Dr Kate Redgrove

Dr Kate Redgrove

Post Doctoral Researcher

School of Environmental and Life Sciences

The real impact of Sexually Transmitted Infections on Fertility

With one in six couples experiencing infertility across Australia, Dr Kate Redgrove is looking at the environmental effects on male reproductive health, specifically, the impact of long term Chlamydia infections.

“Unfortunately, Chlamydia is one of those STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) that doesn't often show symptoms.

“Around 75 per cent of people with an infection don't know they've got it - and in women that can be catastrophic.”

Indeed, long term Chlamydia infection can cause damage to the ovaries and Fallopian tubes – sometimes resulting in permanent infertility.

“The effects on the male reproductive system are a bit more controversial.

“Women have a finite set of eggs and once they're depleted you become infertile - but because men are constantly producing sperm it’s thought that Chlamydial infection may not be capable of detrimentally affecting that process.”

However, Kate’s research has suggested that some of the consequences of this infection – including the response of the immune system itself – can damage the male germ cell DNA. These genetic lesions then have the potential to be passed onto offspring.

Better models, better data

There is a lot of dispute in this research area, with some camps standing firm that Chlamydial infection has no impact on male reproductive health. However, Kate believes that one of the reasons this dispute still occurs is that there are so many different techniques and models being used in the studies.

Kate is working in collaboration with researchers at QUT to develop a better model of infection.

“We’re trying to eliminate inconsistencies in the field by creating a model as close to human infection as we can.

“What I’m really trying to do it tease apart how spermatogenesis works as a process and then look at that in terms of environmental factors and lifestyle choices.”

Sperm cell priming

Once sperm cells are ejaculated, they’re unable to bind the egg unless they spend a certain amount of time in the female reproductive tract.

“During that time they become capacitated or ‘primed’ and all the proteins on the surface of the sperm cell change,” says Kate.

Throughout her PhD, Kate looked at these proteins to try and find out which of these capacitation changes are important for fertilisation.

By working in collaboration with IVF Australia, Kate could select patient sperm samples which fit within the criteria of her research. Using this approach, she could identify proteins which had the potential to be used as a biomarker of infertility, as well as a target for novel contraceptives.

Kate saw that when it came to a sperm cell’s egg binding capacity, it was not just the specific proteins which were important, but also their specific arrangement and architecture.

From the lecture theatre to the lab

Kate became interested in the work of UON’s Reproductive Science group when Laureate Professor John Aitken gave a series of lectures in her undergraduate classes.

“He is just so passionate and articulate when he presents. He's just so inspiring and that made me think…maybe that's something that I want to do.

“He really promoted us getting into the lab and doing research.”

As part of the Biotechnology undergraduate degree program, students can do a 10-week lab placement. Following John’s presentation, Kate approached Professor Brett Nixon, another member of the Reproductive Science group, about conducting her placement in his lab.

“That was a huge turning point - it was such a different experience from the teaching labs.

“You are placed in a fully functional research lab and given your own project which you have to take control of and think independently.

“You're given a set of skills and it's up to you to then take that project and drive it.

“I guess that sense of independence really clicked with me - being able to see the bigger picture instead of just being handed a lab manual and being told what you should see at the end.”

When the time came for Kate to decide what to do after her degree, she needed some coaching from her newfound mentor, Brett.

“I wasn’t sure if Honours was right for me or where I wanted to go.

“Brett sat me down and told me, ‘That’s fine, but you should know that you are good at this!

“He made me feel much more confident about my capabilities. He’s probably been my biggest inspiration; he is very grounded and works very hard to pave the way for all of us.”

Since completing her PhD, Kate has worked under the supervision of Professor Eileen McLaughlin who has helped to shape her current career trajectory.

“Eileen is an amazing woman. She has worked supremely hard to rise to the level she has, and she has been unwaveringly supportive in helping me to navigate the academic world of research. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her”.

Kate Redgrove

Dr Kate Redgrove

Dr Kate Redgrove is looking at the environmental effects on male reproductive health, specifically, the impact of long term Chlamydia infections.

