1986 …2022
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Personal profile

Research interests

As a clinician active in fertility medicine, I recognize that infertility affects 1 in 20 men and that primary spermatogenic failure is the most common diagnosis. Yet for ~70% of such men there is no recognised cause, or effective treatment, or a non-invasive diagnostic to inform clinical management. I am committed to a better understanding of the molecular causes of infertility so as to advance this field. The proposed research will explore the role of a leading candidate gene in sperm structure and function and ultimately identify a specific cause and therapeutic pathway.

 

I am a physician-scientist in male reproductive health with a program of translational research in spermatogenesis, male infertility, assisted reproduction and reproductive endocrinology. I have led the male reproductive research program at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research since 2001. As a CI on consecutive NHMRC Program Grants, and as Director of Clinical Research, I have established an internationally-recognized research program in the endocrine and genetic regulation of spermatogenesis having made seminal contributions to the identification of the sites of androgen and FSH action in mammalian spermatogenesis using in vivo animal and human models. I am expert in the diagnosis and management of male infertility, gonadotropin deficiency and the genetics of male infertility. As Consultant Andrologist to the Monash IVF program I undertake translational research and the collection of biological samples, clinical data and the classification of infertility phenotypes.

 

I am a member of the WHO Male Fertility Regulation committee and of its Expert Working group for the evaluation and management of male infertility. Finally in the public domain, I am Director of Andrology Australia, a Federal Government initiative in research and community and professional education in male reproductive health.

Biography

Career summary: Rob completed an MBBS (Hons) 1977 from Monash Univ., FRACP 1984, PhD, Monash U. 1988 and postdoctoral training at Univ. Washington, Seattle 1988-89. Returning to Australia in 1990, he obtained continuous NHMRC Fellowship support (SRF1994, PRF 1998-2016). He is currently:

  • Head of the Male Reproductive Biology Unit,  Hudson Institute  (2001- );
  • Deputy Director, Endocrinology, Monash Medical Centre (2001- );
  • Honorary Professor, Dept Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Monash Univ. (2005- );
  • Consultant Andrologist, Monash IVF Program (1991-); 
  • Director of Andrology Australia (2006-), a Federal Government initiative in research and community and professional education in male reproductive health.

Research support: Grants past 10yrs: CI on NHMRC grants totalling >$25 million, incl. 2 Program Grants (2003, 2008) in reproductive medicine & 3 current Project Grants. He is CI on $4.5million other national and international grants, including from public sector and industry. As Director of Andrology Australia he has overseen the attraction of $1.2 million annually from the Federal Dept Health.

Awards: Rob has received 13 awards, and his research was recognized in 2002 by the Eric Susman Prize for research in internal medicine, RACP, in 2014 by the Hoffenberg International Medaland Plenary Lecture, Society for Endocrinology, UK, for outstanding contributions in the field. In 2016 he was awarded the Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to medicine in the field of endocrinology, particularly men's reproduction and health and to medical research.

Contribution to research:Most significantly in these areas: (1) Endocrine regulation of spermatogenesis: identifying site of androgen and FSH action; basis of male hormonal contraception; hormonal effects on cell junctional molecules and microRNAs

(2) Translational studies in male fertility: (i) clinical efficacy studies of androgen-based male hormonal contraception (ii) application of clinical DNA database of 2,500 infertile men to explore the genetic determinants of infertility; the role of Y chromosome microdeletions, and the transmission of genetic defects to offspring via ART, (iii) oxidative sperm DNA damage and proposed randomised clinical trial of antioxidants during assisted reproductive treatment (3) Androgen physiology: performance of placebo-controlled RCTs in obese middle-aged and older men to examine the effects of testosterone supplementation on body composition, cardiovascular & metabolic endpoints, and psychosexual and QOL outcomes. (4) Public health and psychosocial research: (i) CI of the ‘Men in Australia telephone survey’ [MATeS] that highlighted the high prevalence of male reproductive health disorders (Lancet 2006); (ii) follow up of the health and well being of ART-conceived children, and (iii) studies on psychosocial development of men with Klinefelter’s syndrome.

