’s Hospital. Mark is also Patron of Australian Multiple Birth Association and a member of the Advisory Board for the Twin Registry and on the Editorial Advisory Committee on Twin Research.

Julia Unterschieder

Dr Julia Unterscheider
Research Clinician

Dr Julia Unterscheider, MD PhD MRCPI MRCOG FRANZCOG DDU, is a Staff Obstetrician with a subspecialty interest in Maternal Fetal Medicine at the Royal Women’s’ Hospital and senior clinical lecturer at the University of Melbourne.  In 2014, she was awarded her PhD from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland for a thesis entitled ‘Intrauterine Fetal Growth Restriction – New Insights into Prenatal Detection, Definition, Surveillance and Delivery’. In addition to her role in providing high risk clinical care to patients at the Royal Women’s Hospital, her current research interests include fetal growth restriction, maternal cardiac disease in pregnancy and corticosteroid treatment for prevention of neonatal morbidity and mortality.

Project Officer
Mrs Jo Bruhn

Clinical Research Fellow
Dr Meryem Kucukasci Cagdas
Dr Gabriel Jones
Dr Shiva Mahdizadeh
Dr Louie Ye

Research Scientist
Dr Maria Kokkinos

Research Collaborators
Dr Nir Abel,  Camentix Pte Ltd
Ms Tal Amitay, Camentix Pte Ltd
Dr Harry Coleman, Monash University
Assist Prof Fabricio Da Silva Costa, University of Sao Paulo
Dr Megan Di Quinzio, Mercy Hospital for Women
Dr Ian Dixon, Altnia Group
Prof Christine East, Monash University
Dr Daniel Heath, University of Melbourne
Dr Patrick James, Exopharm Pty Ltd
Assoc Prof James King, University of Melbourne 
Dr Gregor Lictfuss, Exopharm Pty Ltd
Ms Ellie Mohammadi, Esopharm Pty Ltd
Prof Eric Moses, University of Western Australia
Dr Padma Murthi, Monash Hospital
Prof Helena Parkington, Monash University
Assoc Prof Joanne Said, Sunshine Hospital
Mr Michael Whitmore, Exopharm Pty Ltd
Dr Hannah Yong, Cambridge University

Clinical Research Midwives
Ms Sue Duggan,

  • Pregnancy studies related to: Preeclampsia, Fetal Growth Restriction, Diabetes, Labour, and Anxiety

Ms Moira Stewart

  • Pregnancy studies related to: Preeclampsia, Fetal Growth Restriction, Diabetes, Labour, and Anxiety
  • PPeTaL: Predicting preterm labour study

Ms Adrienne White

  • Audit of the use of a pregnancy biomarker (sFlt-1/PlGF Ratio) in the prediction of preeclampsia
  • Social Work Outreach Study: An evaluation of an early intervention program for mothers and their infants.This study is evaluating the effectiveness of a community support program in the first year for women and babies accessing the Women’s Alcohol and Drug Service.
  • The ROADMAP Study: Maternal ophthalmic artery Doppler waveform analysis in the assessment and management of preeclampsia
  • The ESPRESSO Trial: A multicentre study of the drug Nexium for the prevention of  preeclampsia

Ms Dianna Maxwell

  • PPeTaL: Predicting preterm labour study
  • FACT: Effect of folic acid supplementation in pregnancy on preeclampsia
  • MAGENTA TRIAL: MAgnesium sulphate at 30 to 34 weeks GEstational age Neuroprotection TriAl

Data Manager/Clinical Research Midwife
Ms Karen Reidy

Research Officer
Ms Chantelle Blyth
Ms Claire Grant
Ms Jancy Johnson
Ms Karmen Kong

Medical Laboratory Technician
Ms Janet Stevenson

Students
Dr Carin Black, MPhil Scholar
Dr Stefan Kane, PhD Scholar
Ms Aida Shakouri, PhD Scholar
Mr Ramin Khanabdali, PhD Scholar
Mr Michael Yang, PhD Scholar
Ms Joan Wijay, Masters Scholar
Ms Chelsea Perera, BSc Honours Scholar
Ms Shixuan Zheng, BSc Honours Scholar
Ms Katherine Moore, Scholarly Selective Scholar
 

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