What I’m really trying to do it tease apart how spermatogenesis works as a process and then look at that in terms of environmental factors and lifestyle choices.

Kate Redgrove

The real impact of Sexually Transmitted Infections on Fertility

Dr Kate Redgrove is looking at the environmental effects on male reproductive health, specifically, the impact of long term Chlamydia infections.

Read more

Career Summary

Biography

Biography

At the end of my undergraduate degree in Biotechnology I was able to undertake 10 weeks of work placement. Because of the inspiring nature of my lecturers, I decided to test the waters of research in the area of Reproductive Biology. I fell in love, not only with this field, but with scientific research.

Working as part of the PRC Reproductive Biology and in concert with the HMRI Pregnancy and Reproduction Program, my research focuses on determinants of male fertility, incorporating male germ cell development during spermatogenesis and infertility caused by untreated STIs such as Chlamydia. In order to explore these areas of research, I utilise a wide range of cell, molecular and proteomic techniques in my experimental designs, in addition to transgenic and infectious mouse models.

Research Expertise

During my PhD studies, I focused on determining what molecular processes allows a sperm to recognise and bind to an egg, ultimately identifying and characterising a number of protein complexes that were differentially expressed between non-capacitated (immature) and capacitated (mature) sperm cells. One such complex, comprising of the heat shock protein HSPA2, arylsulfatase A (ARSA) and sperm adhesion molecule 1 (SPAM1) became the focus of further studies, and using a broad range of proteomic techniques, we were able to determine that this complex was significantly rearranged during capacitation in order to allow the zona pellucida (ZP) binding protein ARSA to be exposed on the surface. Furthermore I demonstrated that HSPA2 played a significant role as a scaffolding protein, coordinating this reorganisation event, and that the expression of this protein was downregulated in IVF patients with failed ZP binding.

Based on work previously performed by Brett Nixon’s group in our lab, I began my post-doctoral studies investigating the role of the GTPase Dynamin in spermatogenesis. After creating several Dynamin 1 (DNM1) and Dynamin 2 (DNM2) conditional knockout mouse lines, we discovered that ablation of DNM2 from the male germ line results in complete infertility. We demonstrated that DNM2 is important for mitosis and meiosis during spermatogenesis, and this it’s loss results in spermatogenic arrest. In parallel with this, I began work investigating the detrimental effects of acute and chronic Chlamydia infection on the male reproductive tract. Working in collaboration with Prof Kenneth Beagley and his team at the Queensland University of Technology, I have determined that Chlamydia is capable of subverting the host immune and toxicological responses, by suppressing important signalling pathways including the arylhydrocarbon receptor pathway and the inflammasome pathways.

Our group is always looking for students who are potentially interested in undertaking a career in research. As such, I have a number of Summer Scholarship and Honours projects advertised through the School of Environmental and Life Sciences. I am more than happy to meet up with anyone interested and discuss some of our projects in more detail.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Biotechnology, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours), University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • Cellular Biology
  • Chlamydia Infection
  • Male Fertility
  • Molecular Biology
  • Reproduction

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
060199 Biochemistry and Cell Biology not elsewhere classified 30
111404 Reproduction 40
160302 Fertility 30

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Post Doctoral Researcher University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/01/2014 -  Post Doctoral Researcher Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle | Australia
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/07/2013 - 31/12/2013 Research Assistant Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle | Australia
Australia

Awards

Prize

Year Award
2016 SRB Hudson Institute of Medical Research Mid-Career Researcher Poster Award
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle | Australia

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
BIOL2020 Animal Physiology and Development
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle | Australia
Lecturer 1/08/2016 - 31/12/2016
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Chapter (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 Redgrove KA, Aitken RJ, Nixon B, 'More Than a Simple Lock and Key Mechanism: Unraveling the Intricacies of Sperm-Zona Pellucida Binding', Binding Protein, Intech, Online 73-122 (2012)
2012 Redgrove KA, Aitken RJ, Nixon B, 'More than a simple lock and key mechanism: unraveling the intricacies of sperm-oocyte interactions', Binding Protein, InTech, Rijeka, Croatia 73-122 (2012) [B1]
DOI 10.5772/2897
Co-authors Brett Nixon, John Aitken

