Kylie Dunning

Dr Kylie Dunning

Ext-Funded Research Fellow (D)

Robinson Research Institute

Division of Research and Innovation

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


Dr Kylie Dunning leads the Reproductive Success team within the Robinson Research Institute, the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, and the School of Biomedicine.

Kylie is a reproductive biologist who uses cutting-edge, light-based technologies (also referred to as photonics) to better understand the biology that underpins successful development of the oocyte (egg) and early embryo. With one-in-six Australian couples struggling to start a family without medical intervention, Kylie is committed turning her laboratory discoveries into impact for these couples, engaging early and often with clinical experts to address the greatest clinical challenges.

With a focus on how oocytes (eggs) and embryos create energy, Kylie pioneered the paradigm-shifting research describing the requirement for lipid metabolism by the oocyte and early embryo.

With a drive to see outcomes for patients, Kylie is now using this knowledge and expertise with cutting-edge imaging and diagnostic technologies, to deliver the next generation of tools for the fertility clinic, and agriculture industry. She is leading the way in the development of safe, non-invasive diagnostic technologies that will change the way fertility specialists and embryologists select the best eggs and embryos, which will ultimately improve the experience for all couples seeking fertility care.

Research Interests

In our team we use safe, cutting-edge, light-based technologies (also referred to as photonics) to better understand the biology that underpins successful development of the oocyte (egg) and early embryo. With one-in-six Australian couples struggling to start a family without medical intervention, we are committed turning our laboratory discoveries into impact for these couples, engaging early and often with clinical experts to address the greatest clinical challenges.

Research Team

We have a culturally and gender diverse team who are supportive and encouraging of each other. Our team consists of three post-doctoral researchers (Dr Megan Lim, Dr Tiffany Tan and Dr Erik Schartner), five post-graduate (Darren Chow, Carl Campugan, Annie Whitty, Tong Li and Ramses Bautista Gonzalez) and two Honours students (Shan Li and Wenyu Li).

Current Projects 

Title: Novel optical assessments of embryo development: can we pick the best embryo?

Project description: Increasingly, people are delaying starting a family until later in life. The expectation of conceiving children is often disrupted by infertility (1 in 6 Australian couples). Such a diagnosis can lead to reduced productivity, financial hardship, relationship breakdown and mental illness. Infertility is typically addressed by in vitro fertilization (IVF). Whilst IVF has seen major advancements, it still faces numerous challenges, most notably low success rates: only 18% of Australian and New Zealand initiated IVF cycles deliver a live birth. One of the reasons for the low success rate is the inability to select the healthiest embryo. In this project you will utilise cutting edge microscopy techniques combined with post-imaging assessments to better understand the pre-implantation embryo development period. You will be comparing normal healthy embryos with poor quality embryos: those which fail to complete the preimplantation period or lead to implantation failure or pregnancy loss. Our research is clinically relevant, and we are passionate about translating outcomes into the human IVF clinic and in agriculture. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss further. 

Projects available for: Third Year / Honours / HDR
Location: Helen Mayo Building
Research project start: Semester 1 and 2
Special requirements: N/A

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2023 - ongoing Future Making Fellow University of Adelaide
    2021 - ongoing Director IVF Vet Solutions
    2020 - ongoing Chief Investigator ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP)
    2020 - 2023 The Hospital Research Foundation Fellow University of Adelaide
    2017 - 2019 ARC Senior Research Associate University of Adelaide
    2012 - 2017 ARC DECRA Fellow University of Adelaide
    2007 - 2011 NHMRC Research Associate University of Adelaide, Adelaide
    2002 - 2003 Research Assistant Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2022 Award Rising Star Award Society for the Study of Reproduction United States -
    2020 Award Women's Excellence in Research Award Healthy Development Adelaide Australia -
    2020 Award Robinson Research Institute Directors Award The Robinson Research Institute Australia -
    2020 Award South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year (overall winner) Australian Institute for Policy and Science Australia -
    2019 Award Newcastle Reproduction Emerging Research Leader Award Society for Reproductive Biology Australia -
    2012 Award Most Outstanding Early Career Researcher Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide - $3000
    2010 Award First Place, Trainee Research Award Society for the Study of Reproduction United States -
    2010 Award First place, Young Investigator Award Women's and Children's Hospital Australia $10,000
    2010 Award Lalor Foundation Merit Award Lalor Foundation, Society for the Study of Reproduction United States -
    2007 Award Robert Seamark Postgraduate Award University of Adelaide Australia -
    2007 Award National Research Initiative (NRI) Merit Award United States Department of Agriculture, CSREES United States -
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2008 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia Doctor of Philosophy
    2002 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Science (Honours)
    2001 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Science
  • Research Interests

2024-2027  NHMRC Ideas Grant. Suspended by sound: A novel approach to grow developmentally competent oocytes in vitro, $1,387,127.

