Special Populations and Clinical Settings

Women & Children

Every branch of medicine serves patients who are women and children with unique health needs that must be addressed in specific ways. With significant gaps in our understanding of the effects of many treatments on pregnant women and children, there is an ongoing and urgent need for medical research that focuses on these populations.

Research into women and children spans all themes at UNSW Medicine. Our aim is to ensure optimum health in women, babies and children so we can create the next generation of healthy adults.

Our research is integrated with clinical services for the women and children who visit multidisciplinary clinical services at Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney Children’s Hospital and UNSW’s affiliated medical research institutes. Our research is linked with Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, the Clinical Trials Centre and Neuroscience Research Australia.

We have a fast growing research stream focusing on reproductive medicine, with expertise in new ways of undertaking hormone-free IVF and in imaging babies in utero. We are interested in the early determinants of life and the interaction of surveillance and screening, environmental risk factors, and genetics. Our work aims to help children progress through the life trajectory to achieve the best health, social, educational and vocational outcomes possible.

We have a strong focus on gynaecological cancer research, and hold one of the world’s largest collections of ovarian tumour samples.  We are Australian leaders in research that will protect women’s fertility through cancer treatment, and we have pioneered the Australasian Oncofertility Registry and website. Our work in children’s cancer is conducted through the Children’s Cancer Institute, the only independent research institute in Australia wholly dedicated to childhood cancer. The Behavioural Sciences Unit (BSU), situated within the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, provides the evidence base for support for families through treatment, survivorship and bereavement.

Our work in women’s mental health includes studies on postnatal depression through the Black Dog Institute, which also studies paediatric mental health. We are addressing the challenges of neuromuscular diseases in children, including spinal muscular atrophy, epilepsy, medical psychology, and infants born with a drug or alcohol dependency.

In the area of infectious disease, inflammation and immunity, we engage in high impact work into respiratory disease, one of the major causes of hospitalisation in young children. We also have expertise in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.