Professor Lois Salamonsen. PhD, FRANZCOG(hon), FAA
Distinguished Scientist at Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Adjunct Professor of this Faculty.
Professor Salamonsen is internationally recognised for her work and that of her team on understanding, at a molecular level, how the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) undergoes extraordinary cyclical changes some 400 times in each woman’s life. The endometrium is shed each month at menstruation, repairs without scarring, then is reconstructed and remodelled to provide a highly- tuned tissue which will enable implantation of an developing embryo and formation of the placenta to provide the nutrition and oxygen supply to nurture the fetus as it develops throughout pregnancy.
This uniquely dynamic tissue also offers a window into some of biology’s great secrets – tissue regeneration, scarless wound healing, inflammation and immune function, all of which have been explored within the Salamonsen teams’ program of work. Most recently, they were the first to show how cross talk between the pre-implantation embryo and the implantation site on the endometrium is mediated via extracellular vesicles, nanometer sized carriers whose cargo contains vital biological information necessary for successful implantation.
Translational outcomes from this knowledge include improvements in fertility treatments such as in IVF, new targets for contraception, potential treatments for wound healing to prevent scarring and implications for cancer biology; indeed the embryo invades the endometrium in a manner analogous to cancer cell invasion but it is highly restrained by its environment.
Prof Salamonsen has received countless awards and accolades for her scientific endeavours, including the Life Time Achievement award of this Faculty (2019) and the Beacon Award for mentoring from Frontiers in Reproduction (USA). She has recently been elected a Distinguished Fellow of the Society for the Study of Reproduction (USA, 2021), the pre-eminent International Scientific Society for her discipline.
Lois is recognised as a ‘rare women at the top of her discipline’ who can guide young women through their special difficulties with life-work balance. She has a passion for training students and The Hudson Institute, where her laboratory is based, has provided an outstanding environment for these students – honours, Masters and PhDs. Many of these have progressed to outstanding careers both in academia and elsewhere: all have carried with them a love of science, of continued learning and of excellence and integrity in all that they do.