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Rebecca Dyson 2019 thumbnailBBiomedSci(Hons), PhD

Dr Rebecca Dyson completed her PhD at the Priority Research Centre for Pregnancy and Reproduction, University of Newcastle, and the Mothers and Babies Research Centre, Hunter Medical Research Institute. Throughout her PhD, in parallel with mechanistic animal studies, she demonstrated how early neonatal compromise following preterm birth was associated with poor (micro)vascular function in the newborn infant, and that this is driven by imbalances in vasoactive molecules. Specifically, she identified a significant increase in the circulating concentration of vasodilatory gasotransmitters in those babies with the greatest haemodynamic compromise. Following completion of her PhD (2014), Rebecca completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health Research, University of Wollongong, and Illawarra Health & Medical Research Institute, Australia. In 2015 Rebecca was awarded travel funds through the University of Wollongong's Global Challenges Fund to establish a collaboration with University of Otago Wellington, to further develop the guinea pig model of long-term (mal)adaptation following perinatal compromise with Dr Max Berry. This led to the award of a Health Sciences Career Development Programme Fellowship in Paediatrics and Child Health in 2016.

Research themes identified during Rebecca's PhD, combined with the increasing human data indicating cardiovascular dysfunction in adult humans born preterm, have directed her current research interest into not just the immediate outcomes for preterm babies, but also the life-course cardiovascular sequelae of preterm birth and other events which alter developmental trajectory. With her clinically-based research group – The Perinatal and Developmental Physiology Group of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at UOW, she is investigating the long-term cardiovascular effects of perinatal compromise, specifically the sex-specific, age-related changes in cardiac, macro- and micro- vascular structure and function; and autonomic function at the level of the heart and microvasculature.

Contact Details

Centre for Translational Society
Whaiaroaro Whakawhiti
University of Otago, Wellington
PO Box 7343
Wellington South

Current roles

  • Research Fellow, Perinatal & Developmental Physiology Group, Paediatrics & Child Health
  • Senior Scientific Officer, Biomedical Research Unit
  • Treasurer, Perinatal Society of New Zealand
  • NZ Young Investigator Representative, Australia and New Zealand Microcirculation Society

Research interests

  • perinatal physiology
  • preterm birth
  • developmental programming of health and disease
  • microcirculation
  • sympathetic innervation / autonomic function
  • development of animal models of health and disease
  • translational biomedical research


Shaw, J. C., Palliser, H. K., Dyson, R. M., Berry, M. J., & Hirst, J. J. (2018). Disruptions to the cerebellar GABAergic system in juvenile guinea pigs following preterm birth. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 65, 1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2017.10.002 Journal - Research Article

Dyson, R. M., Palliser, H. K., Wilding, N., Kelly, M. A., Chwatko, G., Glowacki, R., Berry, M. J., … Wright, I. M. R. (2019). Microvascular circulatory dysregulation driven in part by cystathionine-gamma-lyase: A new paradigm for cardiovascular compromise in the preterm newborn. Microcirculation, 26, e12507. doi: 10.1111/micc.12507 Journal - Research Article

Morrison, J. L., Botting, K. J., Darby, J. R. T., David, A. L., Dyson, R. M., Gatford, K. L., Gray, C., … Berry, M. J. (2018). Guinea pig models for translation of the developmental origins of health and disease hypothesis into the clinic. Journal of Physiology, 596(23), 5535-5569. doi: 10.1113/JP274948 Journal - Research Article

Shaw, J. C., Dyson, R. M., Palliser, H. K., Gray, C., Berry, M. J., & Hirst, J. J. (2019). Neurosteroid replacement therapy using the allopregnanolone-analogue ganaxolone following preterm birth in male guinea pigs. Pediatric Research, 85, 86-96. doi: 10.1038/s41390-018-0185-7 Journal - Research Article

Berry, M. J., Saito-Benz, M., Gray, C., Dyson, R. M., Dellabarca, P., Ebmeier, S., … Elder, D. E., & Richardson, V. F. (2017). Outcomes of 23- and 24-weeks gestation infants in Wellington, New Zealand: A single centre experience. Scientific Reports, 7, 12769. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12911-5 Journal - Research Article

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