University of Western Australia: Singapore plans for Sean after prestigious scholarship win

A preterm birth researcher at The University of Western Australia is planning to undertake his PhD at the National University of Singapore after winning a prestigious John Monash Scholarship.

Dr Sean Carter, who is also an obstetrics and gynaecology registrar at Perth’s King Edward Memorial Hospital, was one of 18 scholarship recipients recently announced by the General Sir John Monash Foundation, Australia’s most recognised postgraduate overseas study program.

For the past few years, Dr Carter has worked closely with the Women & Infants Research Foundation (WIRF) at King Edward in investigating the prevention and management of preterm birth using new technology.

His research focuses on the continued development of WIRF’s Artificial Placenta for babies born extremely preterm, as well as the use of antenatal corticosteroids in the management of preterm birth.

The 34-year-old, who grew up in Cottesloe and now lives in Fremantle, first became involved in clinical research as a UWA medical student working in the University’s clinical research facility, colloquially known as ‘The Sheep Shed’.

He said he intended to use his time in Singapore to further investigate the role antenatal corticosteroids might play in premature births.

“My PhD research will blend clinical studies with new corticosteroid drug formulations, sheep and laboratory studies involving artificial intelligence and advanced molecular techniques to study preterm lung maturation and the effects of antenatal corticosteroids,” he said.

After completing his PhD, Dr Carter hopes to return to WA as an obstetrics and gynaecology senior registrar at King Edwards, with longer-term plans to become a maternal fetal medicine specialist.

“I want to care for the highest risk pregnancies, and in doing so, directly contribute to the health and wellbeing for women and babies born in Australia,” he said.

“My time working with WIRF’s Professor Matt Kemp from the National University of Singapore and Professor John Newnham AM from UWA has already been of immeasurable value to me in driving my research endeavour and I look forward to continuing under their supervision for my PhD.”

WIRF Chief Scientific Director Professor Newnham said Dr Carter would play a key role in a new era of perinatology “ensuring that Western Australia remains a global leader in research in this area and in finding new solutions to the problems that emerge during the perinatal period”.

“We wait with great anticipation for the results from Sean’s research and the bilateral research opportunities he is able to promote between the National University of Singapore and The University of Western Australia,” Professor Newnham said.

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