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Health Sciences staff profiles

Dr Melanie Laird

PositionPostdoctoral Fellow
DepartmentDepartment of Anatomy
Research summaryEvolutionary biology

Research

I am an evolutionary biologist with a specific research interest in marsupial reproduction. My PhD research focused on identifying the morphological, molecular and genetic changes that occur in the marsupial uterus to prepare for a successful pregnancy.

My work has a strong morphological focus that incorporates a range of molecular and microscopy techniques, including fluorescence and electron microscopy.

My current work at the University of Otago utilises my skills and background working with marsupials to investigate reproductive development in brushtail possums to reduce reproductive success. I’m specifically involved with characterising primordial germ cells- germ cell precursors- from developing gonads, with the ultimate aim of developing tailored, effective methods of manipulating the possum germline for eradication.

Publications

Laird, M. K., & Hore, T. A. (2021). Primordial germ cell expression of SSEA1 and DDX4 (VASA) in female Trichosurus vulpecula (Marsupialia) reveals conserved and unique molecular patterns during marsupial germ cell development. Reproduction, Fertility & Development, 33, 189-197. doi: 10.1071/RD20203

Laird, M. K., Hansen, V. L., McAllan, B. M., Murphy, C. R., & Thompson, M. B. (2020). Uterine epithelial remodelling during pregnancy in the marsupial Monodelphis domestica (Didelphidae): Implications for mammalian placental evolution. Journal of Anatomy, 236, 1126-1136. doi: 10.1111/joa.13162

Laird, M., & Whittington, C. (2019). The first known case of eggs plus live birth from one pregnancy in a tiny lizard. Science Education News, 68(3), 47-49.

Laird, M. K., Thompson, M. B., & Whittington, C. M. (2019). Facultative oviparity in a viviparous skink (Saiphos equalis). Biology Letters, 15(4), 20180827. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0827

Laird, M. K., McShea, H., Murphy, C. R., McAllan, B. M., Shaw, G., Renfree, M. B., & Thompson, M. B. (2018). Non-invasive placentation in the marsupials Macropus eugenii (Macropodidae) and Trichosurus vulpecula (Phalangeridae) involves redistribution of uterine Desmoglein-2. Molecular Reproduction & Development, 85(1), 72-82. doi: 10.1002/mrd.22940

Laird, M. K., & Hore, T. A. (2021). Primordial germ cell expression of SSEA1 and DDX4 (VASA) in female Trichosurus vulpecula (Marsupialia) reveals conserved and unique molecular patterns during marsupial germ cell development. Reproduction, Fertility & Development, 33, 189-197. doi: 10.1071/RD20203

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Hansen, V. L., McAllan, B. M., Murphy, C. R., & Thompson, M. B. (2020). Uterine epithelial remodelling during pregnancy in the marsupial Monodelphis domestica (Didelphidae): Implications for mammalian placental evolution. Journal of Anatomy, 236, 1126-1136. doi: 10.1111/joa.13162

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Thompson, M. B., & Whittington, C. M. (2019). Facultative oviparity in a viviparous skink (Saiphos equalis). Biology Letters, 15(4), 20180827. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0827

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M., & Whittington, C. (2019). The first known case of eggs plus live birth from one pregnancy in a tiny lizard. Science Education News, 68(3), 47-49.

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., McShea, H., Murphy, C. R., McAllan, B. M., Shaw, G., Renfree, M. B., & Thompson, M. B. (2018). Non-invasive placentation in the marsupials Macropus eugenii (Macropodidae) and Trichosurus vulpecula (Phalangeridae) involves redistribution of uterine Desmoglein-2. Molecular Reproduction & Development, 85(1), 72-82. doi: 10.1002/mrd.22940

Journal - Research Article

Whittington, C. M., O'Meally, D., Laird, M. K., Belov, K., Thompson, M. B., & McAllan, B. M. (2018). Transcriptomic changes in the pre-implantation uterus highlight histotrophic nutrition of the developing marsupial embryo. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 2412. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-20744-z

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Dargan, J. R., Paterson, L., Murphy, C. R., McAllan, B. M., Shaw, G., … Thompson, M. B. (2017). Uterine molecular changes for non-invasive embryonic attachment in the marsupials Macropus eugenii (Macropodidae) and Trichosurus vulpecula (Phalangeridae). Molecular Reproduction & Development, 84(10), 1076-1085. doi: 10.1002/mrd.22861

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., McShea, H., McAllan, B. M., Murphy, C. R., & Thompson, M. B. (2017). Uterine remodelling during pregnancy and pseudopregnancy in the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula; Phalangeridae). Journal of Anatomy, 231(1), 84-94. doi: 10.1111/joa.12610

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Turancova, M., McAllan, B. M., Murphy, C. R., & Thompson, M. B. (2017). Uterine focal adhesion dynamics during pregnancy in a marsupial (Sminthopsis crassicaudata; Dasyuridae). Anatomical Record, 300(6), 1150-1159. doi: 10.1002/ar.23535

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Hearn, C. M., Shaw, G., & Renfree, M. B. (2016). Uterine morphology during diapause and early pregnancy in the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii). Journal of Anatomy, 229(3), 459-472. doi: 10.1111/joa.12483

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Turancova, M., McAllan, B. M., Murphy, C. R., & Thompson, M. B. (2015). Unlocking amniote live birth: The 'other' mammalian model. Journal & Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 148(455-456), 52-59.

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Thompson, M. B., Murphy, C. R., & McAllan, B. M. (2014). Uterine epithelial cell changes during pregnancy in a marsupial (Sminthopsis crassicaudata; Dasyuridae). Journal of Morphology, 275(10), 1081-1092. doi: 10.1002/jmor.20282

Journal - Research Article

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