Dr. Elizabeth Bromfield is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow and group leader within the PRC for Reproductive Science at The University of Newcastle (UON). Dr Bromfield completed her PhD under the supervision of Professor Brett Nixon and Laureate Professor John Aitken at UON where her research focused on understanding how sperm recognize the egg and how this process goes wrong in cases of infertility.
Dr. Bromfield’s postdoctoral work was funded by an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship and Project Grant which allowed her to spend time investigating the impact of oxidative stress on germ cell development at UON (2016-2018) before moving to Utrecht University, The Netherlands to further develop her career (2019-2021). In this international period of work Dr. Bromfield investigated new strategies to protect the membranes of sperm cells from oxidative damage using lipidomic and proteomic approaches. Dr. Bromfield collaborates widely nationally and internationally to investigate how the process of fertilization goes wrong in patients and to trial strategies fortify germ cells against oxidative stress – a leading cause of infertility.
Dr. Bromfield’s research group is grateful for support from the NHMRC, ARC, Science Foundation Flanders, Belgium (FWO), Kazia Therapeutics Ltd, HMRI, Bob and Terry Kennedy, Jennie Thomas, Antioxidants Journal and The Helmsley Charitable Trust, USA.
Research satisfies my personal quest for novelty, growth and change. The two things I love most about my job as a researcher is that (1) every day is different, and (2) I get to coach my research team in their development as the next generation of scientists. My interest in science was sparked by the thrill and mystery of conducting home science experiments as a child with my brother Sean who is also a scientist and teacher. Having fantastic mentors and role models in the field of reproductive science, including Brett Nixon, Shaun Roman and Eileen McLaughlin, paved the path for my research career.
Sperm cells are uniquely sensitive to their environment compared to most other cells. My research aims to provide critical molecular links between infertility and body-wide health by investigating universal signatures of cellular stress and damage. The ultimate goal of our work is to use sperm cells as sensitive barometers of oxidative stress to predict the likelihood for individuals to develop later life diseases. This will assist in the early detection and prevention of many disease states.
Upon returning to UON as an ARC DECRA Fellow in 2022, Dr. Bromfield leads a small but mighty team of PhD students working towards: