Natalie Aboustate

Dr Natalie Aboustate

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

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 innate immune regulation in placenta and cord blood from preterm births. My work at the LMH led to the development of strong working relationships with research clinicians at the hospital and employment in coordinating and executing a range of different clinical trials to date.

These experiences developed my interest for research in the field of psychiatry, specifically, investigating social 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). 

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. Our team's mission is improve the understanding of and responses to mental health issues and mental disorders by undertaking and promoting critical and ethical appraisal of evidence, claims, assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs.


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. 


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, it was postulated that attenuated immune regulation could underlie a susceptibility towards systemic inflammatory signalling.

I am currently co-supervising an Honours student undertaking the project entitled: "A prospective observational case-control pilot study investigating biological markers of endothelial dysfunction in patients with coronary spasm". I also 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".

  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - ongoing Co-Supervisor A prospective observational case-control pilot study investigating biological markers of endothelial dysfunction in patients with coronary spasm. The University of Adelaide Honours in Health Sciences Honours Full Time Alex Minopoulos
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2019 - 2019 Member Robinson Research Institute Symposium Robinson Research Institute Australia
    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
  • Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Phone: 83131433
  • Email:
  • Building: Lyell McEwin Hospital, floor 2
  • Org Unit: Adelaide Medical School

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