Rob has published231 original reports, reviews and chapters in premier general (Lancet, PNAS), endocrine (JCEM, Clin Endo.) and fertility medicine (Human Reprod, Fertil Steril) journals & books. Cited >10,700 times, h-index of 61; 34 of his publications have been cited >100 times. Over the past 10yrs he has had 57 invited presentations, 5 plenaries and 10 session/panel chairs to conferences. He has supervised 7 completed PhD students from scientific (4) and medical (3) backgrounds, 6 Honours, and 27 Endocrinology advanced trainees. In 2009 he developed annual Andrology Australia Fellowships (Monash and Concord Hospitals) providing specialised andrology training. Two clinicians are commencing PhDs in 2016.

Professional involvement: Rob has provided NHMRC project grant review for 12 external assessments. Editorial responsibilities include membership of editorial board: Andrology; Section Editor, ww.Endotext.org, Endocrinology of Male Reproduction (2000-present). Invited reviewer for leading clinical journals incl. Clin Endocrinol, J. Clin Endocrinol Metab, Human Reprod, NEJM.

In public outreach, he has had 41 community engagements in past 10yrs. Director, Andrology Australia; oversight of nation’s peak body in male reproductive health and its community (supporting >600 organisations) and professional programs (GP, specialist and indigenous health professionals).This world leading approach has been mimicked internationally e.g. Andrology America.

Peer recognition- World Health Organisation, member of 2 Subcommittees: 1) Male Fertility Regulation, 2) Infertility Guidelines Steering Committee. Past President, Fertility Soc of Aust. Past Secretary, Int Soc Andrology. Chair, Monash IVF Res & Educ Foundation. Scientific Adviser, Victorian ART Authority. Past Chair, RACP Specialist Advisory Comm. Endocrinology.

Program Organising Committees: Treasurer, Int. Federation of Fertility Societies 2001; Chairman, Endocrine Society Australia 2003, Chairman, International Society of Andrology Congress 2013

Andrology Australia: Director (2006-present); Member Management Committee (2000-) ; Co-chair of Longitudinal Male Health Study sub-committee; Chairman, Medical Undergraduate Curriculum Committee; Frequent public lectures on male reproductive health and press releases, provision of commentary by radio and TV, and articles via print and electronic media.

External positions

Director, Andrology Australia

2006 → …

Head of Andrology and Clinical Research, Hudson Institute of Medical Research

2003 → …

Deputy Director, Endocrinology, Monash Health

1997 → …

Keywords

  • men's health
  • male reproduction
  • male infertility
  • in vitro fertilisation
  • androgens

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

Projects 2012 2022

Research Output 1986 2017

Clinical review of 24–35 year olds conceived with and without in vitro fertilization: study protocol

Lewis, S., Kennedy, J., Burgner, D., McLachlan, R., Ranganathan, S., Hammarberg, K., Saffery, R., Amor, D. J., Cheung, M. M. H., Doyle, L. W., Juonala, M., Donath, S., McBain, J. & Halliday, J. 20 Sep 2017 In : Reproductive Health. 2017, 14, 117

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
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Open Access
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Development of a health promotion programme to improve awareness of factors that affect fertility, and evaluation of its reach in the first 5 years

Hammarberg, K., Norman, R. J., Robertson, S., McLachlan, R., Michelmore, J. & Johnson, L. 1 Jun 2017 In : Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online. 4, p. 33-40 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / Debate

Open Access
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Health outcomes of school-aged children conceived using donor sperm

Amor, D. J., Lewis, S., Kennedy, J., Habgood, E., McBain, J., McLachlan, R. I., Rombauts, L. J., Williams, K. & Halliday, J. Oct 2017 In : Reproductive BioMedicine Online. 35, 4, p. 445-452 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle