Failure to conceive a baby and pregnancy complications can be tragic events for millions of hopeful parents. The Ellery group seeks to understand the role of cellular energy turnover in reproductive success, with the aim of developing new strategies to improve pregnancy outcomes.
More than three million infants die yearly due to maternal undernutrition, placental insufficiency and fetal hypoxia. Reducing child mortality and promoting maternal health are two of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals.
To address these critical issues, the Bioenergetics in Reproduction Group studies cellular energy relationships and is pioneering the investigation of creatine, an energy metabolite, in pregnancy and the potential for creatine treatments to protect against pregnancy-related injuries.
The group is investigating whether creatine becomes a conditionally essential dietary metabolite during critical periods of the reproductive cycle, pregnancy and the newborn period. In addition, they are also establishing whether creatine supplementation can be used as a treatment to address reproductive compromise, including
- Preclinical and clinical studies on the use of creatine to reduce recurrent implantation failure
- Placental dysfunction associated with growth restriction and preeclampsia Failure to progress through labour and intrapartum asphyxia
- The support of newborn brain metabolism following hypoxia and preterm birth.
The ultimate goal of this research is to understand the intricacies of cellular energy turnover throughout reproduction and in events of perinatal compromise. Armed with this knowledge, the group can advance simple nutritional interventions, such as creatine, to reduce the global, life-long emotional and socio-economic burden of poor reproductive and pregnancy outcomes.
“Everyone who seeks to become a parent should be given every opportunity to bring a healthy baby into the world, regardless of their geography or economic circumstances.” Dr Stacey Ellery
Diseases we research
Areas of focus
- Placental and pregnancy bioenergetics
- Energy homeostasis during labour and birth
- Adaptations to creatine homeostasis during pregnancy
- Metabolic collapse following intrapartum asphyxia and preterm birth, leading to perinatal brain injury
- Dysfunctional energy metabolism contributing to infertility and poor reproductive success
Research Group Head | Dr Stacey Ellery
Reproductive organs are some of the body’s most regenerative tissues leading to an undeniable link between energy metabolism and reproductive success. Dr Ellery is focused on understanding the intricacies of energy turnover and how this contributes to infertility and poor pregnancy outcomes.
Meet the team
News from the lab
NHMRC Investigator Grants 2023
2023 Science Innovation Seed Funding Awards
The benefits of creatine: a safer birth for mum and baby
Creatine during pregnancy – a scientist’s story
Creatine and pregnancy – what you need to know
Reducing brain damage in preterm babies
Helping preterm babies avoid brain damage
Creatine supplement safe for women
See more news articles about Bioenergetics in Reproduction