Developing Novel Devices to Detect Fetal Distress
Free Public Lecture
Peter Doherty Institute
Pregnancy and birth are among the most dangerous days of your life. Stillbirth tragically ends 3 million pregnancies globally every year and fetal asphyxia inflicted by labour is a leading cause of neonatal seizures, cerebral palsy and death.
While the causes of stillbirth and fetal asphyxia in labour are heterogenous, perhaps there is a common pathway of fetal distress linking them. Unfortunately measures of fetal wellbeing during pregnancy and direct measures of fetal distress during labour are intermittent, and often miss the critical point when a life-saving birth could be performed. Excitingly, together with a multidisciplinary team of biomedical engineers, physicists, chemical engineers and clinicians, researchers at the University of Melbourne are developing devices to continuously measure fetal distress in pregnancy and measure a direct marker of fetal distress during labour.
Dr Fiona Brownfoot, Senior Lecturer
Dr Fiona Brownfoot
University of Melbourne
Dr Fiona Brownfoot is a clinician scientist at The University of Melbourne and obstetrician at the Mercy Hospital for Women. She has had a longstanding interest in developing novel therapeutics for preeclampsia and has translated metformin and sulfasalazine from laboratory assay through to clinical trial. More recently she has developed an interest in novel biomedical engineering technologies to reduce the most devastating pregnancy complications of stillbirth and cerebral palsy. She heads a multidisciplinary team of physicists, chemists, materials engineers and software engineers. Together they are utilizing novel fibre optic technology, flexible electrical hardware and artificial intelligence to develop innovative devices to detect fetal distress during pregnancy and labour.