2021-24      NHMRC Ideas Grant. A new light on diagnosing embryo health, $1,266,777

2022-24      Australasian Pork Research Institute Limited, Precision monitoring of reproductive state via development of pen side mucus testing and continuous remote monitoring, CI Dunning, $414,438

2014-20      ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), $38M (total), $5.4M pro rata – duration for which I was a Chief Investigator

2019          Awarded competitive joint Adelaide/Nottingham (UK) PhD scholarship for the group, Utilising light and sound for ART (assisted reproductive technologies), $120,000

2020-23      The Hospital Research Foundation Mid-Career Fellowship, Determining embryo health with a light touch: label-free imaging to detect chromosome mosaicism, $406,750

2020          Barbara Kidman Fellowship, The University of Adelaide $30,000

2020          Robinson Research Institute Innovation Seed Grant, $25,000

2018          Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Emerging Leadership Development Program, $40,000

2018          Robinson Research Institute, Invest for Success Grant, $28,250

2018          Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Emerging Leadership Development Program, $40,000

2018          Robinson Research Institute, Invest for Success Grant, $28,250

2018          Ian Potter Foundation Research Grant: Vevo 3100; $360,000, AI Dunning     

2017          Robinson Research Institute Career Development Fellowship, $60,000

2012-17      ARC Discovery Early Career Award (DECRA), Biomimetic systems for species preservation and fertility restoration, $375,000

2017          Robinson Research Institute Grant, Story telling and science of pregnancy loss. CIB Dunning, $18,000

2017          Society for Reproductive Biology, ECR Collaborative Research Award, $1500

2015          Robinson Research Institute Innovation Seed Grant, Preventing and Alleviating Infertility: Enabling the best start in life, CIC Dunning, $25,000

2012          Channel 7 Children’s Foundation Research Grant, The impact of lipotoxicity in the ovaries and oocytes of obese women on embryo health, CIB Dunning, $48,000

2011          Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation Research Project Grant, Modulating Lipid Metabolism to Improve the Growth of Follicles and Oocytes in vitro, $50,000

2011          Channel 7 Children’s Foundation Research Grant, Preservation of Female Fertility, $35,000

2024                           Lecturer: Life-course (third year, Medicine Degree, Bachelor of Medical Studies)

2023                           Lecturer: Principles of Human Health and Disease (first year, Bachelor of Health and                                     Medical Sciences)

2023                           Lecturer:  Investigative Cell Biology (third year, Bachelor of Health and Medical                                             Sciences)

2014-2017                  Lecturer, Research Projects in Reproductive Health, University of Adelaide

2015                           Lecturer, Human Reproductive Health III, University of Adelaide

2010-2015                  Lecturer, Honours Program, School of Paediatrics & Reproductive Health

2006-2007                 Tutor, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) students

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

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2023 Principal Supervisor Does cryopreservation induce aneuploidy in embryos? Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Tong Li
    2022 Co-Supervisor Advanced Methods of Beam Shaping and Their Implementation in Multiphoton Microscopy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ramses Eduardo Bautista Gonzalez
    2020 Co-Supervisor Improving in vitro maturation of oocytes by bringing research together: can we get synergy? Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Annie Louise Whitty
    2020 Principal Supervisor Utilising light and sound in Assisted Reproductive Technologies Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Mr Carl Adrian Campugan
    2019 Principal Supervisor Label-free optical approaches for the non-invasive assessment of embryo quality Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Darren Jin Xiang Chow
    2017 Co-Supervisor Non-reproductive uses of Zonae Pellucida Master of Philosophy (Medical Science) Master Full Time Avishkar Saini
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - 2023 Principal Supervisor Towards Automation of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Suliman Hassan Suliman Yagoub
    2017 - 2020 Co-Supervisor The Role of Haemoglobin in Healthy Oocyte Development Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Megan Lim
    2017 - 2022 Principal Supervisor Optical imaging detects metabolic signatures associated with oocyte and embryo quality Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Cheow Yuen Tan
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2024 - ongoing Co-Chair Program Organising Committee Society for Reproductive Biology Australia
    2022 - 2025 Chair MS McLeod Research Fund Women's & Children's Hospital Research Foundation Australia
    2019 - 2022 Member Society for Reproductive Biology Committee Society for Reproductive Biology Australia
    2018 - ongoing Co-Chair Local Organising Committee Society for Reproductive Biology Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2023 - ongoing Member SPIE. The international society for optics and photonics Australia
    2007 - ongoing Member Society for the Study of Reproduction United States
    2005 - ongoing Member Society for Reproductive Biology Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2024 - ongoing Editor Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics Springer Nature United States
    2018 - ongoing Board Member Scientific Reports Nature Portfolio United Kingdom
  • Position: Ext-Funded Research Fellow (D)
  • Phone: 83131013
  • Email: kylie.dunning@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Helen Mayo South, floor 2
  • Org Unit: Medical Sciences

Connect With Me
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