Fertility and the Immune System - with Professor Sarah Robertson
In this informative episode I speak with Professor Sarah Robertson, Director of the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute and Head of the Reproductive Immunology research group about her fascinating research into fertility and the immune system. We discuss the role of the immune system in successful reproductive outcomes as well as the contentious issue of natural killer cells and why current popular treatment may do more harm than good! You will also learn way’s you can support healthy immune function to improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy . Professor Robertson is known internationally for innovative research in reproductive immunology that has formed the basis for a new understanding of the origins of health at conception. She has identified specific cytokines and immune cells that regulate embryo implantation and fetal development, and has demonstrated that male seminal fluid acts to induce adaptations in the female immune response that promote receptivity to pregnancy. Her work shows that the immune system channels environmental signals from both female and male parents to contribute to reproductive success and shape offspring phenotype through non-genomic pathways. These discoveries are improving practise in reproductive medicine and providing insight into early life origins of child health. Her work is funded by the NHMRC, the Australian Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Global Alliance for Prevention of Prematurity and Stillbirth / Gates Foundation.