Our Research

If you are interested in discussing post-graduate research opportunities within the Gomeroi gaaynggal program please contact Dr Kym Rae

Kym.Rae@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au or Kym.Rae@newcastle.edu.au

Find out more about research degrees at UON

If you are a high achieving student with an analytical mind and an intrinsic desire for problem solving, a research higher degree (PhD or Masters) could be the foundation of your exciting career in research.

Current PhD and Research Masters projects

Experience of parenting a premature infant in a rural area: Luke Wakely PhD Candidate

Supervisors: Dr Kym Rae, Prof Diana Keatinge
This project aims to examine in depth the lived experience of parenting a premature infant in a rural area during the first 12 months of the child life. The project will analyse accounts from Indigenous and non-Indigenous parents including mothers, father and other significant carers of premature infants. It is known that rurally residing families are at higher risk of poorer obstetric outcome including premature birth. Further Indigenous families are at nearly twice the risk of having a premature infant as their non-Indigenous counterpart. Premature infants require the care of a multidisciplinary team of health worker to ensure that each child reaches their developmental potential. This project hope to better inform health providers of the experiences and needs of these families so services will be able to more effectively meet these needs.

Optimising dietary intake and nutrition-related health for Indigenous mothers and their children: Amy Ashman PhD candidate

Supervisors: Dr Kym Rae, Professor Clare Collins, Dr Megan Rollo, Dr Leanne Brown

Amy Ashman is a research dietitian who began her PhD candidature at the Gomeroi gaaynggal centre in August 2013 after working at the centre as a research assistant for several months. Her research aims to investigate the current dietary intakes, infant feeding practices, infant growth, and infant and maternal body composition in Aboriginal women and their children participating in the Gomeroi gaaynggal follow up study. This information will form a nutrition intervention program to optimise dietary habits in Indigenous mothers and their children. As a part of her candidature Ms Ashman is also a student researcher on the Diet Bytes & Baby Bumps study, validating the use of a smartphone photographic dietary record method in pregnant women.

Factors influencing renal development and function in Indigenous Australians; the roles of preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction and maternal renal health: Chris Diehm Master candidate

Supervisors: Dr Kym Rae, Emeritus Scientia Professor Lumbers, Dr Kirsty Pringle

This research works on the data obtained from the Gomeroi gaaynggal cohort and seeks to understand how fetal kidney size, function is influenced by maternal health. It will:

  1. Measure kidney volumes during gestation and the birth weights of Indigenous babies and obtain a profile of renal growth relative to body size in utero. Kidney volume is a recognized surrogate measure of glomerular number. As well I will measure kidney shape as babies that are small for gestation age have been shown to have abnormally shaped kidneys (ref).
  2. Measure the composition of urine (protein and albumin) from these babies and also measure plasma Cystatin C levels and creatinine levels in cord blood as an estimate of GFR at birth.
  3. Determine if kidney volumes and kidney shape show any correlations with renal function
  4. Relate kidney volumes, renal function and birth weight to maternal renal function, nutritional markers, immune factors and maternal stress

It is expected that through analysis of the current data that new insight will be gained into the factors that influence renal development. Recognition and understanding of the intrauterine factors that influence renal development has implications for preventative medicine, particularly within the context of the Indigenous Australia population