Dr Julie Wixey

Senior Research Fellow

Medical School (GBCS)
Faculty of Medicine
j.wixey@uq.edu.au
+61 7 334 66027

Overview

Dr Julie Wixey is a Senior Research Fellow at the Perinatal Research Centre and Group Leader in fetal growth restriction research at The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR). She currently holds an NHMRC Investigator grant (2023-2027). Her research focusses on mechanisms, detection, and treatment of brain injury in fetally growth restricted babies.

Fetal growth restriction (FGR), where a fetus fails to grow normally in utero, is a leading cause of death and long-term disability with around 32 million babies born FGR globally each year. The fetal brain is particularly vulnerable to FGR conditions, and adverse outcomes cause life-long difficulties ranging from schooling and behavioural issues to cerebral palsy. These disabilities occur in up to 50% of FGR infants and have significant impacts on their lives. There is no treatment to protect the FGR newborn brain.

Dr Wixey is investigating how inflammation is associated with brain injury in the growth restricted newborn. She is examining novel detection methods of brain injury and applying different treatments to the clinically relevant growth restriction animal model, targeting both inflammation and blood brain barrier integrity to protect the vulnerable newborn brain.

Research Projects

• Mechanisms of brain injury in growth restriction

• Novel detection methods of brain injury in the growth restricted newborn using blood biomarkers

• Treatments to protect the growth restricted newborn from adverse brain outcomes

Research Interests

  • Neonatal brain injury
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Neuroprotection

Research Impacts

My research, using the clinically relevant animal model of fetal growth restriction (FGR), has:

1) provided new evidence that brain injury persists even after the FGR baby is born, and

2) demonstrated treating after birth protects the FGR brain.

My work exposed a novel opportunity to treat FGR newborns after birth by targeting inflammation to protect the FGR newborn brain. This attracted significant media attention with 16 national and international media outlets citing these publications. My ABC interview resulted in online and radio releases. Articles reporting on this research include Medical Xpress (United Kingdom), Readers Digest (Canada), Sydney Morning Herald, and The Age reflect interest extending from scientists to clinicians and general public.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor (Honours) of Science (Advanced), James Cook University

Publications

  • Adams, Rachael C, Carter-Cusack, Dylan, Llanes, Genesis T, Hunter, Christopher R., Vinnakota, Janaki Manoja, Ruitenberg, Marc J, Vukovic, Jana, Bertolino, Patrick, Chand, Kirat K., Wixey, Julie A., Nayler, Samuel P., Hill, Geoffrey R, Furlan, Scott N, Zeiser, Robert and MacDonald, Kelli P.A. (2023). CSF1R inhibition promotes neuroinflammation and behavioural deficits during graft-versus-host disease in mice. Blood Journal, 142 (Supplement 1), 2052-2052. doi: 10.1182/blood.2023022040

  • Teo, Elliot J., Chand, Kirat. K., Miller, Stephanie M., Wixey, Julie A., Colditz, Paul B. and Bjorkman, S. Tracey. (2023). Early evolution of glial morphology and inflammatory cytokines following hypoxic-ischemic injury in the newborn piglet brain. Scientific Reports, 13 (1) 282, 1-14. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-27034-9

  • Adams, Rachael C., Carter-Cusack, Dylan, Llanes, Genesis T., Hunter, Christopher R., Vinnakota, Janaki Manoja, Ruitenberg, Marc, Vukovic, Jana, Bertolino, Patrick, Chand, Kirat K., Wixey, Julie A., Nayler, Samuel P., Hill, Geoffrey R., Furlan, Scott N., Zeiser, Robert and MacDonald, Kelli P. A. (2023). CSF1R inhibition promotes neuroinflammation and behavioural deficits during graftversus-host disease in mice. 65th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Hematology (ASH), San Diego, CA, United States, 9-12 December 2023. Washington, DC, United States: American Society of Hematology. doi: 10.1182/blood-2023-184841

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Grants

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Supervision

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Available Projects

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Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.