Students

Stillbirth CRE postgraduate students are based at our coordinating centre in Brisbane, and across our partnering and collaborating institutes

  • Ms Jessica Sexton

    Ms Jessica Sexton

    PhD candidate

    Mater Research Institute - The University of Queensland

    j.sexton@uq.net.au

    @JSextonMPH

    Jessica Sexton is an epidemiology PhD student. Prior to joining the Stillbirth CRE, Jessica earned a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science – Medical Laboratory Science from the University of New Hampshire in 2012, a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from Georgia Southern University in 2015, and will earn a Master of Science in Spatial Analysis from Johns Hopkins University in 2018. As an MPH student, she investigated the determinants of neonatal sepsis in Ghana, participated in environmental laboratory studies of Vibrio spp., and studied the 2014 influenza outbreak. Upon graduation, she earned a position working for the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention as an Allan Rosenfield Global Epidemiology Fellow in Lilongwe, Malawi. At CDC, Jessica was responsible for the design and implementation of surveillance programs designed to address the HIV epidemic and served as the point of contact for HIV drug resistance activities. In 2017, Jessica was honoured by United States Ambassador Virginia E. Palmer to receive a Franklin Award for her service and innovation through diligence, coordination, and skilled collaboration to improve use of laboratory data and health systems in surveillance and research studies in Malawi.

  • Ms Aleena Wojcieszek

    Ms Aleena Wojcieszek

    Associate Investigator; ECR lead: Care After Stillbirth; Co-lead: Care in subsequent pregnancies following stillbirth; PhD candidate

    Mater Research Institute - The University of Queensland

    aleena.wojcieszek@mater.uq.edu.au

    @aleenawoj

    Aleena’s research background is in health psychology and clinical perinatal epidemiology specific to reproductive health and decision-making. Her current work is focused on implementation science in the context of perinatal health, particularly improving mothers’ and babies’ health and preventing adverse pregnancy outcomes such as stillbirth.

    Aleena worked on the Lancet series on Ending Preventable Stillbirths, published in January 2016, where she co-authored two series papers and the series executive summary. She has also collaborated with the World Health Organization and Norwegian Institute of Public Health to develop global frameworks and customisable technical tools for electronic health registries for maternal and child health – coined eRegistries. Aleena is a Cochrane systematic reviewer and member of the Australasian node of the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group. She also works closely with the International Stillbirth Alliance and is a member of its scientific network and working groups.

    Aleena is an Associate Investigator on the Stillbirth CRE and Early Career Researcher (ECR) lead for its Care After Stillbirth program. She is currently completing a PhD on informing clinical practice for care during subsequent pregnancies following a stillbirth and co-leads the Stillbirth CRE's subsequent pregnancy research stream.

  • Ms Lisa Daly

    Ms Lisa Daly

    PhD candidate

    Mater Research Institute - The University of Queensland

    lisa.daly@uq.edu.au

    Lisa Daly is undertaking a PhD at The University of Queensland, jointly enrolled in the School of Public Health and Mater Research Institute. She has worked within the areas of reproductive health, clinician education and organizational governance over the past 20 years. Lisa graduated with a Master of Public Health in Reproductive, Adolescent and Child Health from Columbia University in 2003, and was selected for a USAID Population Fellowship with the African Medical and Research Foundation in Tanzania, leading behaviour change communication. More recently, Lisa worked with business development for The University of Queensland, managing eLearning initiatives within the healthcare sector.

  • Ms Anne Schirmann

    Ms Anne Schirmann

    PhD candidate

    Mater Research Institute - The University of Queensland

    anne.robinson@uqconnect.edu.au

    Anne Schirmann graduated from a Bachelor of Psychological Science from the University of Queensland, where she received several Dean’s commendations as well as a Dean’s Scholar Award. Anne has previously worked with Associate Professor Boyle and Professor Flenady’s team as a research assistant, working on autopsy consent and the ‘framework for respectful care after stillbirth’ projects before beginning her PhD research. Anne is currently completing her PhD in Public Health, through the University of Queensland, where her research focus is in the area of mental health and wellbeing of parents. Her PhD focuses on bereavement care, specifically, supporting parents in decision making at the time of a stillbirth. 

