Kathy Gatford

Dr Kathy Gatford

Associate Prof/Reader

School of Biomedicine

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Assoc. Prof. Kathy Gatford. Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons I, dux), PhD.

I am an Associate Professor in the School of Biomedicine, University of Adelaide and research group leader in the Robinson Research Institute.

My research focuses on understanding how the environment in early life programs subsequent function including metabolic homeostasis, and testing interventions to prevent these adverse effects of a poor pregnancy in pre-clinical models. Since 2007, I have been awarded over $2.9 million in research funding, including from NHMRC, Diabetes Australia Research Trust and the CRC for an Internationally Competitive Pork Industry. Current interests include the impact of antenatal glucocorticoids on lung maturation and strategies to avoid off-target effects. My work also translates to improving animal well-being and productivity, and I am part of a team investigating pregnancy interventions to improve survival in twin lambs (MLA). Previous projects aiming to improve human health include studies of a new dietary intervention to prevent IUGR (CIA, Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation, 2017, $75,000), and an NHMRC Project grant investigating effects of shiftwork during pregnancy on pregnancy outcomes and progeny health, with Prof David Kennaway & Dr Tamara Varcoe (CIB, NHMRC Project, 2016-2018). I also held the sole Diabetes Australia Research Trust Type 2 Millenium Award for 2014-2015 ($150,000) investigating adult exercise as an intervention after IUGR, which I was awarded as CIA. I have previously held and managed two NHMRC project grants (CIA, 2010-2012, $733,500; CIC: Preventing insulin resistance and obesity following fetal growth restriction, 2011-2013, $891,732).

In my teaching role (since 2008), I coordinate, lecture in and manage and moderate assessment for the two level 3 Bachelor of Health & Medical Sciences courses in childhood health as well as the core course Innovation in health, and the first year of the Bachelor of Medical Studies degree. I also teach into the level 3 reproductive biology course and level I of the MBBS (Fundamentals of Biological Science). In 2016 I was appointed as Program Coordinator for the Bachelor of Health Sciences (advanced), and with implementation of the new programs from 2017 I am now Program Coordinator for the Bachelor of Health & Medical Sciences (advanced) program.

Early Origins of Health and Disease Research Group

The Early Origins of Health and Disease Research Group aims to understand how exposures in pregnancy impact later health, and to develop and test interventions during and after pregnancy to reduce the impact of these exposures and improve health of offspring from birth to adulthood. We use intensive studies in preclinical models with a large network of collaborators to investigate mechanisms and evaluate interventions independent of potential confounding, as well as evaluating evidence from human cohorts. 

Project 1

Title: Maturing the preterm lung while protecting the brain

Description: Antenatal corticosteroids (betamethasone in Australia) are routinely given to mothers at risk of preterm birth, to mature the fetal lungs. This therapy is very effective at reducing risks of lung disease and death in newborn babies, but also impacts the developing brain. As a result, antenatal corticosteroid use is associated with increased risk of behavioural problems in children. We will use a preclinical model of preterm birth to test a new prodrug therapy to mature the lungs without disrupting brain development. Multiple projects are available, covering enzyme activity and pharmacokinetics, large animal physiology and surgery, gene and protein expression, receptor isoform and phosphorylation, and newborn ventilation. Specific Honours and HDR projects will be developed in consultation with students to match interest areas.

Projects available for: 3rd year research placement, Honours, HDR

Location: SAHMRI Gilles Plains/Adelaide Health & Medical Sciences building (potential for collaborative research at University of South Australia)

Research Project Start: Semester 2 2023 or either Semester in 2024

Special Requirements: Some out-of-hours work will be required

 

Project 2

Title: Prenatal origins of allergy

Description: Understanding the impact of maternal asthma and allergy on asthma and allergy in children by systematically searching and evaluating published literature. Using data linkage in human cohorts to evaluate the impact of prenatal exposures, such as fetal growth, preterm birth, mode of delivery and maternal asthma, on risks of allergy in childhood and into later life.

Projects available for: 3rd year research placement and Honours

Location: Adelaide Health & Medical Sciences building/Women's & Children's Hospital

Research Project Start: Semester 1 or 2 2024

Special Requirements: Police clearance and ethics clearances may be required

 

Project 3

Title: Gut adaptations during pregnancy

Description: Successful pregnancy requires increased nutrient absorption by the mother to meet demands of the growing fetus. As well as increasing the efficiency of nutrient absorption from the gut, a pregnant mother needs to increase how much she eats. This means that satiety (fullness) pathways need to be down-regulated, to allow increasing food intake. How nutrient absorption increases and satiety pathways down-regulate in the gut is not well-understood. This project will study changes during pregnancy in preclinical models, in collaboration with Prof Amanda Page at SAHMRI.

