Skip to navigation Skip to content

Centre for Human Lactation Research and Translation

On this page

The UWA Centre for Human Lactation Research and Translation forms a hub dedicated to advancing our understanding of breastfeeding and using that knowledge to address the challenges and support breastfeeding for both women and babies.

Our mission

Professor Donna Geddes

Professor Donna Geddes

Centre Director

Our mission is to create knowledge that informs evidence-based education and improved care for women and their families throughout the lactation period, ultimately leading to enhanced well-being and improved health outcomes. 

Our vision is to conduct interdisciplinary research into areas such as lactation biology, milk composition, breastfeeding challenges, and benefits for maternal and infant health.

Building upon our research findings we aim to develop cutting edge solutions for breastfeeding issues in collaboration with our Consumer Advisory Group, and entities such as the UWA Centre for Mothers and Babies and the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Next-Gen Technologies in Biomedical Analysis.

Meet the team

Professor Donna Geddes: Director

Professor Donna Geddes is human lactation scientist who has dedicated her career to advancing our understanding of human lactation and maternal-infant health. Donna has several leadership roles including, Head of the Geddes Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group, Director of the Australian Breastfeeding Research + Lactation Research and Science Translation Network, and Milk Sensor Lead and ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Next-Gen Technologies in Biomedical Analysis.

Clinical Associate Professor Mary Sharp: Co-Director

Associate Professor Sharp is the Medical Co-Director of Neonatology in the Child and Adolescent Health Service. She is a clinician researcher focused on the long-term neurodevelopmental and medical outcomes after preterm birth. She chairs the Family Integrated Care committee and is committed to empowering parents’ active involvement in the care of their preterm or sick infant.

Associate Professor Debbie Palmer: Co-Director

Associate Professor Debbie Palmer’s research focuses on nutritional strategies during pregnancy, lactation, and infancy to improve maternal and child health outcomes. Following 10 years of clinical paediatric dietetic experience, Debbie embarked on research predominately focussing on strategies for the prevention of allergic diseases in children. She has now conducted eleven nutritional intervention randomised controlled trials and the evidence generated from these trials has been translated into national and international allergy prevention guidelines.

Professor Mark Nicol: Co-Director

Professor Mark Nicol is a medical microbiologist in the Division of Infection and Immunity in the School of Biomedical Sciences. He also holds an honorary appointment at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has a passion for using modern molecular tools to understand complex microbial communities, investigating how imbalances in these communities cause illness and to develop and test better diagnostics for infections, particularly for diseases relating to poverty.

Professor Richard Vokes: Co-Director

Richard is a Professor of Anthropology and International Development at the University of Western Australia; Research Affiliate of Oxford University, and Research Associate of the Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip. He is also Director of the Ethnography Lab of Western Australia. As an Oxford University-trained anthropologist with 24 years’ fieldwork experience in Africa, Antarctica and Australia, Richard has led complex heritage management and development projects, around the world.

Jacki McEachran: Business Support Specialist

Jacki holds a Diploma of Project Management (Australian Institute of Management, WA). With a career spanning 20 years in various industries, 12 of those years with The University of Western Australia. Her role includes overseeing financial operations, implementing efficient processes, and fostering collaborative teams to achieve corporate objectives.

Strategic advisory board

  • Anthony Fortina
  • Professor Anu Rammohan

Area co-leads


Co Leads

Prof Donna Geddes, Prof Nicol, Prof Vokes & Dr Lisa Stinson.


Co Leads

Dr Zoya Gridneva & Prof Donna Geddes, Assoc Prof Debbie Palmer


Co leads

Dr Sharon Perrella & Clin Ass Prof Mary Sharp

In the realm of human lactation research every discovery is a step forward, illuminating the path toward improved maternal and infant health, one drop of breast milk at a time

Professor Donna Geddes

Centre Director

Contact us

Centre for Human Lactation Research and Translation

Location: Second Floor, Bayliss Building, UWA Perth campus.

Phone: +61 8 6488 2988

Email: [email protected]

Cookies help us improve your website experience. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.