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Health Sciences staff profiles

Professor Helen Nicholson

PositionProfessor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement)
DepartmentDepartment of Anatomy
QualificationsBSc(Hons) MB CHB MD(Brist)
Research summaryMale reproductive biology

Research

The paracrine control of reproductive processes in the male, in particular the regulation of prostate growth in health and disease. Clinical anatomy and medical education.

Prostate disease is common and affects many men as they grow older. Prostate cancer is now one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men and benign enlargement of the prostate affects ~ 50% of men over the age of 60 causing difficulty in passing urine. The group is investigating the regulation of prostate growth, in both health and disease, using both animal models and in vitro studies of human cells and tissues. Current studies relate to the role of the hormone oxytocin and members of the TGFß family in regulating prostate cell growth and the use of the possum as a novel model for studying prostate growth and regression.

Professor Nicholson also has research interests in the area of clinical anatomy.

Publications

Matthews, R., Smith-Han, K., & Nicholson, H. (2020). From physiotherapy to the army: Negotiating previously developed professional identities in mature medical students. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 25, 607-627. doi: 10.1007/s10459-019-09942-0

Perumal, V., Scholze, M., Hammer, N., Woodley, S., & Nicholson, H. (2020). Load-deformation properties of the ligament of the head of femur in situ. Clinical Anatomy, 33, 705-713. doi: 10.1002/ca.23492

Gould, M. L., & Nicholson, H. D. (2019). Changes in receptor location affect the ability of oxytocin to stimulate proliferative growth in prostate epithelial cells. Reproduction, Fertility & Development, 31(6), 1166-1179. doi: 10.1071/RD18362

Perumal, V., Woodley, S. J., & Nicholson, H. D. (2019). Neurovascular structures of the ligament of the head of femur. Journal of Anatomy, 234, 778-786. doi: 10.1111/joa.12979

Adstrum, S., & Nicholson, H. (2019). A history of fascia. Clinical Anatomy, 32, 862-870. doi: 10.1002/ca.23371

Flack, N. A. M. S., McClea, K., & Nicholson, H. D. (2017). Commemoration practices at Otago: Experiences from a bicultural society. In G. Štrkalj & N. Pather (Eds.), Commemorations and memorials: Exploring the human face of anatomy. (pp. 119-132). Singapore: World Scientific.

Chapter in Book - Research

Nicholson, H., Woodley, S., & Flack, N. (2016). Gluteal muscles and lateral rotators of the hip. In R. S. Tubbs, M. M. Shoja & M. Loukas (Eds.), Bergman’s comprehensive encyclopedia of human anatomic variation. (pp. 386-409). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. [Encyclopaedia/Dictionary Entry].

Chapter in Book - Research

Kieser, J., Whittle, K., Wong, B., Waddell, J. N., Ichim, I., Swain, M., … Nicholson, H. (2008). Understanding craniofacial blunt force injury: A biomechanical perspective. In M. Tsokos (Ed.), Forensic pathology reviews (Vol. 5). (pp. 39-51). Totowa, NJ, USA: Humana Press. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-110-9_3

Chapter in Book - Research

Nicholson, H. D., & Mirfin, K. (2001). Oxytocin increases activity of both isoforms of 5 alpha-reductase in the mouse epididymis. In B. Robaire, H. Chemes & C. Morales (Eds.), Andrology in the 21st Century: Proceedings of the 7th International Congress of Andrology. (pp. 229-233). Canada: Medimond Medical Publications.

Chapter in Book - Research

Nicholson, H., & Assinder, S. (2009). Male gametogenesis. In S. Fleming & S. Cooke (Eds.), Textbook of assisted reproduction for scientists in reproductive technology. (pp. 3-29). Freemantle, Australia: Vivid Publishing.

Chapter in Book - Other

Assinder, S. J., & Nicholson, H. D. (2007). Prostate disease: Prostate hyperplasia, prostate cancer, and prostatitis. In F. R. Kandeel (Ed.), Male reproductive dysfunction: Pathophysiology and treatment. (pp. 499-518). New York: Informa Healthcare USA.

