Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Biomarkers and interventions in pregnancy and gestational diabetes Description Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a common metabolic disorder affecting 15-20% of pregnancies, and its incidence is rising in line with maternal obesity and advanced childbearing age. GDM is characterised by insulin resistance and is a known risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcomes including preeclampsia, macrosomia, and fetal abnormalities. It is also the strongest population predictor of type 2 diabetes (T2D), where up to 63% of women with GDM will develop T2D within 5 years of pregnancy. New research has yielded the concept that ‘diabetes begets diabetes’, suggesting that GDM not only predisposes the mother, but also the infant, to obesity and metabolic disorders later in life. An improved understanding of the mechanisms underpinning GDM development and the efficacy of current interventions are therefore of paramount importance to facilitate early detection and prevention of GDM and its sequelae. This project encompasses multiple aims as follows: - to advance understanding of the pathophysiology of hypergylcaemia in pregnancy and GDM; - to identify novel GDM biomarkers to facilitate early identification and prevention; - to evaluate the efficacy of nutritional, lifestyle, and pharmaceutical interventions for preventing or treating GDM and its complications; and - ultimately, to translate research findings into clinical practice to improve pregnancy outcomes and long-term maternal and child health. To achieve these aims, the project will encompass a multidisciplinary approach with ample opportunities for students to obtain key research knowledge and skills. Multiple methodologies will be utilized to achieve the research aims, spanning across the research continuum from mechanistic and epidemiological research, to clinical trials, large-scale meta-analyses, and translational activities. Ideally, this project would be suited for students with an interest in nutrition, metabolism and maternal health and with a passion for delivering research with impact.


Research output per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Dr Aya Mousa is a postdoctoral research fellow with the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. She was awarded her PhD in April 2018, which was a clinical research PhD in the area of diabetes prevention, with a focus on nutritional interventions including vitamin D. She also has a background in public health and health services research from her undergraduate and Honours degrees in Health Sciences, where she graduated at the top of her class for both degrees, recieving the Senior Scholar Award for having the highest grade point average (GPA) in her Bachelor's degree and the Honours Prize for again having the highest GPA in her Honours program.

Prior to commencing her PhD, Dr Mousa worked as a teaching associate at the University of Auckland in New Zealand where she taught epidemiology and biostatistics, quantitative and qualitative research methods, and public health research theory and practice. She then commenced her PhD where she consolidated her prior knowledge through formal coursework in advanced biostatistics and chronic disease epidemiology and obtained new practical skills in clinical research by conducting a clinical trial from start to finish and developing strong expertise in clinical trial methodologies and practical applications. She also performed large scale epidemiological studies and evidence syntheses with meta-analyses, and conducted fieldwork and translational activities.

Dr. Mousa has published extensively in the areas of metabolism, nutrition, diabetes, and pregnancy and possesses a unique skillset spanning across the research continuum from mechanistic and epidemiological research to clinical and public health research and translation. She has presented her work at prominent national and international scientific meetings and her work has been recognised with multiple awards and commendations including the Henry Krum Prize for Clinical Sciences, the Monash Health First Prize Endocrinology Clinical Research Award, and being nominated for the Victorian Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research. She also received a highly competitive Postdoctoral Bridging Fellowship, after which she was awarded an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship only 3 months after PhD conferral.

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


Research Output

Do curriculum‐based social and emotional learning programs in early childhood education and care strengthen teacher outcomes? A systematic literature review

Blewitt, C., O’connor, A., Morris, H., Mousa, A., Bergmeier, H., Nolan, A., Jackson, K., Barrett, H. & Skouteris, H., 1 Feb 2020, In : International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 17, 3, 23 p., 1049.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Histidine-containing dipeptides reduce central obesity and improve glycaemic outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Menon, K., Marquina, C., Liew, D., Mousa, A. & de Courten, B., Mar 2020, In : Obesity Reviews. 21, 3, 13 p., e12975.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
Open Access

Metformin in Pregnancy Study (MiPS): Protocol for a systematic review with individual patient data meta-analysis

Mousa, A., Løvvik, T., Hilkka, I., Carlsen, S. M., Morin-Papunen, L., Tertti, K., Rönnemaa, T., Syngelaki, A., Nicolaides, K., Shehata, H., Burden, C., Norman, J. E., Rowan, J., Dodd, J. M., Hague, W., Vanky, E. & Teede, H. J., 21 May 2020, In : BMJ Open. 10, 5, 8 p., e036981.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

Open Access

Reply to the Letter to the Editor from J. Matthews and C. Sale

Menon, K., Mousa, A. & de Courten, B., Oct 2020, In : Obesity Reviews. 21, 7, 2 p., e13043.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterOtherpeer-review


Australia New Zealand Obesity Society Early Career Researcher Award

Mousa, Aya (Recipient), 2018

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship

Mousa, Aya (Recipient), 2014

Prize: Other distinction

Best Oral Presentation Award

Mousa, Aya (Recipient), 17 Sep 2017

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


Clinical Science Poster Award Finalist

Mousa, Aya (Recipient), 2015

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Clinical Science Poster Award Finalist

Mousa, Aya (Recipient), 2017

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


  • 1 Contribution to workshop, seminar, course
  • 1 Editorial responsibility

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (Journal)

Aya Mousa (Editor in chief)

2019 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial responsibility

Australia and New Zealand Obesity Society Annual Meeting 2018

Aya Mousa (Organiser)

16 Oct 2016

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to workshop, seminar, course