Dr Elizabeth Bromfield

Dr Elizabeth Bromfield

Post Doctoral Fellow

School of Environmental and Life Sciences

Career Summary

Biography

I am a post-doctoral researcher in the Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science. My research is primarily focused on discovering how human sperm recognise and interact with the egg to improve in vitro fertilisation outcomes and ensure the health of new individuals.

I completed my PhD under the supervision of Prof. Brett Nixon and L. Prof. John Aitken at The University of Newcastle and was awarded my degree in December, 2015. My doctoral study was dedicated to understanding the mechanisms behind human sperm-egg recognition with a particular focus on investigating the molecules that jeopardise this process in cases of infertility. I have studied this complex biological interaction between the male and female gametes by evaluating the formation and function of important protein complexes at the sperm surface that act as mediators in the interaction between sperm and the egg. Importantly, working with members of the PRC in Reproductive Science, we have discovered a very deleterious role for reactive oxygen species in protein complex function and, as a consequence, we have demonstrated that oxidative stress is a major detriment to fertilisation outcomes in our own species. 

In addition to clarifying the aetiology of male infertility, this work has assisted in the identification and characterisation of molecules that may be used in the development of diagnostic assays for predicting the success of in vitro fertilization. 

My current research areas of interest include:

1. Understanding the role of molecular chaperones in protein complex assembly in gametes

2. Investigating links between in vitro ageing, protein aggregation and molecular chaperone activity in the oocyte

3. Studying the effect of lipid aldehydes on protein quality control in germ cells

4. Examining how germ cells respond to oxidative stress and refining strategies to intervene in the production of reactive oxygen species 


Qualifications

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

Keywords

  • Cell Biology
  • Fertility
  • Molecular chaperones
  • Reproductive Biology

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
060803 Animal Developmental and Reproductive Biology 30
060199 Biochemistry and Cell Biology not elsewhere classified 30
111404 Reproduction 40

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Post Doctoral Fellow University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia

Awards

Award

Year Award
2016 Faculty of Science & IT Award for Research Excellence
Faculty of Science and Information Technology,The University of Newcastle
2014 Best Oral Presentation
Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
2013 Best poster award
Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Prize

Year Award
2016 Best poster prize
Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR)
2015 Best Overall Oral Presentation
Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR)

Scholarship

Year Award
2016 The University of Newcastle ECR-HDR candidate scholarship
Faculty of Science and Information Technology,The University of Newcastle
2014 Travel grant to attend WCRB2014
Society for Reproductive Biology

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
Biol2002 Laboratory Skills for Biological Sciences
The University of Newcastle
Lecturer 27/07/2015 - 27/11/2015
Biol3020 Reproductive Physiology
Univeristy of Newcastle
Lecturer 27/07/2015 - 27/11/2015
Biol2001 Laboratory Skills in Biological Sciences
The University of Newcastle
Demonstrator 21/02/2011 - 10/07/2015
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Publications

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


Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Nixon B, Bromfield EG, Cui J, De Iuliis GN, 'Heat Shock Protein A2 (HSPA2): Regulatory Roles in Germ Cell Development and Sperm Function.', 67-93 (2017)
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-51409-3_4
Co-authors Geoffry DeiuliIs, Brett Nixon

Journal article (11 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Bromfield EG, Aitken RJ, McLaughlin EA, Nixon B, 'Proteolytic degradation of heat shock protein A2 occurs in response to oxidative stress in male germ cells of the mouse', MOLECULAR HUMAN REPRODUCTION, 23 91-105 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1093/molehr/gaw074
Citations Scopus - 1
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin, Brett Nixon, John Aitken
2017 Martin JH, Bromfield EG, Aitken RJ, Nixon B, 'Biochemical alterations in the oocyte in support of early embryonic development', CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR LIFE SCIENCES, 74 469-485 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s00018-016-2356-1
Citations Scopus - 2
Co-authors Brett Nixon, John Aitken
2016 Martin JH, Bromfield EG, Aitken RJ, Lord T, Nixon B, 'Data on the concentrations of etoposide, PSC833, BAPTA-AM, and cycloheximide that do not compromise the vitality of mature mouse oocytes, parthenogenetically activated and fertilized embryos', Data in Brief, 8 1215-1220 (2016)

