Researcher Profile

Winthrop Professor Jeffrey Keelan

Jeffrey Keelan
Jeffrey Keelan

Phone: +61 8 6458 1880

Research Expertise:
  • Placental inflammation
  • Lipid-derived mediators in pregnancy
  • Preterm birth (prevention of)
  • Placental growth, development and apoptosis
  • Placental drug transporters
  • Placental nanoparticle transport
  • Pregnancy: obesity and inflammation
  • Antibiotic pharmacokinetics in pregnancy


Uni Auckland: MEDSCI201 (Introduction to Pharmacology and Toxicology): Lecturer and course coordinator.
Uni Auckland: MEDSCI720 (Biomedical research techniques) lecturer and course coordinator.
Uni Western Australia: ANHB3316, lecturer.
Other lecturing: Molecular Pharmacology; Reproductive biology; Placental pharmacology; Pharmacology in pregnancy.

Uni Western Australia:
IMED1108; ANHB2216; APHB5501;
MD Course (Foundations)


BSc Liv., MSc PhD Auck., FSRB

Current Projects

Contact Jeff Keelan for details (project availability is constantly changing).
See also list on ResearchGate

Previous Positions

Senior Lecturer, Liggins Institute and Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Auckland, New Zealand

New and Noteworthy

Scientific Director of Western Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Initiative.
Director of the Western Australian Pregnancy Biobank
Co-leader of the Microbiome Consortium of WA (MiCWA)

Editor of Frontiers in Inflammation Special Topics E-book on Prevention of Preterm Birth.


Australian and New Zealand Placental Research Association (ANZPRA, ex-president); Society for Reproductive Biology (SRB, Member and Fellow); Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI, Member); Faculty 1000-Reproductive physiology (member); Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ, member); Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR, member); American Nano Society (ANS, member); American Society for Microbiology (ASM, member); DOHaD Society of Australia & New Zealand (member); Telethon Kids Institute (Honorary Professor).

Funding Received

Since 2010:
2010: Co-applicant (CIB) with J Newnham, I Nitsos, A Jobe, NHMRC: “Effective treatment of Ureaplasma to prevent preterm birth”, $676,732 (3 years).
2011: Co-applicant with J Newnham, Channel 7 Telethon Trust: “Intraamniotic infection and preterm birth [Project 1]”, $352,000 (3 years). Total (Project 1 and 2), $500,000.
2011: Primary applicant (CIA), NHMRC, Equipment Grant: RotorGene-Q HRM Real-time PCR platform”, $63,000 (1 year).
2011: Primary applicant, Channel 7 Telethon Trust: “Placental pharmacokinetics of a novel macrolide antibiotic”, $85,000 (1 year).
2012: Primary applicant (CIA) with J Newnham, M Kemp and AC Charles, NHMRC: “Intraamniotic therapies for preterm birth”, $548,675 (3 years).
2012: Co-applicant with S Stock and MW Kemp, WIRF Starter Grant: “Production and function of amniotic fluid cationic host defense peptides”, $15,000, 1 year.
2012: Co-applicant with M Payne, MW Kemp, JP Newnham, WIRF Starter Grant: “Ureaplasma spp. in Australian women and association with increased risk of pre-term birth”, $15,000, 1 year.
2013: Co-applicant with MW Kemp, JP Newnham, J Rodgers and A Jobe: NHMRC Project Grant: “Second trimester intra-amniotic treatment for early preterm birth”, $378,877, 3 years.
2013: Principal applicant, Channel 7 Telethon Trust: “Nanosized Fetal Therapeutics”, $96,000, 1 year.
2013: Co-applicant with DJ Ireland, WIRF Starter Grant: “Characterisation of a new TAK1 inhibitor for the prevention of inflammation-induced preterm birth”, $15,000, 1 year.
2013: Co-applicant with M Walls, R Hart, WIRF Starter Grant: “Predictive markers of oocyte maturation and their relationship to oocyte quality and embryonic development ”, $15,000, 1 year.
2014: Principal applicant with Dr DJ Ireland, Channel 7 Telethon Trust: “Predicting Pregnancy Problems: The Amniotic Fluid miRNome Project”, 1 year.
2014: Co-applicant with Dr M Payne and Prof J Newnham, WIRF Capacity Building Grant: “Prevention of infection-driven preterm birth through development of a universal diagnostic test to identify high-risk pregnancies”, $105,000, 3 years.
2014: Co-applicant with Dr DJ Ireland, WIRF starter grant: “Predicting infection related risk of preterm birth – towards a healthier start to life”, $20,000, 1 year.
2014: Co-applicant (CIB) with JP Newnham, M Payne, D Doherty and R Allcock, NHMRC project grant: “Vaginal microbial biomarkers for the prevention of preterm birth”, $563,493, 3 years.
2015: Co-application with Prof Andrew Whitehouse: ARC Discovery grant, “The role of early testosterone and brain laterality in language development”, $415,000, 5 years.
2015: Co-applicant (CIB) with Susan Prescott and others: NHMRC Project grant, "Dietary modulation of maternal gut flora with oligosaccharides in pregnancy as a novel allergy prevention strategy", $1.68M, 5 years.
2015: Chief applicant, Channel 7 Telethon Trust grant “Western Australian pregnancy Biobank for High Risk Women 2016”, 1 year.
2016: Co-applicant (CIE) with F O’Gara, M Bunce, M Everard, S Prescott, P Richmond: “Establishing the West Australian Human Microbiome Collaborating Centre [WAHMCC]”, Telethon Perth Children’s Hospital Research Fund (TPCHRF, Strategic Research Initiative), 3 years $474,000 (2016-2018).
2016: Principle applicant, Channel 7 Telethon Trust grant, 1 year: "WA Pregnancy Biobank".
2016: Co-applicant (CIC) with CE Pennell and W Ang: “Targeting treatment success to prevent preterm birth”, Telethon Perth Children’s Hospital Research Fund (TPCHRF), 2 years $217,980 (2016-2017).
2017: Principle applicant, Channel 7 Telethon Trust grant, 1 year: "WA Pregnancy Biobank".

Future Research

Maternal immunity and its relationship to risk of preterm birth; amniotic fluid and placental microbiomes and pregnancy outcome; amniotic fluid miRNAs; bioactive lipid mediators from omega-3 fatty acid metabolism; innate immune system in fetal membranes; wnt signalling in early pregnancy/implantation; nanoparticulate drug delivery systems and placental transfer; intraamniotic therapies for preterm birth; antibiotics is pregnancy; endocrine disruptors in pregnancy.

Roles, responsibilities and expertise

Director, Women's and Infants' Health Research Laboratories.
Chairman, Scientific Advisory Sub Committee (SASC), WNHS Ethics Committee.
Director, Women's and Newborn Health Research Network, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Perth, WA.
Associate Editor, Reproduction Fertility and Development; BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth; Journal of Pregnancy
Editorial Board Member, Trophoblast Research.
Expertise: Immunoassay; placental cell culture; tissue perfusion; lipid analysis; cell signaling; apoptosis and cell viability; metagenomics; real-time PCR, RNA interference.


Jeff Keelan gained his PhD from the University of Auckland in 1994, moving from Auckland to Perth WA in 2007. Although his research was initially in the field of steroid biochemistry, where he specialised in assay development, his postdoctoral research has primarily focused on the study of the immunology, endocrinology and pharmacology of pregnancy.
He is Professor of Obstetrics and Head of Laboratories at the Division of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH), University of Western Australia. He is also Director of the Women and Newborn Health Research Network at KEMH and Deputy Director of WIRF (Women and Infants Research Foundation). He is Associated Editor of Reproduction, Fertility and Development and on the Editorial Board of three other Journals. He has supervised more than 43 postgraduate students and is the Graduate Research Coordinator of the School of Women's and Infants' Health.
His has published over 175 articles in the fields of immunology, pharmacology, obstetrics and endocrinology (>5800 citations; h-index 40) and received more than $14 M in competitive grant funding. His current research is centred on the pharmacological treatment of intra-amniotic infection/inflammation, nanoparticle-based drug delivery in pregnancy, the intrauterine microbial and endocrine environment, amniotic fluid metagenomics, lipidomics and toxicology.

ID: 150381

Most frequent journals
  • Placenta

    ISSNs: 0143-4004, 1532-3102

    W.B. Saunders Ltd

    Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 2.82 SJR 1.356 SNIP 1.037

    Journal: ERA2018

  • American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology

    ISSNs: 0002-9378, 1097-6868

    Mosby International

    Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 2.81 SJR 1.873 SNIP 1.848

    Journal: ERA2018

  • Biology of Reproduction

    ISSNs: 0006-3363, 1529-7268

    Society for the Study of Reproduction

    Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 3.17 SJR 1.611 SNIP 1.117

    Journal: ERA2018

  • Human Reproduction

    ISSNs: 0268-1161, 1460-2350

    Oxford University Press

    Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 4.62 SJR 2.605 SNIP 2.043

    Journal: ERA2018

  • Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes & Essential Fatty Acids

    ISSNs: 0952-3278, 1532-2823


    Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 3.17 SJR 1.345 SNIP 1.055

    Journal: ERA2018

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