Professor Brett Nixon

Professor Brett Nixon
Research Program:
Research Topics:
Equipment Grant
2017 Equipment Grant
Project Grant
2017 Project Grant
Scholarship
2016 Scholarship
Travel Grant
2016 Travel Grant
Project Grant
2013 Project Grant
Fellowship
2013 Fellowship
Project Grant
2010 Project Grant
Project Grant
2008 Project Grant
Project Grant
2003 Project Grant

What are your research interests?

  • Reproduction
  • Infertility
  • In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
  • Gamete biology

Why did you get into research?

My interest in reproductive research was initially sparked during my time growing up on a local farm, where I came to appreciate the importance of artificial breeding technologies both in the context of livestock improvement and for the conservation of our country’s unique fauna. More recently, my firsthand experience with the emotional toll that an infertility diagnosis can cause has inspired my commitment to trying resolve the mechanistic basis of infertility and harnessing this knowledge for the development of improved therapeutic options.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

My research focuses on refining our knowledge of the reproductive process with the ultimate goal of resolving the root causes of infertility; a condition that now afflicts approximately 1 in every 6 couples in Australia. It is my hope that our research will enhance our ability to diagnose infertility and allow us to develop effective therapeutic strategies to alleviate the burden of infertility.  

Biography

Professor Brett Nixon is a member of the HMRI Pregnancy and Reproduction Program. He has recently been appointed to the position of Senior Research Fellow of National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and co-Director of the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science. 

Brett’s research career commenced with a collaborative PhD project between the Vertebrate Biocontrol Cooperative Research Centre and the University of Newcastle, focused on identifying gamete proteins that could be targeted for the development of contraceptives for feral pest species (i.e. rabbits, foxes, and mice).  Brett then undertook post-doctoral research at Emory University, USA where his work centred on characterising the mechanisms by which a sperm cell is able to recognise and bind to an egg; the cellular interaction that is responsible for initiating fertilisation, and one that often becomes defective in cases of human infertility. 

In 2001, Brett was recruited to the University of Newcastle, where he has established an active research program focusing on the use of humans and models to characterise the reproductive process and how this becomes so dramatically compromised in cases of infertility. His current projects are of strategic importance for understanding the causes of human infertility, the design of new methods for fertility regulation, and determining how the quality of the male and female gametes influence the health and wellbeing of the offspring.

Brett has communicated his research findings through the publication of more than 120 scientific articles and delivery of many invited national/international presentations including the Presidents Lecture in 2019 (one of the most coveted awards from the Society of Reproductive Biology). In recognition of his contributions to the field, Brett was elected Fellow of the Society of Reproductive Biology (2015). Brett has also received numerous institutional/national accolades that attest to his commitment to the training of the next generation of researchers. 

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Reproduction
  • Infertility
  • In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
  • Gamete biology
  • Proteomics
  • Epigenetics

Affiliations

2017

Preventing oxidative stress-mediated infertility through the targeted disruption of lipoxygenase enzymes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Elizabeth Bromfield, Prof Brett Nixon

Description:

Infertility has become a critical worldwide health burden, with 1 in 6 couples currently seeking the help of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in Australia. However, the consequences of infertility go beyond childlessness with the failure to conceive now documented as a leading cause of marital violence, psychological abuse, and economic instability. With an estimated 80 million individuals experiencing the weight of this problem globally there is an overwhelming need for novel preventative strategies that will safeguard the fertility of current and future generations.

more
MRSP Equipment Grant
Equipment Grant
Researchers:
Description:

ChemiDoc MP System - this equipment will help directly facilitate the advanced research needs of >20 different groups of HMRI: Cancer (Dun, Hondermarck,  Verrills, Skelding, Tanwar, Weidenhofer, Scarlet, Bowden, Thorne etc), Brain and Mental Health  (Cairns, Dickson, Dayas, Jobling, Smith, Brichta, Lim etc) Pregnancy and Reproduction (Nixon,  Aitken, De Iuliis, Roman, Bromfield, Pringle) Information Based Medicine (Scott, Milward, Kiejda), VIVA (Hansbro, Starkey) and therefore an estimated >80 HDR students, ECRs and research assistants. 

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2016

Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Male infertility is a distressingly common condition affecting at least 1 in 20 men of reproductive age. In a vast majority of infertile patients (>80%), sufficient numbers of spermatozoa are produced to achieve fertilisation, however the functionality of these cells has become compromised, making defective sperm function the largest single defined cause of human infertility.

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Effect of age and oxidative stress on female fertility
Scholarship
Researchers:

Bettina Mihalas, Professor Brett Nixon, Professor Eileen McLaughlin

Description:

1 in 6 couples in Australia require assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to conceive, with approximately 50% of these cases resulting from female infertility. This places a large emotional strain on couples trying to conceive and a large financial burden on the Australian heath care system.

more

2013

The Role of the GTPase Dynamin in the Female Germline (Pregnancy & Reproduction Program Bridge Funding)
Fellowship
Researchers:

Dr Kate Redgrove, Dr Janet Holt, Professor Eileen, McLaughlin, Associate Professor Brett Nixon 

Description:

Dr Redgrove’s successful PhD project focused on developing an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underpin the functional maturation of human spermatozoa.

more
Dynamin role in sperm oocyte interaction
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Eileen McLaughlin, Brett Nixon, Adam McCluskey

2010

SLX4 - a key regulator of male germ cell development and DNA repair - Foundation Chair Project Grant
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Eileen McLaughlin, Brett Nixon

2008

Understanding the aetiology of human male infertility: Elucidation of the mechanisms underpinning sperm-egg interaction
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Brett Nixon, Dr Eileen McLaughlin

2003

Young Investigator of the Year
Project Grant
Researchers: