Mrs Maria Bowman

HMRI Research Assistant

School of Medicine and Public Health (Public Health)

Career Summary


Research Expertise
Radioimmunoassays: All aspects, from preparation and purification of radioactive label using HPLC to immunisation of rabbits and analysis of antibodies. Have experience in developing and optimising assays for commercially unavailable peptides. Molecular: PCR, DNA and RNA extractions. Cell culturing: Anterior pituitary cells pituitaries collected from abattoir, cells isolated, plated and treated. AtT20 cells mouse pituitary cell line. Perifusion Studies: Sheep and rat anterior pituitary cells suspended in gel columns and treated. Eluate collected and assayed. Computer Skills: Proficient in Excel, Access, Powerpoint, Word, and Endnote. Hospital PIMS training. Data Management: Responsible (together with midwife) for Mathematical Model Access Database, which is approaching 3,000 samples and over 500 patients. Data entered and retrieved from respiratory Controls access database. Clinical: Assessment, recruitment and follow-up of participants in Respiratory research studies. Information collection and data entry into trial databases. Experience in various procedures including spirometry, saline challenge, exhaled carbon monoxide (ECO), exhaled nitric oxide (ENO), exhaled breath condensate (EBC), allergy skin prick test.

Administrative Expertise
Administration: Confidential letters containing assay results sent to doctors and pathology laboratories. Experience collecting, editing and presenting information in relevant format, including grant submissions, ethics applications, journal papers and conference posters/talks. Compilation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). Negotiating skills ordering products and equipment needed for laboratory.


  • HPLC
  • Preterm labour
  • Radioimmunoassays


  • Greek (Fluent)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
111716 Preventive Medicine 50
111499 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine not elsewhere classified 50

Professional Experience

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/03/2005 - 1/03/2007 Clinical Research Officer University of Newcastle
School of Medicine and Public Health
1/11/1990 -  Research Assistant (Medicine) University of Newcastle
School of Medicine and Public Health
1/01/1990 - 1/08/1990 Research Assistant (Organic Chemistry) University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences


Dates Title Organisation / Department
Membership - Endocrine Society of Australia Endocrine Society of Australia


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

Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2000 Smith R, Changs E-C, Mesiano S, Nicholson R, Cheng Y-H, Bowman M, et al., 'Regulation of parturition: The role of CRH', Hormones and Women's Health The Reproductive Years, Harwood Academic Publishers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 215-219 (2000) [B1]
Co-authors Roger Smith, John Fitter, Vicki Clifton, Gemma Madsen

Journal article (12 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Stirrat LI, O'Reilly JR, Barr SM, Andrew R, Riley SC, Howie AF, et al., 'Decreased maternal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity in very severely obese pregnancy: Associations with birthweight and gestation at delivery', Psychoneuroendocrinology, 63 135-143 (2016)

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.Background: The maternal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis (HPAA) undergoes dramatic activation during pregnancy. Increased cortisol and corticotrophin-rele... [more]

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.Background: The maternal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis (HPAA) undergoes dramatic activation during pregnancy. Increased cortisol and corticotrophin-releasing-hormone (CRH) associate with low birthweight and preterm labor. In non-pregnant obesity, the HPAA is activated but circulating cortisol levels are normal or lower than in lean women. We hypothesized that maternal cortisol levels would be lower in obese pregnancy, and would associate with increased fetal size and length of gestation. Method: Fasting serum cortisol was measured at 16, 28 and 36 weeks gestation and at 3-6 months postpartum in 276 severely obese and 135 lean women. In a subset of obese (n = 20) and lean (n = 20) we measured CRH, hormones that regulate bioavailable cortisol (corticosteroid-binding-globulin, estradiol, estriol, and progesterone). Urinary glucocorticoid metabolites were measured in pregnant (obese n = 6, lean n = 5) and non-pregnant (obese n = 7, lean n = 7) subjects. Results: Maternal cortisol and HPAA hormones were lower in obese pregnancy. Total urinary glucocorticoid metabolites increased significantly in lean pregnancy, but not in obese. Lower maternal cortisol in obese tended to be associated with increased birthweight (r = -0.13, p = 0.066). In obese, CRH at 28 weeks correlated inversely with gestational length (r = -0.49, p = 0.04), and independently predicted gestational length after adjustment for confounding factors (mean decrease in CRH of -0.25 pmol/L (95% CI -0.45 to -0.043 pmol/L) per/day increase in gestation). Conclusion: In obese pregnancy, lower maternal cortisol without an increase in urinary glucocorticoid clearance may indicate a lesser activation of the HPAA than in lean pregnancy. This may offer a novel mechanism underlying increased birthweight and longer gestation in obese pregnancy.