Chapter in Book - Other

Nicholson, H. D., & Assinder, S. J. (2007). Physiology of the prostate. In F. R. Kandeel (Ed.), Male reproductive dysfunction: Pathophysiology and treatment. (pp. 81-91). New York: Informa Healthcare USA.

Chapter in Book - Other

Matthews, R., Smith-Han, K., & Nicholson, H. (2020). From physiotherapy to the army: Negotiating previously developed professional identities in mature medical students. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 25, 607-627. doi: 10.1007/s10459-019-09942-0

Journal - Research Article

Perumal, V., Scholze, M., Hammer, N., Woodley, S., & Nicholson, H. (2020). Load-deformation properties of the ligament of the head of femur in situ. Clinical Anatomy, 33, 705-713. doi: 10.1002/ca.23492

Journal - Research Article

Adstrum, S., & Nicholson, H. (2019). A history of fascia. Clinical Anatomy, 32, 862-870. doi: 10.1002/ca.23371

Journal - Research Article

Gould, M. L., & Nicholson, H. D. (2019). Changes in receptor location affect the ability of oxytocin to stimulate proliferative growth in prostate epithelial cells. Reproduction, Fertility & Development, 31(6), 1166-1179. doi: 10.1071/RD18362

Journal - Research Article

Perumal, V., Techataweewan, N., Woodley, S. J., & Nicholson, H. D. (2019). Clinical anatomy of the ligament of the head of femur. Clinical Anatomy, 32, 90-98. doi: 10.1002/ca.23299

Journal - Research Article

Perumal, V., Woodley, S. J., & Nicholson, H. D. (2019). Neurovascular structures of the ligament of the head of femur. Journal of Anatomy, 234, 778-786. doi: 10.1111/joa.12979

Journal - Research Article

Flack, N. A. M. S., & Nicholson, H. D. (2018). What do medical students learn from dissection? Anatomical Sciences Education, 11(4), 325-335. doi: 10.1002/ase.1758

Journal - Research Article

Reader, K. L., Marino, F. E., Nicholson, H. D., Risbridger, G. P., & Gold, E. J. (2018). Role of activin C in normal ovaries and granulosa cell tumours of mice and humans. Reproduction, Fertility & Development, 30(7), 958-968. doi: 10.1071/RD17250

Journal - Research Article

Asare, S., Nicholson, H., & Stein, S. (2017). You can’t ignore us: What role does family play in student engagement and alienation in a Ghanaian university? Journal of Higher Education Policy & Management, 39(6), 593-606. doi: 10.1080/1360080X.2017.1377968

Journal - Research Article

Croxford, K. P., Reader, K. L., & Nicholson, H. D. (2017). The potential role of transforming growth factor beta family ligand interactions in prostate cancer. AIMS Molecular Science, 4(1), 41-61. doi: 10.3934/molsci.2017.1.41

Journal - Research Article

Kennedy, E., Albert, M., & Nicholson, H. (2017). Do longus capitis and colli really stabilise the cervical spine? A study of their fascicular anatomy and peak force capabilities. Musculoskeletal Science & Practice, 32, 104-113. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2017.10.005

Journal - Research Article

Kennedy, E., Albert, M., & Nicholson, H. (2017). The fascicular anatomy and peak force capabilities of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Surgical & Radiologic Anatomy, 39(6), 629-645. doi: 10.1007/s00276-016-1768-9

Journal - Research Article

Ottley, E. C., Reader, K. L., Lee, K., Marino, F. E., Nicholson, H. D., Risbridger, G. P., & Gold, E. (2017). Over-expression of activin-βC is associated with murine and human prostate disease. Hormones & Cancer, 8(2), 100-107. doi: 10.1007/s12672-017-0283-8

Journal - Research Article

Perumal, V., Woodley, S. J., & Nicholson, H. D. (2017). The morphology and morphometry of the fovea capitis femoris. Surgical & Radiologic Anatomy, 39(7), 791-798. doi: 10.1007/s00276-016-1810-y

