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Research in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Women’s Health


Reproductive Medicine

The Reproductive Medicine team within the Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Women’s Health are led by Professor John Hutton.  They are involved in collaborative research with Professor Ken McNatty, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington.

The study is about the possible regulatory role of proteins from the human eg as measured in the cumulus cells around the egg in IVF patients undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection. This study began in 2009.

The team is also undertaking a clinical audit of the effectiveness of the management of infertility patients presenting with anovulation by using clomiphene initially and measuring only a single luteal phase plasma progesterone estimation rather than undertake follucular phase monitoring.

Please contact John Hutton for further information:


Other research within the department

Endometrial cancers - the type, grade, stage at diagnosis, and survival rates in the New Zealand Maori and non Maori population.

Thesis for the degree of Masters in Medical Science, University of Otago. The primary outcome of this study was to determine the type, grade, and stage at diagnosis of ECs in Maori and non-Maori population groups in New Zealand. A secondary analysis determined the 5-year survival rates between the groups.

Poor Compliance with Standard Precautions against infections during minor gynaecological procedures.

To determine the prevalence of the practice of Standard Precautions by medical staff in the obstetric and gynaecology (O & G) units of two hospitals in New Zealand, and to assess self observed splash injury rates.

Outcomes in HrHPV positive women with low grade cervical smears and normal or low grade initial colposcopy results.

The National Cervical Screening programme guidelines in New Zealand do not mention what the follow-up should be of women with HrHPV and normal or low grade abnormalities at colposcopy/biopsy. In this study we followed up women 30 years and older referred to Wellington Hospital from 1/10/2009 to 1/10/2011 with a LGSIL or ASC-US smear and positive HrHPV test. Those with a normal or low grade colposcopic result were followed over a 2 year period in order to determine outcomes.

Contact Dean Maharaj for further information.

Education research in Women’s Health

Title: Views of general practitioners on Otago University’s postgraduate programmes in obstetrics, gynaecology and women’s health

Team: Parimala Kanagasabai, Sara Filoche, Alec Ekeroma, Rebecca Grainger, Anthony Dowell, Helen Paterson

A survey was conducted to explore the views of General Practitioners (GPs) on the relevance of postgraduate women’s health curriculum to their current practice. We invited GPs and General Practice Education Programme (GPEP) trainees in New Zealand who finished postgraduate studies in women’s health (PGDipOMG or PGCertWHlth) at the University of Otago to complete an online survey (Qualtrics). The survey had 86 responses and we analysed 73 responses (13 responses were excluded as incomplete). We received 129 free-text comments. The overall curriculum was rated extremely/very relevant by 60 (82.2%) GPs, moderately relevant by 11 (15.1%) GPs, slightly relevant by 2 (2.7%) GPs and none considered it irrelevant. We identified the need for increased breadth and depth of gynaecological care curriculum with updated education resources. In particular, procedural skills such as insertion of implants and intra uterine devices. Detailed curriculum in obstetric care is no longer of high relevance to GPs in New Zealand. Many GPs (76%) expressed their interest towards refresher workshops in gynaecological care for updating their knowledge.

Contact Parimala Kanagasabai for further information.

Endometrial cancer

Endometrial cancer is on the rise on Aotearoa New Zealand, particularly in younger women. Therefore, a number of studies have been developed in this area:

  • Qualitative research into women’s experiences. Firstly, investigating barriers and facilitators to women seeking care for abnormal bleeding, using interview-based methods. Secondly, investigating women’s views on the Mirena for endometrial protection using survey-based methods.
  • Molecular profiling of endometrial cancer in NZ women. The study will assess whether the molecular profile has any impact on outcomes, and whether incorporation of profiling in routine clinical practice is beneficial and feasible.
  • Biomarkers for the response to Mirena treatment for early stage endometrial cancer. This study will investigate novel plasma-based biomarkers such as cell free RNA as prognostic tools in response to treatment. This will further include investigating mechanisms of resistance.

Contact Claire Henry for further information.