The University of Newcastle, Australia

The Role of the Placenta in the Pathophysiology of Preeclampsia

Closing Date: 31 January 2020

PhD Scholarship

Applications are invited from graduates from a range of disciplines to undertake a PhD that focusses on the discovery of novel factors secreted by the placenta that cause preeclampsia.

Baby Doctor

Preeclampsia, a clinical syndrome defined by the onset of high blood pressure and proteinuria during pregnancy, affects 3-5% of all pregnancies. t has the potential to result in the death of either mother or baby or both and has long-term consequences for the mother and the baby’s health. Preeclampsia causes 60,000 maternal deaths each year. The placenta is less able to supply the baby with nutrients and oxygen and in turn the placenta releases factors that cause high blood pressure, kidney and liver damage and seizures in the mother. The pathophysiology of preeclampsia involves inadequate placentation and consequent maternal endothelial dysfunction. Placental function is compromised because it has not implanted properly within the uterine wall and/or blood flow to the placenta is impaired. Fluctuations in oxygen delivery cause oxidative stress which provokes the release of a number of anti-angiogenic factors from the placenta into the maternal circulation. It may also cause the release of other unknown factors, that contribute to the widespread maternal vascular dysfunction and multi-system maternal organ injury. Most of these secreted placental factors have yet to be identified, so we are still a long way from uncovering the underlying causes of this disease. A PhD opportunity is available to discover novel drivers of preeclampsia that are released in the placental secretome and explore their role in altering maternal cardiovascular function. Candidates will work closely with Associate Professor Kirsty Pringle, who is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council to undertake this research. This project is laboratory-based and it is expected to be undertaken onsite in Newcastle, full-time.

PhD Scholarship details

Funding: $28,092 per annum (2020 rate) indexed annually. For a PhD candidate, the living allowance scholarship is for 3.5 years and the tuition fee scholarship is for four years.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Kirsty Pringle

Available to: Domestic students

Eligibility Criteria

In addition to the minimum eligibility criteria, we encourage students with a background in either science, biomedical sciences, biology or biochemistry to apply. The successful candidate must commence before 31 August 2020.

Application Procedure

Interested applicants should send an email expressing their interest to by 5pm on 31 January 2020. The application must include:

  • A 500-word document on why you are motivated to apply for this PhD scholarship, why the topic is of interest, and previous experience or other interest in reproductive biology.
  • Full CV including previous degrees, grades, research experience, employment, papers published, conference presentations, and any grants obtained.
  • A copy of your academic transcript

Please send the email expressing interest to by 5pm on 31 January 2020.

Applications Close 31 January 2020

Contact Associate Professor Kirsty Pringle
Phone (02) 4042 0372

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