Diabetes, Metabolic and Reproductive Health

Diabetes, Metabolic and Reproductive Health

This theme of research includes work in obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and in pregnancy including gestational diabetes and the cross-talk between metabolic and reproductive disorders. It focuses on uncovering the aetiologies of common metabolic and reproductive disorders, using a combination of physiological, epidemiological and clinical research approaches. We conduct multidisciplinary research including mechanistic and biomarker studies, clinical trials, epidemiology, evidence synthesis and individual patient data meta-analysis, public health and translation. The theme is integrated with the National Association of Diabetes Centres accredited diabetes centre based across MCHRI and Monash Health.

Theme Lead

Dr Aya Mousa is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) biomedical research fellow. Her research spans various disciplines across metabolic and reproductive health and incorporates several research methodologies including basic, epidemiological and clinical sciences as well as public health. Through collaboration, innovation and knowledge exchange, her vision is to improve current understanding of the aetiologies underlying common metabolic and reproductive disorders and to deliver high-quality research outcomes with real-world impact.

Biomarkers for risk prediction and prevention of metabolic and reproductive disorders

Overview of activities

These studies explore potential biomarkers for risk prediction and prevention of polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes, gestational diabetes and adverse pregnancy outcomes. This area of research is supported by a NHMRC Centre for Excellence (CRE) in PCOS investigator grant, an AMREP early-mid career collaborative seed grant, and an Andrew Ramsden MHTP ECR Collaborative Award.

Major current projects

  • Identification of key lipid signatures and their associations with clinical and cardiometabolic features of polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Plasma lipidomic signatures for risk prediction and prevention of gestational diabetes
  • Metabolic insulin resistant conditions including polycystic ovary syndrome, gestational diabetes, and pre-existing diabetes: breastmilk composition and biomarkers and their relationship with maternal and fetal health
  • Vitamin D binding protein in polycystic ovary syndrome, pregnancy and reproductive health (including fertility)
  • Microbiome and inflammation: relationships with insulin resistance in obesity and PCOS
  • Inflammation markers and adipokines in obesity, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and heart failure
  • Epigenetic and biomarker studies for gestational diabetes and adverse pregnancy outcomes using departmental bio-banked samples collected from >1000 pregnant women with and without gestational diabetes

Our team

  • Dr Aya Mousa
  • Professor Helena Teede
  • Dr Siew Lim
  • Dr Negar Naderpoor
  • Ms Melinda Fernando (student)
  • Ms Zahraa Albander (student)
  • Dr Kate Duggan (student)

Collaborations

  • Dr Stacey Ellery (Hudson Institute)
  • Dr Kevin Huynh (Baker Institute)
  • Professor Peter Meikle (Baker Institute)
  • Professor Barbora de Courten (Monash)
  • Dr Marloes Dekker Nitert (Queensland)
  • Professor Magdalena Plebanski (RMIT)
  • A/Professor Jose Fernández-Real (Spain)
  • Dr Jordi Mayneris‐Perxachs (Spain)

Pathophysiology and mechanisms underlying diabetes and metabolic and reproductive disorders

Overview of activities

IThese studies examine the mechanistic pathways underlying insulin-resistant states (including diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome and pregnancy), with a focus on hormonal physiology, lipid metabolism and chronic low-grade inflammation.

Major current projects

  • Hormonal physiology and lactation in metabolic insulin resistant conditions including polycystic ovary syndrome, gestational diabetes and pre-existing type 1 and 2 diabetes
  • Does Metformin alter microbiota composition in polycystic ovary syndrome? Exploration of mechanisms of action
  • Metformin mechanisms of action in pregnancy: explorations of ethnic and genetic variations
  • Exploration of lipid metabolism as a potential pathway by which dietary intake impacts on gestational diabetes and pregnancy outcomes
  • Examining the cross-talk between lipid metabolism, inflammation, and other novel mechanisms underlying insulin resistance in obesity and metabolic disorders

Our team

  • Dr Aya Mousa
  • Professor Helena Teede
  • Dr Negar Naderpoor
  • Dr Anju Joham
  • Dr Kate Duggan (student)

Collaborations

  • Dr Stacey Ellery (Hudson Institute)
  • Dr Kevin Huynh (Baker Institute)
  • Professor Peter Meikle (Baker Institute)
  • Dr Marloes Dekker Nitert (Queensland)
  • Professor Eszter Vanky (Norway)
  • MiPS Steering Committee (global)

Interventions for the prevention and treatment of metabolic and reproductive disorders

Overview of activities

These studies examine the safety and efficacy of interventions (nutraceutical and pharmaceutical) for the prevention and treatment of diabetes (and its complications), gestational diabetes and adverse pregnancy outcomes. This work is supported by a NHMRC CRE in PCOS investigator grant, NHMRC clinical trial grant, and a Heart Foundation Vanguard grant.

Major current projects

  • Metformin in Pregnancy Study (MiPS) – large collaborative project investigating the efficacy and safety of metformin in pregnancy to inform clinical guidelines
  • Hydoxychloroquine (HCQ) in pregnancy – collaborative project investigating the efficacy and safety of HCQ in pregnancy for the prevention / treatment of adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Use of anti-depressant treatments (fluoxetine) during pregnancy: safety and effects on fetal outcomes
  • Effects of vitamin D on inflammation in type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome and pregnancy
  • Vitamin D for the prevention of type 2 diabetes – clinical trial of vitamin D supplementation in overweight/obese adults and the role of single nucleotide polymorphisms in determining responses to supplementation
  • Effects of carnosine in peripheral vascular disease (PVD) – pilot clinical trial of carnosine supplementation in PVD

Our team

  • Dr Aya Mousa
  • Professor Helena Teede
  • Dr Joanne Enticott
  • Professor Jacqueline Boyle
  • Dr Negar Naderpoor

Collaborations

  • Professor Eszter Vanky (Norway)
  • A/Professor Tone Lovvik (Norway)
  • Dr Hassan Shehata (UK)
  • Professor Guillermo Ruiz-Irastorza (Spain)
  • Professor Munther Khamashta (UK)
  • Professor Sven M Carlsen (Norway)
  • Dr Jahanara Ainuddin (Pakistan)
  • Dr Ijäs Hilkka (Finland)
  • Laure Morin-Papunen (Finland)
  • Professor William Hague (Adelaide)
  • Professor Jodie Dodd (Adelaide)
  • Professor Tapani Rönnemaa (Finland)
  • Dr Kristiina Tertti (Finland)
  • Dr Argyro Syngelaki (UK)
  • Dr Janet Rowan (New Zealand)
  • Prof Jane Norman (UK)
  • Professor Kypros Nicolaides (UK)
  • Professor Barbora de Courten (Monash)
  • Professor Robert Scragg (New Zealand)