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

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

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

Year Commenced Year Finished Prestigious Work Role
2013 2013 HMRI Thru The Lens: Cloning at HMRI Hunter Medical Research Institute HMRI Thru The Lens Performer
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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For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.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. Accepted for publication, Rijeka, Croatia (2018)
Co-authors Jonathan Paul

Journal article (5 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
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 - 1
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
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 - 5Web of Science - 3
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 - 10Web of Science - 11
Co-authors John Fitter, Roger Smith
Show 2 more journal articles

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 Jonathan Paul, Susan Hua, Roger Smith
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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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