Natalie Aboustate

Dr Natalie Aboustate

Study Coordinator

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Dr Natalie Aboustate - Postdoctoral Fellow
Robinson Research Institute, Adelaide Medical School, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Career Summary

I was awarded my PhD in Medicine in March 2018 for my research on inflammatory regulation in placenta and cord blood from preterm births. This project developed my expertise in the field of immunology and obstetrics, fostering a passion for basic science with direct clinical translation. 

My studies at the LMH led to the development of strong working relationships with research clinicians at the hospital and employment in coordinating and executing clinical trials such as the PROTECTIVE trial (optimal dosing of intravenous iron during pregnancy for replenishing and sustaining iron stores into the postnatal period), ROTEM (Thrombelastometry) in AUGH (Acute Upper Gastrointestinal Haemorrhage) Study, KADS (Ketamine for Adult Depression Study), CERT-D (improving resilience and psychosocial outcomes in people with current or remitted depression to prevent relapse/ ease severity of symptoms) and CogSAFe (Cognitive Decline in Atrial Fibrillation).

These experiences developed my interest for research in the field personalised psychiatry, specifically, investigating determinants of mental health. I currently hold an academic position as the John M Nardo Post-doctoral fellow within the Critical and Ethical Mental Health group (Robinson Research Institute). I have a secondary appointment as a study coordinator in the department of Anaesthetics, involved in several projects looking at patient blood management and improving health and resource outcomes.  

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Major Research Themes

Adolescent Mental Health

Perinatal Mental Health

Iron Metabolism in Pregnancy

Neonatal Immunity


I am the first recipient of the John M Nardo Postdoctoral Fellowship held by the Critical and Ethical Mental Health (CEMH) Research group of the Robinson Research Institute. My research involves the reanalysis of pharmaceutical trials under the Restoring Invisible and Abandoned Trials (RIAT) initiative, with a focus on adolescent mental health. 


Working under A/ Prof Bernd Froessler, I am a Study Coordinator for the Protective Trial, which looks at optimising the dose of IV Ferric Carboxymaltose for women who suffer from iron deficiency during pregnancy. Our trial is investigating pregnancy outcomes and perinatal mental health in this population to better characterise the effects of maternal iron deficiency on the mother and neonate, and how iron supplementation may ameliorate poor outcomes. 

Neonatal Immunity (PhD Work)

My PhD characterised alterations in immune regulation by preterm neonates compared to term as they are particularly vulnerable to inflammatory morbidities and other poor health outcomes. My research utilised placenta and cord blood as indicators of innate immune function in the preterm neonate, alongside data concerning clinical outcomes for these neonates. My findings showed preterm neonates can mount a robust response to inflammatory stimuli, but are unable to appropriately regulate inflammation. As preterm neonates are susceptible to contracting infections, attenuated immune regulation could underlie their susceptibility towards developing systemic inflammatory signalling.

I have received a conference award (Y.W. (Charlie) Loke Award for Early Career Researchers, IFPA 2016), 9 travel awards (including one international) and 4 scholarships (APA postgraduate award, funded course participation at EMBL, Honours scholarship and 6 week summer research scholarship). 

I supervise Medical Students and students from BSc and B Health Science courses that wish to undertake Summer Research programs or who require short-term research experience. I have made significant contributions to the supervision of Honours students under more senior supervisors in the field of Psychiatry, Obstetrics and Cardiology. I also have teaching experience as a lecturer/ tutor for undergraduate students at Flinders University for a semester of the course "Quantitative Research Methods".

  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2019 - ongoing Board Member NALHN Strategic Research Council Lyell McEwin Hospital Australia
    2018 - ongoing Member Biological Psychiatry Australia Biological Psychiatry Australia Australia
    2016 - ongoing Board Member Biological Society of South Australia Australia
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2014 - ongoing Placenta Journal
  • Event Participation

    Date Event Name Event Type Institution Country
    2018 - 2018 Biological Psychiatry Australia Conference 2018 Conference Biological Psychiatry Austalia Australia

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