Laureate Professor Roger Smith AM

Laureate Professor Roger Smith AM - HMRI Pregnancy and Reproduction Program Leader
Research Program:
Research Topics:
Equipment Grant
2017 Equipment Grant
Fellowship
2017 Fellowship
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2017 Fellowship
Project Grant
2016 Project Grant
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2016 Project Grant
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2015 Project Grant
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2014 Project Grant
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2013 Project Grant
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2012 Project Grant
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2011 Project Grant
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2010 Project Grant
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2007 Project Grant
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2005 Project Grant
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2004 Project Grant
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2003 Project Grant
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2003 Project Grant
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2003 Project Grant
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2002 Project Grant
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2001 Project Grant
HMRI Award for Research Excellence
2000 HMRI Award for Research Excellence
Project Grant
1998 Project Grant

What are your research interests?

I research the health and wellbeing of babies and their mothers. For years I have researched the mechanisms behind preterm birth and what causes a woman to go into labour early. The time at which a baby is born and also the weight at which a baby is born are both major determinants for their lifelong health. My work into Indigenous health aims to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes beginning right at the beginning of someone's lifespan. I ultimately aim to improve the health and wellbeing of all babies across the world so that everyone is given the best possible start to life.

Why did you get into research?

I got into research in order to understand the world around me which continues to fascinate me everyday. The most complex and interesting part about the world around me are the people in it, and that's why I do what I do.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

My research is directed at improving the welfare and the wellbeing of everybody on the planet. A major determinant of whether you are healthy or not is whether you are born at the right weight and at the right time. This is closely linked to your intellectual and physical abilities which determine your ability to participate in education and significantly contribute to your freedom on the planet. So that's why I'm working to improve the birth weights and health of all babies on the planet.

Biography

Laureate Professor Roger Smith AM is Co-Director of the HMRI Pregnancy and Reproduction research program and Director of the Mothers and Babies Research Centre. In 2013, Laureate Professor Smith was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for his outstanding contribution to the field of human pregnancy physiology, highlighting his respected position within the community.

For over 30 years, Laureate Professor Smith has researched the biology behind human pregnancy and the hormones that regulate it. He has been central in investigating the role of the hormone CRH (corticotrophin releasing hormone) and how it contributes to the maintenance of pregnancy and the induction of labour, a finding that has been a major step in understanding the mechanisms of human pregnancy in recent times.

The role of CRH has also been studied in pregnancies that deliver preterm (less than 37 weeks gestation) by Professor Smith and his group who are working to characterise CRH levels in the mother as a potential biomarker for preterm delivery.

Laureate Professor Smith is also involved in research into other aspects of pregnancy including genetic factors and changes in other hormones and their receptors including progesterone, which is another critical factor in the initiation of labour in humans. Studies looking at the health of pregnant women and their babies are also being conducted in Nepal and in Indigenous Australians to determine if the birth weight of babies can predict their behavioural development later in life.

Laureate Professor Smith has been integral in establishing the successful Gomeroi Gaanyggal project operating in Tamworth, Newcastle and Walgett, NSW which aims to use art as a medium for increasing Indigenous women’s access to healthcare during pregnancy.

Laureate Professor Smith is an internationally-recognised researcher with over 250 research papers published in journals including Nature, Nature Medicine and the New England Journal of Medicine. He has presented at over 100 scientific conferences and received over $20 million in project funding. Laureate Professor Smith is also the Director of the Department of Endocrinology at the John Hunter Hospital and is a Life Member of the Endocrine Society of Australia.

More details: See Laureate Professor Roger Smith's University of Newcastle researcher profile.

Specialised / Technical Skills

  • Pregnancy
  • Placenta
  • Cell culture
  • Microscopy
  • Clinical treatment
  • Endocrinology
  • Pregnancy physiology

Affiliations

 

2017

Haggarty Foundation HMRI Research Fellowship in Stillbirth
Fellowship
Establishing a nanoparticle development facility at HMRI
Fellowship
Researchers:
Description:

This proposal seeks funding to establish a Targeted Nanoparticle Development Facility within the Hunter Medical Research Institute. We also seek funding for a post-doctoral scientist who will use the technology to develop novel diagnostics that will identify cancer metastases from thyroid and ovarian cancers, locate other endocrine cancers and importantly develop new ways of treating ovarian and thyroid cancer through improved delivery of existing chemotherapy drugs.

