Dr Marina Ilicic

Dr Marina Ilicic

Research Fellow

School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy

Career Summary

Biography

Dr. Marina Ilicic is a Research Fellow within the Stroke Recovery Research Group, co-directed by Professor Michael Nilsson and Associate Professor Rohan Walker.

Dr. Ilicic completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours) and a Doctorate (PhD) in Medicine at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her doctorate studies determined that pregnant human uterine smooth muscle undergoes culture-induced changes in the expression of key parturition-associated genes, and that these changes are consistent with non-labouring tissue transitioning to a pro-contractile, labour-like phenotype in vitro. Dr Ilicic’s PhD research also examined culture conditions that could be implemented to preserve the non-labouring phenotype, thereby providing researchers with a more appropriate in vitro model with which to conduct studies into myometrial biology.

Dr. Ilicic’s current research interests are in neuroscience, where she continues to apply her strong background in molecular biology and preclinical models to advancing brain recovery following stroke.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Biological Science, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Hons), University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • Cell biology
  • Medical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Myometrium
  • Neuroscience
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive medicine

Languages

  • English (Fluent)
  • Croatian (Mother)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
110999 Neurosciences not elsewhere classified 80
110199 Medical Biochemistry and Metabolomics not elsewhere classified 20

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Research Fellow University of Newcastle
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
7/08/2017 - 21/01/2018 Casual Research Coordinator The University of Newcastle
Australia

Prestigious works / other achievements

Year Commenced Year Finished Prestigious work / other achievement Role
2013 2013 HMRI Thru The Lens: Cloning at HMRI Hunter Medical Research Institute HMRI Thru The Lens Performer

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
HUBS 2407 Experimental Design and Laboratory Skills in Medical Research
The University of Newcastle
Lecturer 1/03/2018 - 5/07/2019
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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
2018 Ilicic M, Paul JW, 'Methods and model systems used to study pregnant human uterine smooth muscle', Muscle Cell and Tissue, InTechOpen, London, UK 309-335 (2018) [B1]
DOI 10.5772/intechopen.75201
Co-authors Jonathan Paul

Journal article (9 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Hinwood M, Kluge MG, Ilicic M, Walker FR, 'Understanding microglial involvement in stress-induced mood disturbance: a modulator of vulnerability?', Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 28 98-104 (2019) [C1]

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Evidence demonstrating that microglial mediated neuroimmune disturbances play a central role in the aetiology of mood pathology have transformed the landscape ... [more]

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Evidence demonstrating that microglial mediated neuroimmune disturbances play a central role in the aetiology of mood pathology have transformed the landscape within psychiatric neuroscience. This article will place in context these recent developments and will place a particular focus on considering how microglia may contribute to shaping the operating environment of the CNS to foster susceptibility and resilience to psychopathology. Specifically, we will consider contributions from microglial priming, microglial modulation of synaptic plasticity, glial modulation of glutamatergic tone, and finally the role of neuroinflammatory disturbances in cerebrovascular integrity. Although much has been revealed about neuroimmune contributions to mood state and psychological health, our understanding of core mechanisms is still very much in a state of flux and it is likely that new insights will continue to shape our understanding well into the future.

DOI 10.1016/j.cobeha.2019.01.001
Co-authors Rohan Walker, Madeleine Hinwood
2019 Ilicic M, Zakar T, Paul JW, 'Epigenetic regulation of progesterone receptors and the onset of labour', Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 31 1035-1048 (2019) [C1]

© 2019 CSIRO. Progesterone plays a crucial role in maintaining pregnancy by promoting myometrial quiescence. The withdrawal of progesterone action signals the end of pregnancy and... [more]

