Uncovering the genetic link to preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy condition in which a patient develops new-onset high blood pressure and protein in the urine. It typically occurs in the second half of two to seven per cent of all pregnancies.

Unfortunately, there are no reliable predictive tests at present, nor effective treatments, other than delivery of the baby and the placenta.

Preeclampsia has found to be associated with other poor health outcomes for both mother and baby, including the development of cardiovascular disease later in life.

Like many other common human diseases, there is a large genetic involvement in the risk of developing preeclampsia.

Although a number of preeclampsia susceptibility genes have been identified, there remains a missing heritability for preeclampsia and genetic analysis of preeclampsia.

We are continuing the search for preeclampsia susceptibility genes by taking full advantage of recent advances in genomic analysis, including whole genome sequencing of transcriptomics and methylomics.

By using the whole genome sequence of families in the ‘Australian Preeclampsia Genetics Family Study’, we hope to make a breakthrough in preeclampsia research.

Through our research, led by Professor Eric Moses, our goal is to identify functional genetic variants associated with preeclampsia and gain a new understanding of the aetiology of preeclampsia to help identify women at higher risk.

PhD opportunities

Opportunities are available to work on this project, tailored to suit an honours, master’s or PhD project scope.

The project does not involve lab work and would suit a student interested in pursuing a research interest in statistical genetics.

A good understanding of statistics (e.g. use of SPSS or R) and some programming experience would be an advantage.

If you meet the eligibility criteria and would like to discuss a proposal, contact Professor Eric Moses.

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If you are interested in further research into the field of preeclampsia and its connection to genetics, you may find these papers interesting:


We work with the following institutes in conducting our research.






We have received significant research funding for our investigations into preeclampsia susceptibility genes, including from national health funding bodies in Australia and the United States. This funding includes:

Contact Professor Eric Moses