Journal - Research Article

Bai, M., Nicholson, H., & Smith-Han, K. (2016). Medical students’ experiences of practising medical procedures on patients, other students and themselves. New Zealand Medical Journal, 129(1444), 43-57. Retrieved from http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Journal - Research Article

Flack, N. A. M. S., & Nicholson, H. D. (2016). Historical perspective: Anatomy down the ages in Australasia; lessons for the future. Clinical Anatomy, 29(1), 4-10. doi: 10.1002/ca.22640

Journal - Research Article

Ottley, E. C., Nicholson, H. D., & Gold, E. J. (2016). Activin A regulates microRNAs and gene expression in LNCaP cells. Prostate, 76(11), 951-963. doi: 10.1002/pros.23184

Journal - Research Article

Perumal, V., Woodley, S. J., & Nicholson, H. D. (2016). Ligament of the head of femur: A comprehensive review of its anatomy, embryology, and potential function. Clinical Anatomy, 29(2), 247-255. doi: 10.1002/ca.22660

Journal - Research Article

Smith-Han, K., Martyn, H., Barrett, A., & Nicholson, H. (2016). "That's not what you expect to do as a doctor, you know, you don't expect your patients to die." Death as a learning experience for undergraduate medical students. BMC Medical Education, 16(1), 108. doi: 10.1186/s12909-016-0631-3

Journal - Research Article

Low, J.-Y., & Nicholson, H. D. (2015). Epigenetic modifications of caveolae associated proteins in health and disease. BMC Genetics, 16, 71. doi: 10.1186/s12863-015-0231-y

Journal - Research Article

McLean, A. J., Bond, C. H., & Nicholson, H. D. (2015). An anatomy of feedback: A phenomenographic investigation of undergraduate students' conceptions of feedback. Studies in Higher Education, 40(5), 921-932. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2013.855718

Journal - Research Article

Flack, N. A. M. S., Nicholson, H. D., & Woodley, S. J. (2014). The anatomy of the hip abductor muscles. Clinical Anatomy, 27(2), 241-253. doi: 10.1002/ca.22248

Journal - Research Article

Low, J.-Y., & Nicholson, H. D. (2014). Emerging role of polymerase-1 and transcript release factor (PTRF/ Cavin-1) in health and disease. Cell & Tissue Research, 357(3), 505-513. doi: 10.1007/s00441-014-1964-z

Journal - Research Article

Martyn, H., Barrett, A., & Nicholson, H. D. (2014). A belief in the soul may contribute to the stress experienced in the dissecting room. Journal of Anatomy, 224(3), 345-351. doi: 10.1111/joa.12122

Journal - Research Article

Ivell, R., Heng, K., Nicholson, H., & Anand-Ivell, R. (2013). Brief maternal exposure of rats to the xenobiotics dibutyl phthalate or diethylstilbestrol alters adult-type Leydig cell development in male offspring. Asian Journal of Andrology, 15(2), 261-268. doi: 10.1038/aja.2012.138

Journal - Research Article

Martyn, H., Barrett, A., & Nicholson, H. D. (2013). Medical students' understanding of the concept of a soul. Anatomical Sciences Education, 6(6), 410-414. doi: 10.1002/ase.1372

Journal - Research Article

Martyn, H., Barrett, A., Broughton, J., Trotman, P., & Nicholson, H. D. (2013). Exploring a medical rite of passage: A clearing of the way ceremony for the dissection room. Focus on Health Professional Education, 15(1), 43-53.

