Associate Professor Mhoyra Fraser
Associate Professor Mhoyra Fraser is an experienced fetal neuroendocrinologist and physiologist with expertise in fetal brain injury.
Associate Professor Mhoyra Fraser, originally from Scotland, is an experienced fetal neuroendocrinologist and physiologist with expertise in fetal brain injury. On receiving her PhD degree, based on the development of the fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis, under the supervision of Prof Mont Liggins at the Postgraduate School of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National Women’s Hospital, she moved to Canada. There she undertook postdoctoral training under the mentorship of Prof John Challis at the Lawson Research Institute, London, Ontario. A/Prof Fraser then spent several years as a Research Fellow with Prof Challis at the University of Toronto. During her time in Canada, her research primarily focused on providing a better understanding of the development and regulation of the fetal hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal axis and mechanisms of preterm birth. Preterm birth is a significant problem with respect to child health outcomes. Hence, on returning to New Zealand, A/Prof Fraser’s research has primarily focused on addressing fundamental issues associated with “being born too early”. Previously at the Liggins Institute and now at the Department of Physiology, University of Auckland, she heads the Perinatal Neuroscience Molecular Laboratory. A/Prof Fraser’s current research interests and expertise is in the use of clinically relevant whole animal models to study fetal neurophysiological, neuroinflammatory and neuroendocrine responses to adverse events during gestation such as asphyxia, hypoxia/ischemia and infection/inflammation (innate immunity) and the consequences for disease pathology. Present research goals are to investigate potential candidate therapeutic strategies to prevent or ameliorate white matter injury and/or neuronal loss in the preterm brain and to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of infection/inflammation- and asphyxia/hypoxia-ischemia- related damage and to identify clinically relevant biomarkers of preterm brain injury. Her other areas of research include studies to determine the impact of antenatal exposure to glucocorticoids or alterations in maternal nutrition on neuroendocrine function and neurogenesis in the preterm fetal brain.