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WIRF is one of Australia's leading organisations that is dedicated to improving the health of women and infants.

Stars 2021


The Women and Infants Research Foundation is pleased to present the annual Stars Event & Rising Stars Symposium.

Stars Event - Improving health care for women and babies – now on the road to success

Date: Wednesday, 8 September 2021, 5.45pm to 9.00pm
Venue: UWA Club, Banquet Hall, Crawley
Cost: $60 (Students $45) inc presentations and refreshments. Purchase tickets here.


Prof Jan Dickinson AM - Featured Professor
Reducing the Jab! Non-invasive prenatal testing for Rhesus D
To reduce the risk of isoimmunisation, it is standard practice in Australia for Rhesus D negative women to receive prophylactic anti-D during pregnancy at 28 and 34 weeks’ gestation, and within 72 hours of delivering a Rhesus D positive baby. However, of all Rhesus D negative women, about 40% will deliver a Rhesus negative baby and therefore will unnecessarily receive anti-D prophylaxis.

Using non-invasive prenatal testing, fetal Rhesus D DNA can be detected in the maternal circulation. This technology can assess the fetal Rhesus D status prior to birth, therefore potentially reducing the unnecessary administration of anti-D in pregnancy.

This presentation will outline the current evidence about Rhesus D NIPT, discuss the recent release of the National Blood Authority guidelines advocating the use of Rhesus D NIPT for Rhesus D negative women with no preformed antibodies, and the Western Australian Rhesus D NIPT project which is currently in progress.  

Dr Mary Sharp
What might be the reasons behind declining rates of cerebral palsy in preterm infants in WA?
Cerebral palsy is a physical disability that affects movement and posture. It is the most common physical disability in childhood, with 1 in 700 babies diagnosed each year.
There is no single cause of cerebral palsy but rather a series of causal pathways that can injure the developing brain. Prematurity is the largest risk factor for cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy rates in very preterm infants have been declining in WA.
This presentation will discuss some of the changes in neonatal care for very preterm infants less than 32 weeks that might behind this.
Clinical Assoc Prof Mary Sharp is Medical Co-Director of the Neonatology Service, King Edward Memorial Hospital.

Dr Matt Payne
Vaginal microorganisms for prediction of preterm birth – friends, foes and a fence-sitter.
Bacterial infection is one of the leading causes of preterm birth. The vaginal microbiota are the primary source of these infections, with numerous associated bacterial species.
Recently, we developed a new diagnostic test based upon a specific vaginal bacterial DNA signature in mid-pregnancy.
Called the GLU test, this has been shown to predict up to 45% of spontaneous preterm birth cases, and now underpins a large randomised clinical trial to prevent preterm birth using a mid-pregnancy antimicrobial and probiotic treatment regimen.

Dr Matt Payne is a perinatal molecular microbiologist and a WIRF Senior Research Fellow.

Rising Stars Symposium 

A celebration and showcase of WA’s top emerging medical researchers revealing latest discoveries relating to pregnancy, women’s and newborns’ health in short sharp research reviews.

Date: Thursday 9th September, 6.00pm to 9.30pm
Venue: Fraser's Restaurant, Kings Park
Cost: $105 inc symposium, dinner and drinks. Purchase tickets here.


Tobias Strunk - Consultant Neonatologist, King Edward Memorial & Perth Children’s Hospitals
A novel approach to skin care in extremely preterm infants

Lisa Stinson - Research Associate, School of Molecular Sciences, UWA
Baby it’s cold outside: Effect of cold storage on the human milk microbiome

Erin Fee - Research Assistant, Women & Infants Research Foundation
Mum's (not) the word: further evidence that maternal antenatal steroid exposure does not benefit fetal lung maturation

Zoe Bradfield - Midwifery Research Fellow & Lecturer, Curtin University & King Edward Memorial Hospital
Maternity care in Australia during COVID-19: Challenges, silver linings and the way forward

Roberto Orefice - Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellow
Early Birth Prevention – The ACT experience

Laura Wijs - PhD Candidate, Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, UWA
The Long-Term Effects of Assisted Reproductive Technologies on Offspring

Both Stars events are accredited for continuing professional development hours.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) approved attracting 4 hours for full attendance
- 2 hours for Stars/2 hours for Rising Stars.

Australian College of Midwives (ACM) approved attracting 4 hours for full attendance
- 2 hours for Stars/2 hours for Rising Stars.

Download the Stars and Rising Stars event brocuhure here.


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Contact details

Women and Infants Research Foundation
Carson House, King Edward Memorial Hospital
374 Bagot Road, Subiaco, WA 6008

Telephone: 08 6458 1437
Fax: 08 6458 1642
Email: info@wirf.com.au

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