Journal - Research Article

Flack, N. A. M. S., Meikle, G. R., Reddy, M., Nicholson, H. D., & Woodley, S. J. (2012). Hip abductor muscle volume in women with lateral hip pain: A case-controlled study. Surgical & Radiologic Anatomy, 34(9), 847-855. doi: 10.1007/s00276-012-0970-7

Journal - Research Article

Flack, N. A. M. S., Nicholson, H. D., & Woodley, S. J. (2012). A review of the anatomy of the hip abductor muscles, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fascia lata. Clinical Anatomy, 25(6), 697-708. doi: 10.1002/ca.22004

Journal - Research Article

Martyn, H., Barrett, A., Trotman, P., & Nicholson, H. (2012). Medical students' responses to the dissection of the heart and brain: A dialogue on the seat of the soul. Clinical Anatomy, 25, 407-413. doi: 10.1002/ca.21219

Journal - Research Article

Sole, G., Milosavljevic, S., Nicholson, H., & Sullivan, S. J. (2012). Altered muscle activation following hamstring injuries. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 46(2), 118-123. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2010.079343

Journal - Research Article

Chapple, C. M., Nicholson, H., Baxter, G. D., & Abbott, J. H. (2011). Patient characteristics that predict progression of knee osteoarthritis: A systematic review of prognostic studies. Arthritis Care & Research, 63(8), 1115-1125. doi: 10.1002/acr.20492

Journal - Research Article

Martyn, H., Pugazhenthi, K., Gould, M., Fink, J. W., McLeod, B., & Nicholson, H. D. (2011). Seasonal changes in morphology and steroid receptor expression in the prostate of the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula): An animal model for the study of prostate growth? Reproduction, Fertility & Development, 23(5), 702-713. doi: 10.1071/RD10158

Journal - Research Article

Sole, G., Milosavljevic, S., Nicholson, H., & Sullivan, S. J. (2011). Selective strength loss and decreased muscle activity in hamstring injury. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 41(5), 354-363. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2011.3268

Journal - Research Article

Gould, M. L., Williams, G., & Nicholson, H. D. (2010). Changes in caveolae, caveolin, and polymerase 1 and transcript release factor (PTRF) expression in prostate cancer progression. Prostate, 70(15), 1609-1621. doi: 10.1002/pros.21195

Journal - Research Article

McGrath, C., Nicholson, H., & Hurst, P. (2009). Le long ligament sacro-iliaque postérieur: étude histologique de ses rapports dans la région sacro-iliaque postérieure [The long posterior sacroiliac ligament: An histological study of morphological relations in the posterior sacroiliac region]. Revue du Rhumatisme, 76(1), 62-66. doi: 10.1016/j.rhum.2008.02.022

Journal - Research Article

McGrath, C., Nicholson, H., & Hurst, P. (2009). The long posterior sacroiliac ligament: A histological study of morphological relations in the posterior sacroiliac region. Joint Bone Spine, 76(1), 57-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jbspin.2008.02.015

Journal - Research Article

Sole, G., Milosavljevic, S., Sullivan, S. J., & Nicholson, H. (2008). Running-related hamstring injuries: A neuromuscular approach. Physical Therapy Reviews, 13(2), 102-110. doi: 10.1179/174328808X252046

Journal - Research Article

Woodley, S. J., Mercer, S. R., & Nicholson, H. D. (2008). Morphology of the bursae associated with the greater trochanter of the femur. Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery (Am), 90(2), 284-294. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.G.00257

Journal - Research Article

Woodley, S. J., Nicholson, H. D., Livingstone, V., Doyle, T. C., Meikle, G. R., Macintosh, J. E., & Mercer, S. R. (2008). Lateral hip pain: Findings from magnetic resonance imaging and clinical examination. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 38(6), 313-328. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2008.2685

Journal - Research Article

Gould, M. L., Hurst, P. R., & Nicholson, H. D. (2007). The effects of oestrogen receptors α and β on testicular cell number and steroidogenesis in mice. Reproduction, 134, 271-279.

Journal - Research Article

Newsham-West, R., Nicholson, H., Walton, M., & Milburn, P. (2007). Long-term morphology of a healing bone-tendon interface: A histological observation in the sheep model. Journal of Anatomy, 210, 318-327.

Journal - Research Article

Nicholson, H. D., & Whittington, K. (2007). Oxytocin and the human prostate in health and disease. International Review of Cytology, 263, 253-286. doi: 10.1016/s0074-7696(07)63006-x

Journal - Research Article

Sole, G., Hamrén, J., Milosavljevic, S., Nicholson, H., & Sullivan, S. J. (2007). Test-retest reliability of isokinetic knee extension and flexion. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 88, 626-631.