© 2019 CSIRO. Progesterone plays a crucial role in maintaining pregnancy by promoting myometrial quiescence. The withdrawal of progesterone action signals the end of pregnancy and, in most mammalian species, this is achieved by a rapid fall in progesterone concentrations. However, in humans circulating progesterone concentrations remain high up to and during labour. Efforts to understand this phenomenon led to the 'functional progesterone withdrawal' hypothesis, whereby the pro-gestation actions of progesterone are withdrawn, despite circulating concentrations remaining elevated. The exact mechanism of functional progesterone withdrawal is still unclear and in recent years has been the focus of intense research. Emerging evidence now indicates that epigenetic regulation of progesterone receptor isoform expression may be the crucial mechanism by which functional progesterone withdrawal is achieved, effectively precipitating human labour despite high concentrations of circulating progesterone. This review examines current evidence that epigenetic mechanisms play a role in determining whether the pro-gestation or pro-contractile isoform of the progesterone receptor is expressed in the pregnant human uterus. We explore the mechanism by which these epigenetic modifications are achieved and, importantly, how these underlying epigenetic mechanisms are influenced by known regulators of uterine physiology, such as prostaglandins and oestrogens, in order to phenotypically transform the pregnant uterus and initiate labour.

DOI 10.1071/RD18392
Co-authors Jonathan Paul
2019 Ilicic M, Zakar T, Paul J, 'The Regulation of Uterine Function During Parturition: An Update and Recent Advances', Reproductive Sciences, (2019)
Co-authors Jonathan Paul
2018 Zhao Z, Ong LK, Pietrogrande G, Bezanilla SS, Warren K, Ilicic M, et al., 'Low oxygen post conditioning improves stroke-induced cognitive impairment (2018)
DOI 10.1101/483453
Co-authors Linkooi Ong
2017 Ilicic M, Butler T, Zakar T, Paul JW, 'The expression of genes involved in myometrial contractility changes during ex situ culture of pregnant human uterine smooth muscle tissue', Journal of Smooth Muscle Research, 53 73-89 (2017) [C1]

© 2017 The Japan Society of Smooth Muscle Research. Background: Ex situ a nalyses of human myometrial t issue h as b een u sed t o i nvestigate t he r egulation of uterine quiesce... [more]

© 2017 The Japan Society of Smooth Muscle Research. Background: Ex situ a nalyses of human myometrial t issue h as b een u sed t o i nvestigate t he r egulation of uterine quiescence and transition to a contractile phenotype. Following concerns about the validity of cultured primary cells, we examined whether myometrial tissue undergoes culture-induced changes ex situ that may affect the validity of in vitro models. Objectives: To determine whether human myometrial tissue undergoes culture-induced changes ex situ in Estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1), Prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2) and Oxytocin receptor (OXTR) expression. Additionally, to determine whether culture conditions approaching the in vivo environment influence the expression of these key genes. Methods: Term non-laboring human myometrial tissues were cultured in the presence of specific treatments, including; serum supplementation, progesterone and estrogen, cAMP, PMA, stretch or NF-¿B inhibitors. ESR1, PTGS2 and OXTR mRNA abundance after 48 h culture was determined using quantitative RT-PCR. Results: Myometrial tissue in culture exhibited culture-induced up-regulation of ESR1 and PTGS2 and down-regulation of OXTR mRNA expression. Progesterone prevented culture-induced increase in ESR1 expression. Estrogen further up-regulated PTGS2 expression. Stretch had no direct effect, but blocked the effects of progesterone and estrogen on ESR1 and PTGS2 expression. cAMP had no effect whereas PMA further up-regulated PTGS2 expression and prevented decline of OXTR expression. Conclusion: Human myometrial tissue in culture undergoes culture-induced gene expression changes consistent with transition toward a laboring phenotype. Changes in ESR1, PTGS2 and OXTR expression could not be controlled simultaneously. Until optimal culture conditions are determined, results of in vitro experiments with myometrial tissues should be interpreted with caution.