Projects available for: 3rd year research placement, Honours and HDR (subject to project funding)

Location: SAHMRI / Adelaide Health & Medical Sciences building

Research Project Start: Semester 1 or 2 2024

Special Requirements: Some out-of-hours work will be required

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2022 - ongoing Associate Professor University of Adelaide
    2020 - 2021 Associate Professor University of Adelaide
    2017 - ongoing Program Coordinator, Bachelor of Health & Medical Sciences (advanced) University of Adelaide
    2016 - ongoing Program Coordinator, Bachelor of Health Science (advanced) University of Adelaide
    2010 - 2013 NHMRC-funded Research fellow University of Adelaide
    2009 - ongoing Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2008 - 2009 University Research Fellow (Academic Level B) University of Adelaide
    2007 - 2007 University Research Associate (Academic Level A) University of Adelaide
    2005 - 2006 NHMRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Adelaide
    2001 - 2005 Hilda Farmer Medical Research Associate University of Adelaide
    1997 - 2001 NHMRC Australian Postdoctoral Fellow University of Adelaide
    1996 - 1997 PRDC Postdoctoral Fellow University of Adelaide
    1990 - 1992 Research Assistant (Grade 2) University of Melbourne
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2019 Award Women’s Research Excellence Award University of Adelaide Australia $5000
    2013 Award Special Teaching Award University of Adelaide Australia -
    2000 Award National Association of Research Fellows Postdoctoral Young Investigator Award National Association of Research Fellows Australia -
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    1993 - 1996 University of Melbourne Australia PhD
    1985 - 1989 University of Melbourne Australia Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons I, dux)
  • Research Interests

Current funding:

  • Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation, A new therapy to mature preterm lungs without damaging the brain (2023, ID23812748, CIA Gatford, AIs Morrison, Stark, Tai, Wiese, Clifton, Wallace, Cole, Darby, Meakin, $100,000)

Recent funding:

  • Meat and Livestock Australia (2019-2022, MLA Project grant #901611, A novel amino acid approach to increase lamb survival, co-CI, $880,481)
  • Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation Pilot study – Testing the first treatment to protect babies of asthmatic women from lung disease, (2020-2021, App. No. 12712295, CIA Gatford, $85,000)
  • Meat and Livestock Australia (2017/18 MLA Annual call project 2018-2020 Project #105, New approaches to increase the weaning rate of the national sheep-flock, co-CI, $803,012)
  • Ian Potter Medical Research Grants (2018, ID 20190089, Vevo 3100 ultrasound biomicroscope for the Adelaide Biomed city precinct, CIA, $200,000)
  • Robinson Research Institute Innovation Seed funding, (2020, Exercising the Immune System to Prevent Preeclampsia, CIB $25,000)
  • Robinson Research Institute Investment for Success, (2018, Preventing IUGR, CIA $26,939)
  • NHMRC (Project Grant 2016-2018 ID 1106674, Impact of disrupted sleep and rhythms during pregnancy on the mother and her offspring, CIB, $769,979)
  • Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation, CIA 2017-18 $75,000
  • Australian Pork Limited (Research & Development Grant 2015-2018 Grant ID 787, CIB, $122,144)

2021-

Co-lead for development of Medical Studies 3A (semester 1, 3rd year, new B Med Studies-MD program)

2019-

Course co-coordinator, HLTH SC 3102 Innovating Health

2018-

Course co-coordinator HLTH SC 3103 Infant, Child and Adolescent Health

2018-2020

Course coordinator, PAEDIAT 3000 Biology of Childhood Growth, Development and Health

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

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Principal Supervisor Investigating the variable response of preterm infants to treatment with antenatal corticosteroids. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Yoshi Tan
    2021 Co-Supervisor Evaluating the impact of maternal asthma on neonatal and childhood lung function and its underlying mechanisms Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Joshua Luke Robinson
    2021 Principal Supervisor Asthma during pregnancy and pregnancy during asthma Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Andrea Jane Roff
    2021 Co-Supervisor Sex-specific epigenetic programming of offspring pancreatic beta-cells by maternal diet Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Stephanie Elise O'Hara
    2020 Principal Supervisor Adaptations to gastrointestinal nutrient absorption during pregnancy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Teunis Sebastian Overduin
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 - 2023 Co-Supervisor Adaptations in gastrointestinal satiety during pregnancy in mice Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Georgia Sheridan Clarke
    2017 - 2020 Principal Supervisor A novel intervention strategy to prevent intrauterine growth restriction Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Harleen Kaur
    2016 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Perinatal Programming of Metabolic Health in Guinea Pigs Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Dane Horton
    2013 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Developmental Programming of Allergic Susceptibility Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Amy Louise Wooldridge
    2011 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Neurodevelopmental effects of placental restriction in sheep Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Damien Seth Hunter
    2009 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Early life determinants of beta-cell function in the sheep Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Siti Aishah Sulaiman
    1999 - 2004 Co-Supervisor Placental Restriction and Endocrine Control of Postnatal Growth Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Miles De Blasio
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2015 - 2015 Member External Animal Ethics Review Committee Department of Environment and Heritage, SA Government Australia
    2013 - 2013 Member Program Organising Committee: Fetal and Neonatal Workshop, 2013 Satellite meeting of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia
    2011 - 2012 Member Working group chapter 6, review and development of the 8th edition of the Australian Code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes NHMRC Australia
    2010 - 2012 Chair Program Organising Committee, Endocrine Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting Endocrine Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting Australia
    2010 - 2010 Member External Animal Ethics Review Committee member Department of Environment and Heritage, SA Government Australia
    2007 - 2014 Member University of Adelaide Animal Ethics Committee University of Adelaide Australia
    2007 - 2007 Member Program Organising Committee: Society for Reproductive Biology Annual Conference, 2007 Society for Reproductive Biology Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2007 - 2010 Director Australian Women in Endocrinology Australia
    2001 - ongoing Member Australian Women in Endocrinology Australia
    1994 - ongoing - Endocrine Society of Australia Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2014 - ongoing Board Member American Journal of Physiology American Physiological Society United States
    2014 - ongoing Board Member Reproduction - United Kingdom
  • Position: Associate Prof/Reader
  • Phone: 83134158
  • Email: kathy.gatford@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences, floor 6
  • Org Unit: Medical Sciences

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