DOI 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.09.019
Co-authors Roger Smith
2015 Pan X, Bowman M, Scott RJ, Fitter J, Nicholson RC, Smith R, Zakar T, 'Methylation of the Corticotropin Releasing Hormone Gene Promoter in BeWo Cells: Relationship to Gene Activity', International Journal of Endocrinology, 2015 (2015) [C1]

© 2015 Xin Pan et al.Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) production by the human placenta increases exponentially as pregnancy advances, and the rate of increase predicts gesta... [more]

© 2015 Xin Pan et al.Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) production by the human placenta increases exponentially as pregnancy advances, and the rate of increase predicts gestational length. CRH gene expression is regulated by cAMP in trophoblasts through a cyclic AMP-response element (CRE), which changes its transcription factor binding properties upon methylation. Here we determined whether methylation of the CRH proximal promoter controls basal and cAMP-stimulated CRH expression in BeWo cells, a well-characterized trophoblastic cell line. We treated the cells with 8-Br-cAMP and the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-aza-2' deoxycytidine (5-AZA-dC) and determined the effects on CRH mRNA level and promoter methylation. Clonal bisulfite sequencing showed partial and allele independent methylation of CpGs in the CRH promoter. CRH mRNA expression and the methylation of a subset of CpGs (including CpG2 in the CRE) increased spontaneously during culture. 8-Br-cAMP stimulated CRH expression without affecting the increase in methylation. 5-AZA-dC decreased methylation and augmented 8-Br-cAMP-stimulated CRH expression, but it blocked the spontaneous increase of CRH mRNA level. We conclude that the CRH promoter is a dynamically and intermediately methylated genomic region in BeWo cells. Promoter methylation did not inhibit CRH gene expression under the conditions employed; rather it determined the contribution of alternative cAMP-independent pathways and cAMP-independent mechanisms to CRH expression control.

DOI 10.1155/2015/861302
Co-authors John Fitter, Roger Smith, Rodney Scott
2011 Hodyl NA, Stark MJ, Osei-Kumah A, Bowman M, Gibson PG, Clifton VL, 'Fetal glucocorticoid-regulated pathways are not affected by inhaled corticosteroid use for asthma during pregnancy', American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 183 716-722 (2011) [C1]
DOI 10.1164/rccm.201007-1188oc
Citations Scopus - 20Web of Science - 15
Co-authors Peter Gibson, Vicki Clifton
2009 Smith R, Smith JI, Shen XB, Engel PJ, Bowman M, McGrath SA, et al., 'Patterns of plasma corticotropin-releasing hormone, progesterone, estradiol, and estriol change and the onset of human labor', Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 94 2066-2074 (2009) [C1]
DOI 10.1210/jc.2008-2257
Citations Scopus - 80Web of Science - 67
Co-authors Roger Smith
2006 Power ML, Bowman M, Smith R, Ziegler TE, Layne DG, Schulkin J, Tardif SD, 'Pattern of maternal serum corticotropin-releasing hormone concentration during pregnancy in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus)', American Journal of Primatology, 68 181-188 (2006) [C1]
DOI 10.1002/ajp.20215
Citations Scopus - 14Web of Science - 12
Co-authors Roger Smith
2001 Bowman M, Lopata A, Jaffe R, Golos T, Wickings J, Smith R, 'Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone-Binding Protein in Primates', American Journal of Primatology, 53 123-130 (2001) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 33Web of Science - 24
Co-authors Roger Smith
2000 McCluskey A, Finn M, Bowman M, Keller PA, Smith R, '2,7-dimethylthiazolo[4,5-d] pyradazine-4-(5H)-thione: a corticotrophin releasing hormone type 1 receptor agonist', Australian journal of chemistry, 905-908 (2000) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Roger Smith, Adam Mccluskey
2000 McLean M, Bowman M, Clifton VL, Smith R, Grossman AB, 'Expression of the Heme Oxygenase-Carbon Monoxide Signalling system in Human Placenta', The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 85 2345-2349 (2000) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 43Web of Science - 36
Co-authors Roger Smith, Vicki Clifton
1999 Smith R, Wicking J, Bowman M, Belleoud A, Dubreuil G, Davies J, Madsen GM, 'Corticotropin-releasing hormone in chimpazee and gorilla pregnancies', Journal of clinical endocrinology and Metabolism, (Aug);84/8 2820-2825 (1999) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 56Web of Science - 47
Co-authors Gemma Madsen, Roger Smith
1999 Keller PA, Bowman M, Dang KH, Garner JA, Leach SP, Smith R, McCluskey A, 'Pharmacophore development for corticotropin-releasing hormone: new insights into inhibitor activity', Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 42, No. 13 2351-2357 (1999) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 36Web of Science - 37
Co-authors Adam Mccluskey, Roger Smith
1997 Bowman M, Robinson PJ, Smith R, 'Atrial natriuretic peptide, cyclic GMP analogues and modulation of guanylyl cyclase do not alter stimulated POMC peptide release from perifused rat or sheep corticotrophs', Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 9 929-936 (1997) [C1]
DOI 10.1046/j.1365-2826.1997.00665.x
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 5
Co-authors Roger Smith
1993 Smith R, Chan E, Bowman M, Winthrop JH, Phippard AF, 'Corticotropin-releasing hormone in the baboon pregnancy', Journal Clinical Endocrinology Metab, 76 1063-1068 (1993) [C1]
Show 9 more journal articles