DOI 10.1540/jsmr.53.73
Citations Scopus - 4
Co-authors Jonathan Paul
2017 Ilicic M, Zakar T, Paul JW, 'Modulation of Progesterone Receptor Isoform Expression in Pregnant Human Myometrium', BIOMED RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL, (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1155/2017/4589214
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Jonathan Paul
2017 Paul JW, Hua S, Ilicic M, Tolosa JM, Butler T, Robertson S, Smith R, 'Drug delivery to the human and mouse uterus using immunoliposomes targeted to the oxytocin receptor', AMERICAN JOURNAL OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY, 216 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.08.027
Citations Scopus - 15Web of Science - 13
Co-authors Roger Smith, Jonathan Paul, Susan Hua
2017 Paul JW, ilicic M, zakar T, smith R, 'Expression of KCNH2 (hERG1) and KCNE2 Correlates With Expression of Key Myometrial Genes in Term Pregnant Human Myometrium', Journal of Human Endocrinology, 2 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.24966/HHE-9640/10008
Co-authors Roger Smith, Jonathan Paul
2014 Chai SY, Smith R, Fitter JT, Mitchell C, Pan X, Ilicic M, et al., 'Increased progesterone receptor a expression in labouring human myometrium is associated with decreased promoter occupancy by the histone demethylase JARID1A', Molecular Human Reproduction, 20 442-453 (2014) [C1]

Progesterone regulates female reproductive function predominantly through two nuclear progesterone receptors (PRs), PR-A and PR-B. During human parturition myometrial PR expressio... [more]

Progesterone regulates female reproductive function predominantly through two nuclear progesterone receptors (PRs), PR-A and PR-B. During human parturition myometrial PR expression is altered to favour PR-A, which activates pro-labour genes. We have previously identified histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) as an activator of myometrial PR-A expression at labour. To further elucidate the mechanisms regulating PR isoform expression in the human uterus at labour, we have (i) determined the methylation profile of the cytosine-guanine dinucleotides (CpG) island in the promoter region of the PR gene and (ii) identified the histone-modifying enzymes that target the H3K4me3 mark at the PR promoters in term and preterm human myometrial tissues obtained before and after labour onset. Bisulphite sequencing showed that despite overall low levels of PR CpG island methylation, there was a significant decrease in methylated CpGs with labour in both preterm (P < 0.05) and term (P < 0.01) groups downstream of the PR-B transcription start site. This methylation change was not associated with altered PR-B expression, but may contribute to the increase in PR-A expression with labour. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that the histone methyltransferase, SET and MYND domain-containing protein 3 (SMYD3), bound to the PR gene at significantly higher levels at the PR-A promoter compared with the PR-B promoter (P < 0.010), with no labour-associated changes observed. The H3K4 demethylase, Jumonji AT-rich interactive domain 1A (JARID1A), also bound to the PR-A, but not to the PR-B promoter prior to term labour, and decreased significantly at the onset of labour (P = 0.014), providing a mechanism for the previously reported increase in H3K4me3 level and PR-A expression with labour. Our studies suggest that epigenetic changes mediated by JARID1A, SMYD3 and DNA methylation may be responsible, at least in part, for the functional progesterone withdrawal that precipitates human labour. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1093/molehr/gau005
Citations Scopus - 15Web of Science - 15
Co-authors John Fitter, Roger Smith, Kaushik Maiti
Show 6 more journal articles

Conference (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Paul J, Hua S, Ilicic M, Tolosa Gonzalez JM, Butler T, Robertson S, Smith R, 'Preventing Preterm Birth: New Approaches to Labour Therapeutics using Nanoparticles', Las Vegas, NV, USA (2019)
Co-authors Roger Smith, Jonathan Paul, Susan Hua
2018 Paul JW, Hua S, Ilicic M, Tolosa J, Butler T, Robertson S, Smith R, 'Targeted nanoparticles for next-generation therapeutic intervention during pregnancy', HMRI, Newcastle (2018)
Co-authors Susan Hua, Jonathan Paul, Roger Smith
2018 Paul J, Hua S, Ilicic M, Tolosa Gonzalez JM, Butler T, Robertson S, Smith R, 'A Spoonful of Nanoparticles Helps the Myometrium Calm Down', Park Hyatt, Melbourne, VIC, Australia (2018)
Co-authors Roger Smith, Susan Hua, Jonathan Paul
2017 Paul JW, Hua S, Ilicic M, Tolosa J, Butler T, Robertson S, Smith R, 'Applying nanopharmacology to reproductive medicine: A novel targeted drug delivery system for the uterus', Perth, Western Australia (2017)
Co-authors Jonathan Paul, Roger Smith, Susan Hua
Show 1 more conference