Journal article (8 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Redgrove KA, Bernstein IR, Pye VJ, Mihalas BP, Sutherland JM, Nixon B, et al., 'Dynamin 2 is essential for mammalian spermatogenesis', SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1038/srep35084
Co-authors Brett Nixon, Eileen Mclaughlin, Janet Holt, Jessie Sutherland, Adam Mccluskey
2015 Sutherland JM, Sobinoff AP, Fraser BA, Redgrove KA, Davidson TL, Siddall NA, et al., 'RNA binding protein Musashi-1 directly targets Msi2 and Erh during early testis germ cell development and interacts with IPO5 upon translocation to the nucleus', FASEB Journal, 29 2759-2768 (2015) [C1]

© FASEB.Controlled gene regulation during gamete development is vital for maintaining reproductive potential. During the process of gamete development, male germ cells experience... [more]

© FASEB.Controlled gene regulation during gamete development is vital for maintaining reproductive potential. During the process of gamete development, male germ cells experience extended periods of inactive transcription despite requirements for continued growth and differentiation. Spermatogenesis therefore provides an ideal model to study the effects of posttranscriptional control on gene regulation. During spermatogenesis posttranscriptional regulation is orchestrated by abundantly expressed RNA-binding proteins. One such group of RNA-binding proteins is the Musashi family, previously identified as a critical regulator of testis germ cell development and meiosis in Drosophila and also shown to be vital to sperm development and reproductive potential in the mouse. We focus in depth on the role and function of the vertebrate Musashi ortholog Musashi-1 (MSI1). Through detailed expression studies and utilizing our novel transgenic Msi1 testis-specific overexpression model, we have identified 2 unique RNA-binding targets of MSI1 in spermatogonia,Msi2 and Erh, and have demonstrated a role for MSI1 in translational regulation. We have also provided evidence to suggest that nuclear import protein, IPO5, facilitates the nuclear translocation of MSI1 to the transcriptionally silenced XY chromatin domain in meiotic pachytene spermatocytes, resulting in the release of MSI1 RNA-binding targets. This firmly establishes MSI1 as a master regulator of posttranscriptional control during early spermatogenesis and highlights the significance of the subcellular localization of RNA binding proteins in relation to their function.

DOI 10.1096/fj.14-265868
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Jessie Sutherland, Eileen Mclaughlin
2015 Sobinoff AP, Dando SJ, Redgrove KA, Sutherland JM, Stanger SJ, Armitage CW, et al., 'Chlamydia muridarum infection-induced destruction of male germ cells and sertoli cells is partially prevented by Chlamydia major outer membrane protein-specific immune CD4 cells.', Biol Reprod, 92 27 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.1095/biolreprod.114.124180
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Jessie Sutherland, Eileen Mclaughlin
2014 Redgrove KA, McLaughlin EA, 'The role of the immune response in chlamydia trachomatis infection of the male genital tract: A double-edged sword', Frontiers in Immunology, 5 1-22 (2014) [C1]
DOI 10.3389/fimmu.2014.00534
Citations Scopus - 10Web of Science - 8
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin
2013 Redgrove KA, Anderson AL, McLaughlin EA, O'Bryan MK, Aitken RJ, Nixon B, 'Investigation of the mechanisms by which the molecular chaperone HSPA2 regulates the expression of sperm surface receptors involved in human spermoocyte recognition', MOLECULAR HUMAN REPRODUCTION, 19 120-135 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.1093/molehr/gas064
Citations Scopus - 34Web of Science - 32
Co-authors Brett Nixon, John Aitken, Eileen Mclaughlin
2012 Redgrove KA, Nixon B, Baker MA, Hetherington L, Baker G, Liu D-Y, Aitken RJ, 'The molecular chaperone HSPA2 plays a key role in regulating the expression of sperm surface receptors that mediate sperm-egg recognition', Plos One, 7 1-16 (2012) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 44Web of Science - 39
Co-authors Brett Nixon, John Aitken, Mark Baker
2011 Redgrove KA, Anderson AL, Dun MD, McLaughlin EA, O'Bryan MK, Aitken RJ, Nixon B, 'Involvement of multimeric protein complexes in mediating the capacitation-dependent binding of human spermatozoa to homologous zonae pellucidae', Developmental Biology, 356 460-474 (2011) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.05.674
Citations Scopus - 36Web of Science - 36
Co-authors Matt Dun, Eileen Mclaughlin, John Aitken, Brett Nixon
2010 Reid AT, Redgrove KA, Aitken RJ, Nixon B, 'Cellular mechanisms regulating sperm-zona pellucida interaction', Asian Journal of Andrology, 13 88-96 (2010) [C1]
DOI 10.1038/aja.2010.74
Citations Scopus - 31Web of Science - 31
Co-authors John Aitken, Brett Nixon
Show 5 more journal articles

