Developmental programming in disease

Led by Karen Moritz, Director of the Child Health Research Centre, the flourishing Developmental Programming in Disease research group spans UQ’s Child Health Research Centre and School of Biomedical Sciences. Our group brings together both preclinical and clinical researchers to understand how disturbances during gestation contribute to a fetus’ increased risk of developing disease in adulthood.

Our work in the laboratory aims to develop preclinical models that mimic common prenatal insults, such as stress and alcohol exposure. The offspring’s development is then carefully analysed - alongside the metabolic, cardiovascular, renal, reproductive, neurological and behavioural functions of the adult and offspring - to understand the effects of these insults. We are particularly interested in how the kidney, placenta, heart, brain and ovaries of the developing fetus are impacted.

Our clinical work specifically includes a focus on investigating ways to improve prevention, assessment, diagnosis and treatment for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and their families. We also collaborate on a range of other clinical projects with researchers and clinicians at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and other hospitals and universities around Queensland, Australia and internationally.

Ultimately, our research aims to inform clinicians and parents so they can have healthier babies less likely to develop disease in later life, while also supporting those whose lives may already be affected by prenatal exposures.

Group Leader

  • Dr Natasha Reid

    Research Fellow
    Child Health Research Centre
  • Dr Nicole Hayes

    Casual Research Project Officer
    Child Health Research Centre
  • Dr Karen Liddle

    Casual Research Paediatrician
    Child Health Research Centre
  • Dr Lisa Akison

    Affiliated Lecturer
    School of Biomedical Sciences
    Research Fellow
    Child Health Research Centre
  • Dr Linda Gallo

    NHMRC Research Fellow
    School of Biomedical Sciences

Students

  • Ms Sophia Young (PhD student)
  • Ms Sarah Steane (PhD student)
  • Dr May Na Erng (PhD student)
  • Ms Kelly Skorka (PhD student)
  • Ms Khari Garavelis (Master’s student)
  • Ms Alanna Heanue (Master’s student)
  • Ms Catherine Scrivens (Master’s student)
  • Ms Lourdes D’Cruz (Master’s student)
  • Ms Jennifer Kuo (MPhil student)

Dr David Simmons
School of Biomedical Sciences
Mater Medical Research Institute
Translational Research Institute
The University of Queensland

Dr Marloes Nitert Dekker
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
Centre for Clinical Research
The University of Queensland

Dr Oliver Raweshdeh
School of Biomedical Sciences
The University of Queensland

Prof Mary Wlodek
Department of Physiology
The University of Melbourne

Prof Vicki Clifton
Mater Medical Research Institute
Translational Research Institute
The University of Queensland

Associate Professor Honey Heussler
Child Health Research Centre
Faculty of Medicine

Associate Professor Deborah Askew
Primary Care Clinical Unit
Faculty of Medicine

Dr Peter Trnka
Children's Health Queensland Clinical Unit
Faculty of Medicine

Professor Mieke Van Driel
Primary Care Clinical Unit
Faculty of Medicine

Ms Maree Maloney
Acting Clinic Manager
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Our clinic provides vital services for children with confirmed or suspected prenatal alcohol exposure and/or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

Give to our Neurodevelopmental Clinic