Report (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Paul JW, Hua S, Ilicic M, Tolosa JM, Butler T, Robertson S, Smith R, 'Applying nanopharmacology to obstetrics: A novel targeted drug delivery system for the uterus', Atlas of Science, 1 (2017)
Co-authors Roger Smith, Jonathan Paul, Susan Hua
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 9
Total funding $156,155

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


20198 grants / $151,513

The Applied Biosystems QuantStudio 6 Flex Real-Time PCR System$53,672

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

Funding body NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)
Project Team Associate Professor Kirsty Pringle, Associate Professor Simon Keely, Doctor Hannah Palliser, Doctor Jonathan Paul, Doctor Marina Ilicic, Doctor Lucy Murtha
Scheme Equipment Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1900306
Type Of Funding Scheme excluded from IGS
Category EXCL
UON Y

FHEAM Equipment Grant$24,630

Funding body: Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Project Team

Rebecca Hood, Dr. Marina Ilicic, Prof. Rohan Walker, Dr. Lucy Murtha

Scheme FHEAM Equipment Grant Round
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

2018 Ignite Equipment Grant$20,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI)

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI)
Project Team

Dr Gerard Kaiko, Dr Trent Butler, Dr Marina Ilicic

Scheme Early and Mid-Career Equipment Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding C3120 - Aust Philanthropy
Category 3120
UON N

FHEAM Equipment Grant$16,951

Funding body: Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Project Team

Dr. Lucy Murtha, Dr. Michael Schuliga, Dr. Marina Ilicic

Scheme FHEAM Equipment Grant Round
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

FHEAM Equipment Grant$15,675

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team

Dr Jonathan Paul, Dr Trent Butler, Dr Marina Ilicic

Scheme Equipment grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

FHEAM Equipment Grant$13,957

Funding body: Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Project Team

Dr. Jacinta Martin, Dr. Sarah Delforce, Assoc. Prof. Kirsty Pringle, Ms Saije Morosin, Ms Sonia Tamanna, Ms Alyssa Lochrin, Ms Celine Lees, Dr. Jason Phung, Dr. Trent Butler, Dr. Jonathan Paul, Dr. Bridie Goggins, Dr. Rebecca Hood and Dr. Marina Ilicic

Scheme University of Newcastle
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

FHEAM Equipment Grant$3,608

Funding body: Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle
Project Team

Dr. Jacinta Martin, Dr. Sarah Delforce, Assoc. Prof. Kirsty Pringle, Ms Alyssa Lochrin, Ms Celine Lees, Dr. Bridie Goggins, Dr. Rebecca Hood and Dr. Marina Ilicic

Scheme Equipment grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

SBSP Equipment Grant$3,020

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team

Dr. Marina Ilicic, Prof. Rohan Walker, Prof. Michael Nilsson, Dr. Prajwal Gyawali, Dr. Murielle Kluge, Dr. Kirsten Coupland, Ms. Rebecca Hood

Scheme Equipment grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20181 grants / $4,642

SBSP Equipment Grant$4,642

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team

Dr. Marina Ilicic, Dr. Lin Kooi Ong, Assoc. Prof. Rohan Walker, Prof. Michael Nilsson, Dr. Kirsten Coupland, Dr. Prajwal Gyawali, Dr. Murielle Kluge

Scheme Equipment grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N
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Dr Marina Ilicic

Position

Research Fellow
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Contact Details

Email marina.ilicic@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4042 0875

Office

Room Level 3, East
Building HMRI, John Hunter Hospital Campus
Location Callaghan University Drive Callaghan, NSW 2308 Australia
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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