Obesity and gestational diabetes in pregnancy
Dr Marloes Dekker Nitert, Dr Helen Barrett, Professor Callaway, Project Manager Katie Foxcroft, Dr Susie de Jersey and Dr Victoria Eley
In the decade since completing her PhD, Professor Leonie Callaway has gathered a team of clinician scientists who share her passion for the wellbeing of women, particularly addressing obesity and gestational diabetes in pregnancy.
The team includes Dr Marloes Dekker Nitert, Dr Susan de Jersey, Dr Helen Barrett, Dr Victoria Eley, Associate Professor Karin Lust, Dr Catherine Kilgour, research higher degree students Dr Helen Robinson, Dr Fiona Britten, Ms Luisa Gomez and Dr Naomi Achong, Clinical Trial Coordinator Katie Foxcroft, and endocrinologist/obstetric physician Professor David McIntyre.
Their research covers a range of different investigations into pregnancy and medical disorders in Queensland. Professor Calloway, a Pre-eminent Staff Specialist in General and Obstetric Medicine at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, has published over 110 peerreviewed journal articles on pregnancy related research, and her work has been cited more than 2000 times.
The group has attracted $8 million of research support with Prof Calloway as chief investigator, including six NHMRC project grants, an ARC Industry partnership and more than 30 other grants.
“If projects are carefully chosen, and answer clinical questions, we have shown that high quality research is possible, while maintaining clinical skills, attending to our caring responsibilities, contributing to our communities, and doing the things that are important to being well functioning human beings,” Prof Calloway says.
“Our team have demonstrated that PhDs can be finished on time, with the welcome interruption of parental leave, while maintaining work life balance.”
A recent publication by Dr Dekker Nitert focused on connections between gut microbiome and metabolic hormones in early pregnancy in overweight and obese
women, while Dr de Jersey had a publication recently published regarding the relationships between psychosocial factors and excess gestational weight gain
differs in healthy and overweight pregnancy women.
Dr Barrett has published on home monitoring of fasting and post-meal triglycerides in late pregnancy, and Dr Eley had a qualitative study published on anaesthetists’ experiences with the “early labour epidural” recommendation for obese pregnant women.
In addition to research interests, Prof Callaway said a common theme unites the researchers.
“What binds us all together is a set of attitudes about curiosity,” she says. “What makes it work is respect and collaboration.”