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Better breath of life for premature babies

Babies born prematurely at less than 26 weeks of development have only a 10 per cent chance of surviving without brain damage. Some of this damage can be caused in their first 15 minutes by resuscitation efforts. Dr Graeme Polglase's research into respiration and blood flow is changing resuscitation procedures and improving the survival odds for these newborns.

An internationally recognised physiologist Dr Polglase is leading authority on the role of pulmonary, cardiovascular, and cerebral circulation in organ inflammation and injury in preterm and compromised infants. A Monash University Graduate, he completed his PhD in 2005. Dr Polglase was recruited to join the Department of Women's and Infants' Health, the University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, which was running the largest perinatal ovine research program in the world. Following his promotion to Manager in 2008, he took over primary responsibility for running all animal studies. In 2010, Dr Polglase joined The Ritchie Centre, Monash University and Hudson Institute of Medical Research, where he established the Perinatal Transition Research Group in 2011 to influence clinical practise in the management of preterm and compromised infant care. Translation of his findings continues to improve treatment outcomes as evidenced by his publications cited in Australian, European, and International resuscitation guidelines, and multiple invitations so speak at National and International clinical meetings.

Recognised by the NHMRC with Early Career and Career Development Fellowships, Dr Polglase was the inaugural recipient of the Rebecca L. Cooper Medical Research Fellowship and significant funding from the NIH. He has also received funding from the National Heart Foundation of Australia, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and Financial Markets for Children.

Dr Polglase is working to improve respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological outcomes of infants born preterm single greatest cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. His findings continue to expand understanding of how key events during fetal development, birth, and post delivery influence the pulmonary, cardiovascular, and cerebral circulation lead to organ inflammation and injury to improve outcomes. As the single greatest cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality, he hopes this work will improve outcomes for some of our tiniest patients.


  • fetal and neonatal circulation and brain injury
  • fetal physiology
  • neonatal physiology
  • respiratory function
  • cardiovascular function
  • circulation

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Projects 2011 2022

Research Output 2004 2018

Effects of intrauterine inflammation on cortical gray matter of near-term lambs

Stojanovska, V., Atik, A., Nitsos, I., Skiöld, B., Barton, S. K., Zahra, V. A., Rodgers, K., Hooper, S. B., Polglase, G. R. & Galinsky, R., 1 Jan 2018, In : Frontiers in Pediatrics. 6, 145.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Human umbilical cord blood therapy protects cerebral white matter from systemic LPS exposure in preterm fetal sheep

Paton, M. C. B., Allison, B. J., Li, J., Fahey, M. C., Sutherland, A. E., Nitsos, I., Bischof, R. J., Dean, J. M., Moss, T. J. M., Polglase, G. R., Jenkin, G., McDonald, C. A. & Miller, S. L., 1 Oct 2018, In : Developmental Neuroscience. 40, 3, p. 258-270 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Moderate preterm birth affects right ventricular structure and function and pulmonary artery blood flow in adult sheep

Mrocki, M. M., Nguyen, V. B., Lombardo, P., Sutherland, M. R., Bensley, J. G., Nitsos, I., Allison, B. J., Harding, R., De Matteo, R., Schneider, M., Polglase, G. R. & Black, M. J., 1 Dec 2018, In : Journal of Physiology. 596, 23, p. 5965-5975 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Morphology and function of the lamb ileum following preterm birth

Flores, T. J., Nguyen, V. B., Widdop, R. E., Sutherland, M. R., Polglase, G. R., Abud, H. E. & Black, M. J., 29 Jan 2018, In : Frontiers in Pediatrics. 6, 11 p., 8.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

The effect of sex and prematurity on the cardiovascular baroreflex response in sheep

Allison, B. J., Nguyen, V. B., Yiallourou, S., Nitsos, I., Black, M. J. & Polglase, G., 1 Jan 2018, In : Experimental Physiology. 103, 1, p. 9-18 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review