Researcher biography

Barbara's research has focussed on improving outcomes for babies who have suffered from a lack of oxygen during birth.

Barbara completed her BSc(Hons), MSc and PhD at the University of Melbourne. She commenced working at the Perinatal Research Centre in 1998 and her research here has included:

Early prediction of outcome in babies who have suffered a lack of oxygen during birth. Severe perinatal asphyxia occurs in about 1 in every 500 births. The reduced supply of oxygen to the brain during birth can result in death or neurological disability for life. It is clear however that brain cells do not die immediately but die as a result of a cascade of events occurring over the period hours to days after hypoxia. This cascade provides a window of opportunity when it may be possible to interrupt the events leading to brain cell death and thus reduce the severity of brain injury. However the opportunity to improve outcome may only last 12 – 24 hours following the insult. It is therefore necessary to identify quickly infants at risk of a poor neurodevelopmental outcome so that potential benefits of neural rescue therapies can be maximised.The factors that are responsible for differences between babies in their ability to compensate for reduced oxygen supply. If these factors can be identified it may be possible to identify infants who are at risk of neural injury due to low tolerance, and who will benefit from targeted intervention to prevent injury. It may also be possible to reduce or prevent neural injury by mimicking those mechanisms which allow some babies to compensate more effectively for lack of oxygen.The use of bio-impedance for continuous monitoring of fluid status in babies born <1500g.Body composition in babies born to mothers with diabetes and/or obesity.