Megan Wallace

Assoc Professor

  • The Ritchie Centre, TRF Level 5 27-31 Wright St, Clayton. Vic. 3168


1990 …2021

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


A/Prof. Wallace is the Director of Medical Student Research for the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and academic lead for undergraduate Biomedical Science teaching and Continuing Professional Development in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at Monash University. Megan also leads the "Development of Organ Systems" research group in The Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research.

Many events during fetal and early postnatal life can affect organ development with life-long consequences for the newborn infant. Megan's research seeks to determine the mechanisms that regulate normal organ development as well as determining the mechanisms that lead to perturbed organ development around the time of birth.

Megan is particularly interested in the lung because survival at the time of birth depends on the lungs being adequately developed. The lung undergoes an incredible transition at the time of birth because the placenta performs the role of gas exchange during fetal life, but the moment that the umbilical cord is cut, the lung must take on the role of gas exchange, a role that it has never performed before. If the lung does not perform this role adequately, the newborn infant may die or may suffer significant organ damage, such as brain damage, due to a lack of oxygen.

The main cause of "respiratory distress" at birth, is premature birth, because the infant is born before the lungs are adequately developed. As a result, these infants often require assisted ventilation, which is necessary for their survival but it can injure the lungs and cause them to develop abnormally. This abnormal lung development is called Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) and it is thought to be permanent.

Together with her collaborators at the Ritchie Centre (Prof Stuart Hooper, Dr Tim Moss, Dr Annie McDougall, Dr Marcel Nold and Dr Claudia Nold), at the Dept of Biochemistry, Monash University (Dr Tim Cole) and at the Royal Womens Hospital in Melbourne (Dr Jennifer Dawson and Dr Peter Davis), she is trying to develop tests to determine which babies sustain lung injury at the time of birth and are therefore at most risk of developing BPD. She is also trying to identify the mechanisms by which the lung develops normally, by which lung injury leads to this abnormal lung development and trialling new therapies to prevent abnormal lung development.

One of the main causes of premature birth is infection or inflammation of the uterus, placenta and fetus. Together with her collaborators in the Ritchie Centre (Dr Tim Moss) and at the Royal Children's Hospital (Dr David Burgner) she is also investigating the effects of inflammation on the development of the lungs, cardiovascular system and other organs.

After her PhD at Monash University, Megan did a 3-year Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. She then returned to the Department of Physiology at Monash and in 2010 she joined The Ritchie Centre.

Megan is an author on > 80 scientific articles and has been a Chief or Principle Investigator on 57 successful grants. She has supervised 21 Honours students (19 received H1 and 4 were the highest marked students in their cohort) and 9 PhD students to completion. Megan has also been a Director of PSANZ (2008-2012), Chair of the Victorian Branch of PSANZ (2007-2012) and Co-Chair of the 2011 PSANZ Congress.


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