Review (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Nixon B, Bromfield EG, Dun MD, Redgrove KA, McLaughlin EA, Aitken RJ, 'The role of the molecular chaperone heat shock protein A2 (HSPA2) in regulating human sperm-egg recognition', ASIAN JOURNAL OF ANDROLOGY (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.4103/1008-682X.151395
Citations Scopus - 10Web of Science - 6
Co-authors John Aitken, Elizabeth Bromfield, Eileen Mclaughlin, Matt Dun, Brett Nixon

Conference (5 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Bryan ER, Kollipara A, Armitage CW, Redgrove KA, McLaughlin EA, Carey AJ, Beagley KW, 'Circulating blood macrophages transmit Chlamydia infection to the testis', EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY (2016)
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin
2012 Nixon B, Redgrove KA, Baker MA, Aitken RJ, 'The role of molecular chaperones in regulating human sperm-egg recognition', Abstracts. The Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2012 (2012) [E3]
Co-authors Mark Baker, John Aitken, Brett Nixon
2012 Aitken RJ, Nixon B, Redgrove KA, Dun M, Baker MA, 'The molecular origins of defective sperm function', HUMAN REPRODUCTION (2012) [E3]
Co-authors Brett Nixon, Matt Dun, John Aitken, Mark Baker
2010 Redgrove KA, McLaughlin EA, O'Bryan MK, Aitken RJ, Nixon B, 'Identification and characterisation of surface protein complexes in human spermatozoa', OzBio 2010: The Molecules of Life - from Discovery to Biotechnology. Poster Abstracts (2010) [E3]
Co-authors John Aitken, Brett Nixon, Eileen Mclaughlin
2010 Redgrove KA, Nixon B, McLaughlin EA, O'Bryan MK, Aitken RJ, 'Identification and Characterisation of Surface Protein Complexes in Human Spermatozoa', Reproduction, Fertility and Development (2010) [E3]
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin, Brett Nixon, John Aitken
Show 2 more conferences
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 2
Total funding $50,000

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20142 grants / $50,000

The Role of the GTPase Dynamin in the Female Germline$30,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Doctor Kate Redgrove, Doctor Janet Bristow, Professor Eileen McLaughlin, Professor Brett Nixon
Scheme Bridging Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1301333
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

Understanding the Effects of Persistent Chlamydia Infection in the Male Germline$20,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Doctor Kate Redgrove, Professor Eileen McLaughlin
Scheme Project Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1401440
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed1
Current1

Total current UON EFTSL

PhD0.2

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2015 PhD Oxidation stress with age PhD (Biological Sciences), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2017 PhD The Impact of Maternal Ageing and Chemotoxicants on Female Fertility PhD (Biological Sciences), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
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News

Early Career accolades for fertility research

November 17, 2016

Fertility researcher Dr Kate Redgrove has been recognised for her outstanding work on one of the major molecular mechanisms in the male reproductive system.

UON researchers scoop reproductive biology awards

September 1, 2016

UON reproductive science researchers have been highly recognised with a host of awards at the Society For Reproductive Biology (SRB) Conference.

Dr Kate Redgrove

Positions

Post Doctoral Researcher
PRC Reproductive Sceince
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Casual Academic
PRC Reproductive Sceince
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Contact Details

Email kate.redgrove@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 49216267

Office

Room LS4.39
Building Life Sciences Building.
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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