  • Ms Kate Obst

    Ms Kate Obst

    PhD candidate

    University of Adelaide

    kate.obst@adelaide.edu.au


    Kate is a combined PhD/Master of Psychology (Health) candidate in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Adelaide in South Australia. With a background in both psychology and public health, her research interests and experiences broadly relate to the health and wellbeing of children, young people and families. Under the supervision of Dr Clemence Due, Dr Melissa Oxlad and Professor Philippa Middleton, Kate’s PhD research is exploring the psychological impact of pregnancy loss for under-researched populations in Australia, with the aim of improving bereavement care guidelines for all family members who might be involved in the experience of pregnancy loss. Kate is also a youth research council member with Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, and in 2018, she was honoured to be awarded a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship to support her PhD research.

  • Ms Anneka Bowman

    Ms Anneka Bowman

    PhD candidate

    University of Adelaide

    Anneka.bowman@sahmri.com

    Anneka's research is focused on lifestyle risk factors, and their impact on stillbirth rates with a focus on high-income countries. She will be conducting an update to a previous systematic review of risk factors for stillbirth with a new focus on lifestyle risk factors. This review will be integral to establishing where we can modify behaviour, and implement action plans to prevent stillbirths in high-income countries. Anneka's hope is that research into evidence for lifestyle risk factors combined with a comprehensive review of data from the national perinatal dataset will enable health care programs to identify areas where we should focus efforts in the future to prevent stillbirth.

    Previously Anneka has worked as a clinical trial coordinator for the Women’s and Children's Health Research Institute, and for the Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children theme at SAHMRI in Adelaide. Anneka coordinated a large scale, multi centre, national study recruiting pregnant women to received nutritional supplements through their pregnancies. Prior to this Anneka worked as a research officer monitoring and coordinating national clinical trials with the International Musculoskeletal Research Institute in Adelaide.
    Anneka received her bachelor’s degree of health sciences (majoring in reproductive health) from Adelaide University, followed by a masters in research management and commercialisation from Queensland University of Technology.

    During her PhD Anneka will be supported by and working closely with SAHMRI, the Stillbirth CRE and Adelaide University.

  • Dr Vinayak Smith

    Dr Vinayak Smith

    PhD candidate

    Monash University

    Vinayak.smith@monash.edu

    Dr Vinayak Smith is currently undertaking his PhD with the Ritchie Centre at Monash University, supervised by Professor Euan Wallace. He undertook his MBBS at Monash University and graduated in 2011. He subsequently embarked on his Masters in Reproductive Medicine at the University of New South Wales and graduated in 2016 Whilst studying, he also undertook clinical work in Obstetrics and Gynaecology with a focus on rural and indigenous health with work experience in the Northern Territory and Queensland. This eventuated in him choosing it as a career path and he is currently undertaking his specialist training with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG).

    Amidst this, he also had the opportunity to get involved in the domain of medical technology which ignited his passion to help improve the outcomes in both Obstetrics and Gynaecology utilising medical devices. This served as a platform for his PhD which focuses on designing, prototyping and clinically validating new medical technology devices. In addressing stillbirth, his PhD focuses on developing an objective test to help mothers keep track of their fetal movements more effectively and alert them to episodes of reduced fetal movement which have correlation with fetal mortality and morbidity. This resulted in a collaboration with the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME) to develop a novel sensor to bridge this gap and clinical trials are currently being conducted to evaluate the device efficacy. In addition to this, other devices being investigated in various clinical scenarios include non-invasive fetal electrocardiogram sensors and virtual reality as a therapeutic modality as well.

  • Ms Haylee Fox

    Ms Haylee Fox

    PhD candidate

    James Cook University

    Haylee.fox@jcu.edu.au

    Haylee Fox is a health economics research officer and a PhD candidate at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Townsville. Hayley is currently working with Dr Emily Callander to complete her PhD, and has a research focus on perinatal and childhood health economics. Hayley has a clinical background in nursing, and has graduated with Masters of Public Health (MPH) and a Graduate Certificate of Research Methods.