© 2016 The Authors These data document the vitality of mature mouse oocytes (Metaphase II (MII)) and early stage embryos (zygotes) following exposure to the genotoxic chemotherap... [more]

© 2016 The Authors These data document the vitality of mature mouse oocytes (Metaphase II (MII)) and early stage embryos (zygotes) following exposure to the genotoxic chemotherapeutic agent, etoposide, in combination with PSC833, a selective inhibitor of permeability glycoprotein. They also illustrate the vitality of parthenogenetically activated and fertilized embryos following incubation with the calcium chelator BAPTA-AM (1,2-Bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane- N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid tetrakis (acetoxymethyl ester)), cycloheximide (an antibiotic that is capable of inhibiting protein synthesis), and hydrogen peroxide (a potent reactive oxygen species). Finally, they present evidence that permeability glycoprotein is not represented in the proteome of mouse spermatozoa. Our interpretation and discussion of these data feature in the article ¿Identification of a key role for permeability glycoprotein in enhancing the cellular defense mechanisms of fertilized oocytes¿ (Martin et al., in press) [1].

DOI 10.1016/j.dib.2016.07.046
Citations Scopus - 2
Co-authors John Aitken, Brett Nixon
2016 Bromfield EG, McLaughlin EA, Aitken RJ, Nixon B, 'Heat shock protein member A2 forms a stable complex with angiotensin convertingenzymeand protein disulfide isomerase A6 in human spermatozoa', Molecular Human Reproduction, 22 93-109 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1093/molehr/gav073
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin, Brett Nixon, John Aitken
2016 Martin JH, Nixon B, Lord T, Bromfield EG, Aitken RJ, 'Identification of a key role for permeability glycoprotein in enhancing the cellular defense mechanisms of fertilized oocytes', DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, 417 63-76 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.06.035
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Brett Nixon, John Aitken
2015 Bromfield E, Aitken RJ, Nixon B, 'Novel characterization of the HSPA2-stabilizing protein BAG6 in human spermatozoa', Molecular Human Reproduction, 21 755-769 (2015) [C1]

© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved. While a large cohort of sperm... [more]

© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved. While a large cohort of sperm surface receptors underpin sperm-oocyte adhesion processes, our recent work has revealed that the molecular chaperone Heat Shock Protein A2 (HSPA2) is a key regulator of zona pellucida-receptor complex assembly in our own species. Indeed, in the infertile population, spermatozoa that fail to interact with the zona pellucida of the oocyte consistently lack HSPA2 protein expression. While the mechanisms behind this protein deficiency are under consideration, BCL2-associated athanogene 6 (BAG6) has been identified as a key regulator of HSPA2 stability in mouse germ cells. However, in the human, the presence of BAG family proteins remains completely uncharacterized. Consequently, this study aimed to determine the presence of BAG6 in human sperm cells and to characterize its putative interaction with HSPA2 throughout sperm cell development. BAG6 was shown to co-localize with HSPA2 in human testicular germ cells and epididymal spermatozoa. Similarly, BAG6 was identified in the equatorial region of non-capacitated spermatozoa but underwent a marked relocation to the anterior region of the head upon the induction of capacitation in these cells. Protein-protein interaction assays revealed the stable interaction of BAG6 and HSPA2 proteins in mature spermatozoa. Furthermore, examination of the spermatozoa of infertile men with zona pellucida binding defects, related to a lack of HSPA2, revealed a concomitant deficiency in BAG6 protein expression. In view of the findings described in this study, we propose that BAG6 is likely a key regulator of HSPA2 stability/function in human germ cells. Moreover, its under-representation in spermatozoa with zona pellucida binding deficiency suggests that BAG6 may be an important candidate to study for a further understanding of male idiopathic infertility.