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Stillbirth biobank freezer
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

2016

Mothers and Babies
Project Grant
Description:

Premature birth is the most common reason for a newborn baby to die. Unfortunately, current treatments for premature birth are not very effective. We have developed a mechanism for targeting the delivery of drugs to the uterine tissue, which we believe can be used to prevent or block preterm labour.

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Pathways to Improving Maternal Mortality in Rural Nepal
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Background: Pregnancy is a precious event offering a human value to the biosphere. It is special to every woman and societal unit. Women suffer in comparison with men over a wide spectrum of human activity. The health situation of women in Nepal is poor. Maternal mortality in Nepal is among the highest in Asia (over 190/100,000 live births) and one of the worst ten in the world (WHO 2015).

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2015

A safer way of treating premature labour and post-partum haemorrhage
Project Grant
Description:

The charitable purpose of this grant is to deliver liposomes, coated with an antibody that recognizes the oxytocin receptor (OTR), directly to the muscle of the uterus.

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Achieving Targeted Delivery of Drugs to Uterine Muscle in Women for the Prevention of Preterm Labour
Project Grant
Description:

Premature birth is the most common reason for a newborn baby to die. Unfortunately, current treatments for premature birth are not very effective.

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2014

Using Art to improve the health of Aboriginal mothers and their babies
Project Grant
Achieving Targeted Delivery of Drugs to Uterine Muscle in Women for the Prevention of Preterm Labour
Project Grant
Description:

The research team has developed a mechanism for targeting the delivery of drugs to the uterine muscle which they believe will prevent or block preterm labour.

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2013

Is placental aging the key to understanding, predicting and preventing stillbirth?
Project Grant
Researchers:
Does a novel biomarker of renal function in pregnant Indigenous Australian women predict their future renal and cardiovascular health?
Project Grant
Description:

Predicting future renal and cardiovascular health in pregnant Indigenous Australian women

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Protecting Pregnant Women from Death during influenza epidemics
Project Grant
Description:

Pregnant women are much more susceptible to viral infections.

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Epigenetic Regulation of Progesterone Receptors and the Onset of Labour
Project Grant

2012

Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy in Aboriginal Communities Project
Project Grant

2011

Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy in Aboriginal Communities Project
Project Grant
DNA methylation in a cohort study of nutrition during pregnancy and childhood
Project Grant

2010

Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy in Aboriginal Communities Project
Project Grant
Researchers:

2009

Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy in Aboriginal Communities Project
Project Grant

2008

Linking Cigarette Smoking to Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes in Aboriginal Women
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Roger SmithDr K.M Rae, Professor P.D Jones

Lessons for Transplantation from Pregnancy ($70K per year for three years - to employ a research assistant $50K and provide reagents $20K)
Project Grant
Researchers:
Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy in Aboriginal Communities Project
Project Grant

2007

Proteomics and Genomis
Project Grant
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2006

Lessons from Pregnancy that may help transplantation in Diabetes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Roger Smith, Jorge Telosa
 

Proteomics and Genomis
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2005

Proteomics and Genomis
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2004

Identification of Predictors of Infection in Pregnant Women / IgA Responses to infection in Pregnancy
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2003

Multicentre Trial of Calcium Channel Blocker versus Calcium Channel Blocker plus Cox2 inhibitor in preterm labour - BORN Trial
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Roger Smith, Professor Warwick Giles, Dr Andrew Gill
 

Comparison of the number of mitochondria in cells between placental cells and fetal lymphocyres.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Roger Smith, Dr Rick Nicholason, Dr Bruce King
 

Quantitive EEG analysis of the maturational changes associated with childhood and juvenile absence epilepsy.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Roger Smith, Dr Mick Hunter
 

Causes of Premature Birth
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2002

Causes of Premature Birth
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2001

Causes of Premature Birth
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2000

Award for Research Excellence - Roger Smith
HMRI Award for Research Excellence

1998

Characterisation of a Pituitary Target Autoantigen
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Damien D'wyer, Trish Crock and Roger Smith