Dr Joshua Fisher

Postdoctoral Fellow

School of Medicine and Public Health

Career Summary


Dr Joshua Fisher is a postdoctoral researcher in the Mothers and Babies Research Centre in the Hunter Medical Research Institute and is part of the Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science.

Josh has a dedicated focus on improving reproductive outcomes in women’s health and understanding the contribution of mitochondria in the development of serious pregnancy complications. His research aims to identify the mitochondrial mechanisms associated with placental dysfunction and the progression of pregnancy complications gestational diabetes mellitus, preeclampsia, fetal growth restriction, and stillbirth.

He was awarded his PhD in 2020 and has presented his findings nationally and internationally as a member of the Australian New Zealand Placental Association (ANZPRA), International Federation of Placental Association (IFPA), Society of Reproductive Biology (SRB), Queensland Perinatal Consortium (QPaCT) and Australian Physiology Society (AUPS).  He has received multiple awards for his work including, twice receiving the Y.W (Charlie) Loki Award (2018 & 2019), twice recipient of an SRB travel Awards to present his work (2018 & 2019), and an Elsevier New Investigator award (2021). He has been a finalist in the ANZPRA new investigator award for SRB (2018), and a finalist for the Elsevier Trophoblast Research New Investigator Award (2018).

Dr Fisher is committed to the development of early-career researchers (ECR's) within the field of reproductive biology which has led him to both nominate and be elected the ECR representative for the Australian New Zealand Placental Research Associate (ANZPRA) and International Federation of Placental Associations (IFPA).  


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Griffith University
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Griffith University
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours), Griffith University


  • Metabolism
  • Mitochondria
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
321503 Reproduction 80
310103 Cell metabolism 20

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Postdoctoral Fellow University of Newcastle
School of Medicine and Public Health


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Journal article (13 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2021 Bartho LA, O'Callaghan JL, Fisher JJ, Cuffe JSM, Kaitu'u-Lino TJ, Hannan NJ, et al., 'Analysis of mitochondrial regulatory transcripts in publicly available datasets with validation in placentae from pre-term, post-term and fetal growth restriction pregnancies', Placenta, 112 162-171 (2021)

Introduction: The human placenta has a defined lifespan and placental aging is a key feature as pregnancy progresses. Placental aging and mitochondrial dysfunction are known to pl... [more]

Introduction: The human placenta has a defined lifespan and placental aging is a key feature as pregnancy progresses. Placental aging and mitochondrial dysfunction are known to play a key role in pregnancy pathophysiology. Premature aging of the placenta has also been linked with placental dysfunction resulting in poor fetal development and premature birth. Methods: The expression of key mitochondrial-related genes were analysed in a series of publicly available databases then expression changes were validated in placental samples collected from term, pre-term, post-term pregnancies and pregnancies complicated by fetal growth restriction (FGR). Gene and protein expression levels of MFN1, MFN2, TFAM, TOMM20, OPA3 and SIRT4 were measured in placental tissues via qPCR and western blotting. Results: Initial analysis found that key mitochondrial transcripts related to biogenesis, bioenergetics and mitophagy clustered by pregnancy trimester. A refined list of 13 mitochondrial-related genes were investigated in additional external datasets of pregnancy complications. In the new cohort, protein expression of MFN1 was decreased in FGR and MFN2 is decreased in post-term placenta. Analysis of placental tissues revealed that TOMM20 gene and protein expression was altered in FGR and post-term placenta. Discussion: MFN1 and MFN2 play a major role in mitochondrial dynamics, and alterations in these markers have been highlighted in early unexplained miscarriage. TOMM20 is an importer protein that plays a major role in mitophagy and changes have also been identified in age-related diseases. Significant changes in MFN1, MFN2 and TOMM20 indicate that mitochondrial regulators play a critical role in placental aging and placental pathophysiology.

DOI 10.1016/j.placenta.2021.07.303
2021 Quinn KM, Cox AJ, Roberts L, Pennell EN, McKeating DR, Fisher JJ, et al., 'Temporal changes in blood oxidative stress biomarkers across the menstrual cycle and with oral contraceptive use in active women', European Journal of Applied Physiology, 121 2607-2620 (2021)

Purpose: To examine the temporal changes in blood oxidative stress biomarkers in recreationally-trained women that were naturally-cycling (WomenNC) or using oral contraceptives (W... [more]

Purpose: To examine the temporal changes in blood oxidative stress biomarkers in recreationally-trained women that were naturally-cycling (WomenNC) or using oral contraceptives (WomenOC) across one month. Methods: Blood samples were acquired at three timepoints of the menstrual cycle (1: early-follicular, 2: late-follicular and 3: mid-luteal) and oral contraceptive packet (1: InactiveOC, 2: Mid-activeOC and 3: Late-activeOC) for determination of estradiol, progesterone, oxidative stress, C-reactive protein (CRP) and other cardiometabolic biomarkers in plasma and serum. Results: There was a Group by Time effect on estradiol (p < 0.001, partial ¿2 = 0.64) and progesterone (p < 0.001, partial ¿2 = 0.77). Malondialdehyde, lipid hydroperoxides and CRP concentrations were higher in WomenOC during Late-activeOC compared to InactiveOC (+ 96%, + 23% and + 104%, respectively, p < 0.05). However, there were no changes in these biomarkers across the menstrual cycle in WomenNC (p > 0.05). At all timepoints (i.e., 1, 2 and 3), WomenOC had elevated lipid hydroperoxides (+ 28, + 48% and + 50%) and CRP (+ 71%, + 117% and + 130%) compared to WomenNC (p < 0.05, partial ¿2 > 0.25). There was no Group by Time effect on non-enzymatic antioxidants or glutathione peroxidase; however, glutathione peroxidase was lower in WomenOC, i.e., main effect of group (p < 0.05, partial ¿2 > 0.20). Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that WomenOC not only have higher oxidative stress and CRP than WomenNC, but also a transient increase across one month of habitual oral contraceptive use. Since changes in oxidative stress and CRP often relate to training stress and recovery, these outcomes may have implications to workload monitoring practices in female athletes.

