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Personal profile


Associate Professor Melinda Coughlan has a BSc (Biology) with Honours in Nutrition from Deakin University, and a PhD in Metabolism from the University of Melbourne. Her PhD focused on mediators of inflammation and oxidative stress in the development of gestational diabetes (Mercy Hospital for Women). After completing her PhD, Melinda joined the Baker Heart Research Institute as a postdoctoral researcher in Prof Mark Cooper’s Diabetes Complications Division. In 2012, she became the Head of the Glycation, Nutrition and Metabolism Laboratory at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. In Nov 2016, she was recruited to Monash University’s School of Translational Medicine as one of the key recruits to help establish the Department of Diabetes. Associate Professor Coughlan holds a REDI Fellowship from the MRFF and has research grants from the NHMRC, JDRF and Diabetes Australia.

Research interests

Dietary factors in the initiation of diabetes and its complications:

  • Maillard reaction products/advanced glycation end-products (AGEs).
  • Dietary constituents and incretins (GLP-1).
  • Ultraprocessed foods and gut microbial ecology.

Mitochondrial health in diabetes:

  • Mapping the mitochondrial bioenergetic signature of individuals with diabetic kidney disease.
  • Investigating pathways of mitochondrial quality control.
  • Validation of mitochondria-targeted therapies in pre-clinical models.

Identification of novel targets of therapy for chronic kidney disease:

  • Multiomic profiling of human renal biospecimens from subjects with diabetes and kidney disease.

University Service

Achievements and Awards

  • REDI Fellowship (MRFF)
  • JDRF Career Development Award
  • Nutrition Society of Australia Mid Career Research Award
  • Roche-Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology Senior Scientist Career Development Award
  • Australian Diabetes Society Skip Martin Early Career Fellowship
  • National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) New Investigator Project Grant
  • Registered Nutritionist (Nutrition Society of Australia)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Obstetrics & Gynaecology, PhD, Pro-inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of gestational diabetes mellitus., University of Melbourne

External positions

Member, National Committee for Nutrition, Australian Academy of Science

Mar 2108 → …

Member of Council, Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology

28 Aug 2022 → …

Adjunct Associate Professor, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences

15 Aug 2022 → …

Honorary Baker Affiliate, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

16 Nov 2016 → …

Research area keywords

  • Diabetes
  • Diet and nutrition
  • mitochondria
  • advanced glycation end products
  • processed food
  • dietary modification
  • Kidney
  • Diabetic Nephropathy
  • Metabolism

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or