Conference (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Stirrat L, O'Reilly J, Riley S, Howie A, Bowman M, Smith R, et al., 'Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis Hormones Are Reduced in Obese Pregnancy', REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCES (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Roger Smith
2013 Rae KM, Weatherall L, Clausen D, Maxwell C, Bowman M, Milgate P, et al., 'Gomeroi gaaynggal: Empowerment of Aboriginal communities to understand health implications of research in pregnancy', Proceedings of th 12th National Rural Health Conference (2013) [E1]
Co-authors Sharron Hall, Kym Rae, Roger Smith
2012 Maiti K, Gravina FS, Bowman M, Aitken RJ, Smith R, 'The ageing placenta and still birth', Abstracts. The Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2012 (2012) [E3]
Co-authors Roger Smith, John Aitken
2011 Weatherall LJ, Rae KM, Milgate P, Hall ST, Carlin A, Boyd J, et al., 'A place of connections: The Gomeroi Gaaynggal Centre', Proceedings of the 3rd Coalition for Research to Improve Aboriginal Health (CRIAH) Aboriginal Health Research Conference (2011) [E3]
Co-authors Kym Rae, Roger Smith, Sharron Hall
2010 Hodyl NA, Stark MJ, Osei-Kumah A, Bowman M, Clifton VL, 'The effect of inhaled corticosteroid treatment for asthma during pregnancy on markers of maternal, placental and fetal systemic function', Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health: Abstracts of the 14th Annual Congress of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand 2010 (2010) [E3]
Co-authors Vicki Clifton
2008 Smith R, Smith JI, Shen X, Bisits AM, Engel PJ, Giles WB, et al., 'The onset of human labor is associated with a fall in the ration of progesterone to estrogens and an increase in the estriol to estradiol ratio', 51st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and Society of Reproductive Biology: Meeting Proceedings and Abstract Book (2008) [E3]
Co-authors Roger Smith
2008 Smith R, Smith JI, Bowman M, Equils O, Vali S, Bisits AM, 'Use of mathematical modelling to predict pregnancy outcomes and behaviour of the uterus', The Twenty-Second Fetal and Neonatal Workshop of Australia and New Zealand Abstract Book (2008) [E3]
Co-authors Roger Smith
2007 Smith R, Smith J, Bowman M, McGrath SA, Giles WB, 'Rate of change of corticotrophin releasing hormone and hCG nadir provide accurate identification of women at risk of preterm birth', Reproductive Sciences (Scientific Program & Abstracts: 54th Annual Meeting, SGI) (2007) [E3]
Co-authors Roger Smith
2006 Power ML, Bowman M, Smith R, Layne DG, Ziegler TE, Tardif SD, Schulkin J, 'Expression and function of corticotropin-releasing hormone (crh) in anthropoid primate placenta', American Journal of Primatology (2006) [E3]
Co-authors Roger Smith
2006 Smith J, Norris A, Bowman M, Engel T, Bisits AM, Giles WB, et al., 'Rate of change of corticotrophin releasing hormone and HCG Nadir provide accurate identification of women at risk of preterm birth', Endocrine Journal-Continuation of Endocrinologia Japonica (2006) [E3]
Co-authors Roger Smith
Show 7 more conferences

Grants and Funding


Number of grants 1
Total funding $244,500

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

19961 grants / $244,500

South-East Asian Australian Preterm Labour Study Group.$244,500

Funding body: Department of Education, Training & Youth Affairs

Funding body Department of Education, Training & Youth Affairs
Project Team Emeritus Professor William Walters, Laureate Professor Roger Smith, Conjoint Professor Warwick Giles, Conjoint Associate Professor Andrew Bisits, Doctor Cheng Chan, Dr Stephen O'Callaghan, Doctor Jenny Stewart Williams, Mrs Maria Bowman, Doctor John Fitter
Scheme Targetted Institutional Links Program
Role Investigator
Funding Start 1996
Funding Finish 1998
GNo G0176589
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC

Mrs Maria Bowman


HMRI Research Assistant
School of Medicine and Public Health
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Focus area

Public Health

Contact Details

Phone (02) 4921 4374
Fax (02) 492 14394


Room 3534, Level 3
Building John Hunter Hospital
Location John Hunter Hospital