Journal - Research Article

Whittington, K., Connors, B., King, K., Assinder, S., Hogarth, K., & Nicholson, H. (2007). The effect of oxytocin on cell proliferation in the human prostate is modulated by gonadal steroids: Implications for benign prostatic hyperplasia and carcinoma of the prostate. Prostate, 67, 1132-1142.

Journal - Research Article

Bell, C. J., Nicholson, H., Mulder, R. T., Luty, S. E., & Joyce, P. R. (2006). Plasma oxytocin levels in depression and their correlation with the temperament dimension of reward dependence. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 20(5), 656-660.

Journal - Research Article

King, K. J., Nicholson, H. D., & Assinder, S. J. (2006). Effect of increasing ratio of estrogen:androgen on proliferation of normal human prostate stromal and epithelial cells, and the malignant cell line LNCaP. Prostate, 66(1), 105-114. doi: 10.1002/pros.20327

Journal - Research Article

Nicholson, H. D., Samalia, L., Gould, M., Hurst, P. R., & Woodroffe, M. (2006). A comparison of different embalming fluids on the quality of histological preservation in human cadavers. European Journal of Morphology, 42(4/5), 178-184.

Journal - Research Article

Thackare, H., Nicholson, H. D., & Whittington, K. (2006). Oxytocin: Its role in male reproduction and new potential therapeutic uses. Human Reproduction Update, 12(4), 437-448.

Journal - Research Article

Fink, J. W., McLeod, B. J., Assinder, S. J., Parry, L. J., & Nicholson, H. D. (2005). Seasonal changes in mesotocin and localization of its receptor in the prostate of the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). Biology of Reproduction, 72, 470-478.

Journal - Research Article

Nash, L., Nicholson, H. D., & Zhang, M. (2005). Does the investing layer of the deep cervical fascia exist? Anesthesiology, 103(5), 962-968.

Journal - Research Article

Nash, L., Nicholson, H., Lee, A. S. J., Johnson, G. M., & Zhang, M. (2005). Configuration of the connective tissue in the posterior atlanto-occipital interspace. Spine, 30(12), 1359-1366.

Journal - Research Article

Assinder, S. J., & Nicholson, H. D. (2004). Effects of steroids on oxytocin secretion by the human prostate in vitro. International Journal of Andrology, 27, 12-18.

Journal - Research Article

Assinder, S. J., Johnston, C., King, K., & Nicholson, H. D. (2004). Regulation of 5α-reductase isoforms by oxytocin in the rat ventral prostate. Endocrinology, 145(12), 5767-5773.

Journal - Research Article

Fleming, J. S., Yu, F., McDonald, R. M., Meyers, S. A., Montgomery, G. W., Smith, J. F., & Nicholson, H. D. (2004). Effects of scrotal heating on sperm surface protein PH-20 expression in sheep. Molecular Reproduction & Development, 68, 103-114.

Journal - Research Article

Nash, L. G., Phillips, M. N., Nicholson, H., Barnett, R., & Zhang, M. (2004). Skin ligaments: Regional distribution and variation in morphology. Clinical Anatomy, 17, 287-293.

Journal - Research Article

Whittington, K., Assinder, S., Gould, M., & Nicholson, H. (2004). Oxytocin, oxytocin-associated neurophysin and the oxytocin receptor in the human prostate. Cell & Tissue Research, 318, 375-382.

Journal - Research Article

Assinder, S. J., Rezvani, A., & Nicholson, H. D. (2002). Oxytocin promotes spermiation and sperm transfer in the mouse. International Journal of Andrology, 25, 19-27.

Journal - Research Article

Jones, D. G., Dias, G., Mercer, S. R., Zhang, M., & Nicholson, H. D. (2002). Clinical anatomy research in a research-driven anatomy department. Clinical Anatomy, 15, 228-232.

Journal - Research Article

Phillips, M. N., Nash, L. G., Barnett, R. J., Nicholson, H. D., & Zhang, M. (2002). The use of confocal microscopy for the examination of E12 sheet plastinated human tissue. Journal of the International Society for Plastination, 17, 12-16.

