Alastair MacLennan

Alastair MacLennan

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Emeritus Professor Alastair MacLennan, AO, MB ChB, MD, FRCOG, FRANZCOG is Head of the Australian Collaborative Cerebral Palsy Research Group at the Robinson Research Institute, The University of Adelaide. His research group specifically studies causation and the genetic pathways to cerebral palsy. He was the third Professorial Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He is also Vice President of Friends of Science in Medicine.

Research Interests

My main research interests are now in the causes of cerebral palsy and in particular the genetic and epigenetic causes.

i also continue my interest in having a quality evidence base for all health interventions both traditional and alternative. Alternative therapies currently are poorly regulated, often have associated unproven claims for safety and efficacy and are often driven by the vested interests of industry. 

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2012 - ongoing Emeritus Professor The Robinson Resaerch Institute
    2012 - ongoing Honorary Vice President Friends Of Science in Medicine
    2006 - 2012 Professor and Head of the Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology University of Adelaide, Adelaide
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2011 Award Professor Derek Frewin Excellence in student teaching Award The University of Adelaide - -
    2011 Honour Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) Australian Government Australia -
    2009 Award South Australian Government’s Science Excellence Award for Public Good. South Australian Government Australia 10,000
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    University of Glasgow, RCOG London, RANZCOG Melbourne United Kingdom OA, MB ChB, MD, FRCOG, FRANZCOG
  • Postgraduate Training

    Date Title Institution Country
    Glasgow, Chicago, Oxford, San Fransisco, Adelaide Universities of the above Scotland, USA, England and Australia
  • Research Interests

Grants and Funding
Research Grants

Cerebral Palsy Institute/Foundation, NSW

Special Initiative and infrastructure Grant

2011-2014 Australian Commonwealth “Health Workforce Australia” Grant for the establishment of a Women’s Health Teaching Clinic 860,000

NHMRC Project Grant

Copy Number Variations in Cerebral palsy


Brain Foundation

The contribution of inflammatory mediators to cerebral palsy


Robinson Institute Research Grant

The Genomics of Cerebral Palsy


Research Foundation of Cerebral Palsy Alliance

Defining the Role of genetic variations in cerebral palsy causation


Research Foundation of Cerebral Palsy Alliance

Tenix Adelaide cerebral palsy research group infrastructure grant


Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation Equipment Grant

For data storage and analysis at Genetic Repositories Australia


NHMRC Project Grant

Genetic Pathways to Cerebral Palsy

2016 School of Medicine Equipment Grant  for an integrated Maxwell 16 Nucleic Acid Purification Platform 30,000

Cerebral Palsy Foundation Research Grant

Multi-omics investigations of cerebral palsy causation in discordant monozygotic twins and singletons.

2018-2021 Tenix Foundation Infrastructure Grant for the Australian Cerebral Palsy Research Group led by Professor MacLennan 900,000


Teaching Experience

I have been a University Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader or Associate Professor since 1973 and have been actively involved in undergraduate, postgraduate and midwifery teaching programmes.  I have also been involved in the examination of these three groups of students.  I have been a supervisor for PhD and MSc students, an external postgraduate examiner for Melbourne University, Sydney University, the Australian Medical Council, The Royal College of Midwives, Australian College of Physiotherapists and the Supervisor of Trainees for the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.  I enjoy teaching and am regularly involved in giving lectures by invitation to my peers at international and national College, Hospital and University meetings. 

Educational Videos

I have been particularly involved in the development of video programmes for student and patient education.  I have helped establish the Education Resource Centre at The Queen Victoria Hospital, Adelaide and have been involved in the production and direction of more than 35 video presentations for undergraduates, postgraduates, health personnel and the lay public.  Some of these videos are now being distributed internationally (see list at end of publications). 

On behalf of Adelaide University I have run 3 courses for gifted children entitled New Horizons in Reproductive Medicine.

In recent years I have been involved in changing our undergraduate curriculum from lecture-based to problem solving format with increasing clinical contact.  I have helped develop new methods of student examination, including oral structured clinical examinations.

  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2010 - 2011 Principal Supervisor The Australian Cerebral Palsy Research Study ¿ Epidemiological & Genetic Associations with Cerebral Palsy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time APrf Michael Edward O'Callaghan
    2010 - 2012 Principal Supervisor The Genomics of Cerebal Palsy Are Copy Number Variants Associated with Cerebal Palsy? Master of Philosophy (Medical Science) Master Full Time Dr Gai McMichael
    2003 - 2005 Principal Supervisor Antenatal Causes of Cerebral Palsy and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes: Investigating Associations between Inherited Thrombophilia, Cytokine Polymorphisms and Viral Infections Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Catherine Gibson

Connect With Me
External Profiles