Professor Graham Jenkin is a Senior Research Scientist in The Neurodevelopment and Neuroprotection Research group. His research focuses on fetal and neonatal wellbeing, in particular at-risk pregnancies, including Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR), infection in pregnancy, fetal and perinatal hypoxia, and premature birth.

His research has generated a new approach to the clinical monitoring of fetal health during late gestation and treatment in compromised pregnancies. Application of Professor Jenkin’s research to development of therapies for management of chronic adult and neonate lung disease and neuroregeneration continues to inform clinical treatment of the respiratory and neurological consequences of birth asphyxia and premature birth leading to cerebral palsy.

He works closely with regenerative medicine based companies including Cell Care Australia, on cord blood and pregnancy tissue storage for cell based therapy, and with Cytomatrix developing novel stem cell expansion technologies through an Advanced Manufacturing Commercial Research Consortium (with Cytomatrix) and an ARC Linkage grant (With Cell Care). In 2009, he was honoured by Monash University for his work on orthopaedic applications of mesenchymal stem cells with Mesoblast Ltd, as recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Innovation and Collaboration in Research with Industry. More recently, he led the development of a public sector Victorian Consortium for Cell-based Therapies, consisting of Healthcare, Research Institutions, and Commercial Organisations to facilitate research and translation of rapidly evolving cell therapies through clinical trials to the clinic. Resulting in significant Federal Government Super Science Scheme seed funding, this has enabled the establishment of a Cell Therapy Translational Platform in the new Translational Research Facility of the Monash Health Translation Precinct.

His publications include a total of over 130 papers, 20 invited book chapters/journal review articles, and editing of four Journal Symposia publications. He is Chief Investigator on three NHMRC Project Grants and one ARC Discovery Grant.

Selected publications

  • Miller SL, Yawno T, Alers NO, Castillo-Melendez M, Supramaniam VG, Vanzyl N, Sabaretnam T, Loose JM, Drummond GR, Walker DW, Jenkin G, Wallace EM (2014) Antenatal antioxidant treatment with melatonin to decrease newborn neurodevelopmental deficits and brain injury caused by fetal growth restriction. J Pineal Res [ePub ahead of print]. It is this publication, and this body of work, that provides the platform research to administer melatonin to pregnant women with a growth restricted fetus. This paper combines a detailed sheep study on the neuroprotective benefits of antenatal melatonin, and complimentary human results showing that the placenta is a significant source of oxidative stress in growth restricted pregnancies.

  • Alers NO, Jenkin G, Miller SL, Wallace EM (2014) Antenatal melatonin as an antioxidant in human pregnancies complicated by fetal growth restriction–a phase I pilot clinical trial: study protocol. BMJ Open 3(12): e004141. This publication describes the clinical trial now underway by our group to treat pregnant women carrying a growth restricted fetus with antioxidant (melatonin) therapy. This publication shows the translational potential of our work.

  • Li J, Kobata K, Kamei Y, Okazaki Y, Nishihara M, Wada H, Tamai H, Funato M, Jenkin G (2013) Nucleated red blood cell counts: an early predictor of brain injury and 2-year outcome in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in the era of cooling-based treatment. Brain and Dev. This clinical paper describes early predictors of brain injury and neurological outcomes in cooled and non-cooled asphyxiated neonates.

  • Castillo-Melendez M, Yawno T, Jenkin G, Miller SL (2013) Stem cell therapy to protect and repair the developing brain: a review of mechanisms of action of cord blood and amnion epithelial derived cells. Frontiers Neurosci 7:194. An invited review that provides an overview of the work of our group on stem cell treatment of brain injury. It has received significant popular and peer review acclaim and interest.

  • Oehme D, Ghosh P, Shimon S, Wu J, McDonald C, Troupis, J, Goldschlager T, Rosenfeld JV, Jenkin G (2013) Mesenchymal progenitor cells combined with pentosan polysulfate can mediate disc regeneration at the time of microdiscectomy. A preliminary study in an ovine model. Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. SPINE13-760R1. An example of the clinical translation work being undertaken combining matrices and stem cells for spinal disk repair and regeneration.

  • Moodley Y, Ilancheran S, Samuel C, Vaghjiani V, Atienza D, Williams E, Jenkin G, Wallace EM, Trounson AO, Manuelpillai UC (2010) Human amnion epithelial cell transplantation abrogates lung fibrosis and augments repair. American Journal Of Respiratory And Critical Care Medicine 182, 643-651 ID P10588284. A landmark paper describing the use of Amnion Epithelial Cells in BPD, which has resulted in a PCT patent and has now led to commencement of clinical trials.