Journal - Research Article

Edwards, A. D., & Nicholson, H. D. (2001). Demonstrating anatomy and the MRCS examination. Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 83, 294-295.

Journal - Research Article

Whittington, K., Assinder, S. J., Parkinson, T. J., Lapwood, K. R., & Nicholson, H. D. (2001). Function and localization of oxytocin receptors in the reproductive tissue of rams. Reproduction, 122, 317-325.

Journal - Research Article

Assinder, S. J., Carey, M., Parkinson, T. J., & Nicholson, H. D. (2000). Oxytocin and vasopressin expression in the ovine testis and epididymis: Changes with the onset of spermatogenesis. Biology of Reproduction, 63, 448-456.

Journal - Research Article

Edwards, A. D., Morgan, J., & Nicholson, H. D. (2000). Demonstrating Anatomy. British Medical Journal, 320(S2), 7239-7245.

Journal - Research Article

Jenkin, L., & Nicholson, H. D. (1999). Evidence for the regulation of prostatic oxytocin by gonadal steroids in the rat. Journal of Andrology, 20, 80-87.

Journal - Research Article

Nicholson, H. D., Parkinson, T. J., & Lapwood, K. R. (1999). Effects of oxytocin and vasopressin on sperm transport from the cauda epididymis of the sheep. Journal of Reproduction & Fertility, 117, 299-305.

Journal - Research Article

Burston, B., McNally, D. S., & Nicholson, H. D. (1998). Determination of a standard site for the measurement of bone mineral density of the human calcaneus. Journal of Anatomy, 193, 449-456.

Journal - Research Article

Frayne, J., & Nicholson, H. D. (1998). Localisation of oxytocin receptors in the human an macaque monkey male reproductive tracts: Evidence for a physiological role of oxytocin in the male. Molecular Human Reproduction, 4, 527-532.

Journal - Research Article

Freeman, B. J. C., Duff, S., Allen, P. E., Nicholson, H. D., & Atkins, R. M. (1998). The extended lateral approach to the hindfoot. Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery (Br), 80, 139-142.

Journal - Research Article

Harris, G. C., & Nicholson, H. D. (1998). Characterisation of the biological effects of neurohypophysial peptides in seminiferous tubules. Journal of Endocrinology, 156, 35-42.

Journal - Research Article

Harris, G. C., & Nicholson, H. D. (1998). Stage related differences of rat seminiferous tubule contractility in vitro and their response to oxytocin. Journal of Endocrinology, 157, 251-257.

Journal - Research Article

Jones, A., Greenwood, S., Edwards, J., McCulloch, A. F., Tobias, J., & Nicholson, H. D. (1998). Using special study modules to develop CAL: An evaluation of student author benefits. Active Learning, 8, 1-6.

Journal - Research Article

Baxter, G. D., Mabire, L., Liu, L., Connolly, M. J., Theodore, R., Brunson, J., & Nicholson, H. (2017). Seven things you need to know about men's health. New Zealand Medical Journal, 130(1463), 7-10. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Journal - Research Other

Kennedy, M. S., Nicholson, H. D., & Woodley, S. J. (2017). Clinical anatomy of the subacromial and related shoulder bursae: A review of the literature. Clinical Anatomy, 30(2), 213-226. doi: 10.1002/ca.22823

Journal - Research Other

McGrath, C., Nicholson, H., & Hurst, P. (2010). Branch blockade of the dorsal sacral rami [Letter to the editor]. Pain Medicine, 11(2), 281-282. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2009.00780.x

Journal - Research Other

Stringer, M. D., & Nicholson, H. D. (2008). Modern models are already being applied [Letter]. BMJ, 337(7674), 832. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a1966

Journal - Research Other

Zhang, M., Nicholson, H. D., & Nash, L. (2006). [Reply to letter to the editor Investing layer of the cervical fascia of the neck may not exist]. Anesthesiology, 104(6), 1344-1345.

Journal - Research Other

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