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Gabrielle Crombie

Gabrielle Crombie
Research Program:
Research Topics:

What are your research interests?

  • Understanding the impact of stress in early life on long term brain development
  • Uncovering biomarkers of stress to identify which babies have experienced stress events during pregnancy
  • Improving long term offspring behavioural outcomes following stressful pregnancies using postnatal steroid treatments

Why did you get into research?

The early developmental period, before and after birth, are so crucial for how the brain develops and programs the long term outcomes for health. I find this developmental period, and the processes that occur in this time extremely interesting and believe there is still so much to learn. I want my research to be involved in improving the long term health of babies that may have undergone compromises in early life.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

The ultimate goal for my research is increasing the understanding of how detrimental stress in early life can be and improving the long term outcomes of children that have unfortunately been exposed to adverse events during their early development. The number of children that develop behavioural and mood disorders annually is increasing and has a large impact on sufferers and society. If we can better understand the processes behind the onset of these disorders, we may one day be able to prevent them.


Gabrielle Crombie is currently undertaking a PhD in Experimental Pharmacology, working in the Pregnancy Compromise and Neuroprotection group within the Mothers and Babies Research Centre. Her research examines stress in pregnancy and early life, and how it can have long-term programming effects on the brains of children.

Gabrielle completed her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences (Honours 1st Class) at the University of Newcastle in 2017 and began a PhD project with supervisors Jon Hirst and Hannah Palliser. During her PhD, she will be focusing on understanding stress-induced mechanisms behind childhood behavioural disorders and investigating neurosteroid replacement therapy to prevent these long term adverse outcomes.

Future Focus

The long term goals of my research are to understand how stress negatively effects developmental processes in the brain, how this disruption results in childhood behavioural disorders and understand the mechanisms of potential therapies to reverse these outcomes. The overall goal of my work is to improve the long-term outcomes of babies and children exposed to stress in early life.

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Preclinical models of pregnancy compromises
  • RT-PCR
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Enzyme Immunoassays