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Otago Medical School 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 focussed 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., 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

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

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., 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

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., 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

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

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., 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

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

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

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

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.

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

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