Research Supervisor Connect

Pregnancy and Maternal Oral Health


Background: Recently, a number of studies have shown that poor oral health may impact on general health. Periodontal diseases have been identified as an independent risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcomes including low birth weight. The mechanistic pathways may include microbial dissemination and/or increased levels of inflammatory mediators leading to immune dysregulation of the pregnant woman and unborn child. To prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes and the understanding of pathological pathways is fundamental.

Aim: The study proposes to look at whether periodontal diseases are associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes and identify associated changes in the maternal immune response.


Professor Ralph Nanan.

Research location

Nepean - Nepean Clinical School

Program type



Projects in this proposal :
a) We will compare and correlate the oral health status with systemic inflammatory serum markers (CRP, IL6, TNFa, etc.)
b) Determine the numbers and phenotypes of innate and adaptive immune cell subsets (T regulatory, TH17 and dendritic cells) in peripheral blood, decidual tissues and cord blood.
c) Compare maternal oral microbiome with placental, vaginal and gut microbiome
d) Record the dietary intake during pregnancy using a validated food frequency questionaire
e) Measure fetal growth parameters, including the development of the fetal thymus measured by ultrasound.Significance: The projects will elucidate the association between diet, oral health and the most significant adverse pregnancy outcomes. It will also establish the association between maternal oral health and fetal immune programming. It has the potential to generate important pilot data for future clinical trials seeking to improve oral health and consequently leading to improved maternal and child health.

Additional information

Funding: The candidate will be expected to obtain a post-graduate scholarship with assistance from this Supervisor when applying for this opportunity. See the Scholarships Office website for further information.

A supplementary scholarship is available to a Masters/PhD candidate who is successful in receiving a primary scholarship from the University of Sydney that provides a stipend allowance. The supplementary scholarship will provide an annual stipend allowance of $10,000 per annum (fixed rate) for up to two years for a Masters by Research, or three years for a PhD, subject to satisfactory academic performance

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2245

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