DOI 10.1093/molehr/gav041
Citations Scopus - 10Web of Science - 5
Co-authors John Aitken, Brett Nixon
2015 Bromfield EG, Aitken RJ, Anderson AL, McLaughlin EA, Nixon B, 'The impact of oxidative stress on chaperone-mediated human sperm-egg interaction.', Hum Reprod, 30 2597-2613 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.1093/humrep/dev214
Citations Scopus - 16Web of Science - 13
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin, John Aitken, Brett Nixon
2014 Bromfield EG, Aitken RJ, Gibb Z, Lambourne SR, Nixon B, 'Capacitation in the presence of methyl-beta-cyclodextrin results in enhanced zona pellucida-binding ability of stallion spermatozoa', REPRODUCTION, 147 153-166 (2014) [C1]
DOI 10.1530/REP-13-0393
Citations Scopus - 16Web of Science - 15
Co-authors Zamira Gibb, Brett Nixon, John Aitken
2013 Bromfield EG, Nixon B, 'The function of chaperone proteins in the assemblage of protein complexes involved in gamete adhesion and fusion processes', Reproduction, 145 R31-R42 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.1530/REP-12-0316
Citations Scopus - 22Web of Science - 13
Co-authors Brett Nixon
2012 Dun MD, Anderson AL, Bromfield EG, Asquith KL, Emmett BJ, McLaughlin EA, et al., 'Investigation of the expression and functional significance of the novel mouse sperm protein, a disintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin type 1 motifs number 10 (ADAMTS10)', International Journal of Andrology, 35 572-589 (2012) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2011.01235.x
Citations Scopus - 14Web of Science - 12
Co-authors Brett Nixon, Eileen Mclaughlin, Matt Dun, John Aitken
Bromfield EG, Mihalas BP, Dun MD, Aitken RJ, McLaughlin EA, Walters JLH, Nixon B, 'Inhibition of arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase prevents 4-hydroxynonenal-induced protein damage in male germ cells.', Biol Reprod, 96 598-609
DOI 10.1093/biolre/iox005
Citations Scopus - 1
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin, Brett Nixon, Matt Dun, John Aitken
Show 8 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 - 13Web of Science - 7
Co-authors John Aitken, Brett Nixon, Eileen Mclaughlin, Matt Dun, Kate Redgrove
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 4
Total funding $464,702

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


20181 grants / $408,768

Targeted disruption of lipoxygenase enzymes to prevent oxidative stress-mediated pathologies in the male germline$408,768

Funding body: NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)

Funding body NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)
Project Team Doctor Elizabeth Bromfield
Scheme Early Career Fellowships
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2021
GNo G1700101
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON Y

20171 grants / $5,000

Fertilisation Induced Changes to Oocyte Protective Machinery: Investigating Chemotherapeutics $5,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Professor Brett Nixon, Laureate Professor John Aitken, Doctor Elizabeth Bromfield, Miss Jacinta Martin
Scheme Greaves Family Postgraduate Scholarship in Medical Research
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo G1700388
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

20162 grants / $50,934

BECKMAN COULTER OPTIMA MAX-TL BENCHTOP ULTRA CENTRIFUGE, TLA-110 FIXED-ANGLE ROTOR PACKAGE, TLS-55 SWINGING BUCKET ROTOR PACKAGE$40,934

Funding body: NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)

Funding body NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)
Project Team Professor Brett Nixon, Laureate Professor John Aitken, Professor Eileen McLaughlin, Associate Professor Mark Baker, Doctor Jessie Sutherland, Doctor Elizabeth Bromfield
Scheme Equipment Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1601314
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant$10,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Doctor Elizabeth Bromfield
Scheme Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1600770
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current3

Total current UON EFTSL

PhD1.05

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2017 PhD Epididymosomes and Environmental Epigenetic Inheritance PhD (Biological Sciences), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2017 PhD Regulation of Sperm Function and Oxidative Stress by Lipoxygenase Enzymes PhD (Biological Sciences), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2015 PhD Fertilisation Induced Changes to Oocyte Protective Machinery: Investigating Chemotherapeutics PhD (Biological Sciences), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
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News

UON researchers shine in 2017 NHMRC funding

October 11, 2017

University of Newcastle researchers have secured more than $6 million in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding, including almost $2.5 million for a world-first research centre to test the effectiveness and safety around medicinal applications of a range of cannabinoids.

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 Elizabeth Bromfield

Position

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

Contact Details

Email elizabeth.bromfield@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 492 16267
Link Research Networks

Office

Building Life Science Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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