DOI 10.1007/s00421-021-04734-0
Citations Scopus - 1
2021 McKeating DR, Fisher JJ, MacDonald T, Walker S, Tong S, Bennett WW, et al., 'Circulating trace elements for the prediction of preeclampsia and small for gestational age babies', Metabolomics, 17 (2021)

Introduction: Poor gestational outcomes due to placental insufficiency can have lifelong consequences for mother and child. Objective: There is a need for better methods of diagno... [more]

Introduction: Poor gestational outcomes due to placental insufficiency can have lifelong consequences for mother and child. Objective: There is a need for better methods of diagnosis, and elemental metabolomics may provide a means to determine the risk of gestational disorders. Methods: This study used blood plasma samples collected at 36¿weeks¿ gestation from women who later developed preeclampsia (n = 38), or small-for-gestational age babies (n = 91), along with matched controls (n = 193). Multi-element analysis was conducted by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS), allowing simultaneous measurement of 28 elements. Results: Women who later developed PE, exhibited significantly increased concentrations of K, Rb and Ba. For SGA pregnancies, there was a significant increase in Cu and a decrease in As concentrations. Despite significant differences in single elements, the elemental profile of groups indicated no clustering of control, PE, or SGA samples. Positive predicative values correctly identified approximately 60% of SGA and 70% of PE samples. Conclusion: This is the first-time elemental metabolomics has been used to predict SGA and PE at 36¿weeks. Though significant changes were identified, routine clinical use may be limited but may contribute to a multi marker test. Future analysis should include other biomarkers, metabolic data or clinical measurements made throughout gestation.

DOI 10.1007/s11306-021-01840-0
2020 McKeating DR, Clifton VL, Hurst CP, Fisher JJ, Bennett WW, Perkins A, 'Elemental Metabolomics for Prediction of Term Gestational Outcomes Utilising 18-Week Maternal Plasma and Urine Samples', BIOLOGICAL TRACE ELEMENT RESEARCH, 199 26-40 (2020)
DOI 10.1007/s12011-020-02127-6
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 1
2020 Bartho LA, Fisher JJ, Cuffe JSM, Perkins A, 'Mitochondrial transformations in the aging human placenta', AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-ENDOCRINOLOGY AND METABOLISM, 319 E981-E994 (2020)
DOI 10.1152/ajpendo.00354.2020
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
2020 McKeating DR, Fisher JJ, Zhang P, Bennett WW, Perkins AV, 'Elemental metabolomics in human cord blood: Method validation and trace element quantification', JOURNAL OF TRACE ELEMENTS IN MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY, 59 (2020)
DOI 10.1016/j.jtemb.2019.126419
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5
2020 Fisher JJ, Vanderpeet CL, Bartho LA, McKeating DR, Cuffe JSM, Holland OJ, Perkins AV, 'Mitochondrial dysfunction in placental trophoblast cells experiencing gestational diabetes mellitus', JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LONDON, 599 1291-1305 (2020)
DOI 10.1113/JP280593
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3
2020 Fisher JJ, Bartho LA, Perkins AV, Holland OJ, 'Placental mitochondria and reactive oxygen species in the physiology and pathophysiology of pregnancy', CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL PHARMACOLOGY AND PHYSIOLOGY, 47 176-184 (2020)
DOI 10.1111/1440-1681.13172
Citations Scopus - 20Web of Science - 19
2019 Hofstee P, Bartho LA, McKeating DR, Radenkovic F, McEnroe G, Fisher JJ, et al., 'Maternal selenium deficiency during pregnancy in mice increases thyroid hormone concentrations, alters placental function and reduces fetal growth', JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LONDON, 597 5597-5617 (2019)
DOI 10.1113/JP278473
Citations Scopus - 22Web of Science - 22
2019 Fisher J, McKeating DR, Pennell EN, Cuffe JS, Holland OJ, Perkins AV, 'Mitochondrial isolation, cryopreservation and preliminary biochemical characterisation from placental cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast', PLACENTA, 82 1-4 (2019)
DOI 10.1016/j.placenta.2019.05.004
Citations Scopus - 12Web of Science - 14
2019 Fisher JJ, McKeating DR, Cuffe JS, Bianco-Miotto T, Holland OJ, Perkins A, 'Proteomic Analysis of Placental Mitochondria Following Trophoblast Differentiation', FRONTIERS IN PHYSIOLOGY, 10 (2019)
DOI 10.3389/fphys.2019.01536
Citations Scopus - 11Web of Science - 12
2019 McKeating DR, Fisher JJ, Perkins AV, 'Elemental Metabolomics and Pregnancy Outcomes', NUTRIENTS, 11 (2019)
DOI 10.3390/nu11010073
Citations Scopus - 19Web of Science - 16
2017 Holland O, Nitert MD, Gallo LA, Vejzovic M, Fisher JJ, Perkins AV, 'Review: Placental mitochondrial function and structure in gestational disorders', PLACENTA, 54 2-9 (2017)
DOI 10.1016/j.placenta.2016.12.012
Citations Scopus - 90Web of Science - 83
Show 10 more journal articles

Dr Joshua Fisher


Postdoctoral Fellow
School of Medicine and Public Health
College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing

Contact Details

Email joshua.fisher@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 40420763


Room HMRI 3401
Building HMRI