Michelle Lockhart

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Research Officer, the Women's Gynaecology  Research Centre 

Michelle Lockhart, BSc (Hons), PhD

Dr Lockhart began working at the University of Melbourne’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in May 2011.  She is a research officer in the Gynaecology Research Centre, where she had been able to apply her experience in molecular biology to the study of gynecological disorders. Dr Lockhart is currently working on an NHMRC funded project looking at the molecular mechanisms responsible for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (HMB).  Her current research looks into the changes in gene expression in the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) at menstruation from different classifications of HMB (regular, irregular and those associated with uterine fibroids). These genes include those that are involved with the growth and disruption of blood vessels, blood clotting, tissue breakdown and repair, and signaling molecules to name a few. We will also be using a model to examine the change in the expression of these genes during the withdrawal of progesterone (this triggers menstruation). We will also look at the effect of knocking down select genes on endometrial samples to further understand the gene pathways involved in HMB.

HMB is defined as excessive menstrual blood loss which interferes with the woman’s physical, emotional and social quality of life and it affects 10-30% of menstruating women. HMB is a significant issue for women of reproductive age and has major impact on female workforce participation. Normal blood loss is around 30mls and women with HMB can lose in excess of 80mls. HMB is associated with increased incidence in iron deficiency and anaemia. Dr Lockhart’s research in HMB will hopefully lead to the identification of changes involved in HMB and potential therapeutic targets to treat HMB.

Dr Lockhart obtained her Bachelor of Science (majoring in Biotechnology) with honors from the University of Newcastle. She then obtained her PhD from Murdoch University in 2010. Her PhD and collaborative work lead to 5 journal publications (including three first author publications), one review, one book chapter, four conference abstracts and two oral presentations at two international conferences.