Hormonal & Reproduction SIG

SIG leaders

List of Investigators


  • Professor Andrew Whitehouse, Telethon Kids Institute
  • Professor Jeff Keelan, Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, UWA


  • Professor David Handelsman, University of Sydney
  • Professor Rachel Skinner, University of Sydney
  • Assoc/Professor Rob McLaughlin, Monash University
  • Professor Rob Norman, Adelaide University


  • Professor Craig Newschaffer, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University, PA, USA
  • Dr Graham Colditz, Washington University Reprogen: Genome-wide meta-analysis for menarche and menopause (international consortium)
  • Professor Katarina Main, University Department of Growth and Reproduction, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Professor Niels Skakkebaek, Department of Growth and Reproduction, University Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark

Overview of the current data resources available in the SIG area

The hormonal and reproduction SIG has access to unique resources to address the early life origins of reproductive health and disease including:

  • Sex steroid measures obtained during pregnancy
  • Sex steroid measures from the umbilical cord at birth
  • Prospective data on age at menarche
  • Evaluation of menstrual history, ovarian morphology and timed ovarian sex steroids at aged 14-16 years
  • Hormonal contraceptive use
  • Pregnancy data
  • At aged 20 years – testicular ultrasound, androgens and oestrogens, gonadotrophins, inhibin B and full semen assessment

Overview of current/recent SIG activity

Current/recent activity from the hormonal and reproduction SIG includes:

  • Describing testicular function in a birth cohort of young men and defining the association between early life events and adult testicular function in young men.
  • Defining the association between metabolic phenotype, NAFL and PCOS.
  • Describing the association between age at menarche and cardiovascular risk factors in young women
  • Defining the gold-standard for androgen measures in cord blood
  • Describing the association between umbilical cord androgen concentrations and a range of developmental outcomes in childhood
  • Describing the relationship between prenatal growth and developmental outcomes in childhood
  • Effects of antenatal exposure to steroids (androgens, estrogens and neurosteroids) and endocrine disrupters (BPA, phthalates) on sexual development, neurodevelopment and behaviour

Outline of SIG plans for next 5 years

  • To continue to monitor reproductive outcomes in order to determine the key early life factors which determine reproductive health in adulthood.
  • To establish the relationship between sex steroid exposures in early life and physical and emotional health in adulthood.
  • To collaborate with international groups to better understand genetic factors and gene-environment interactions in determining reproductive health outcomes.
  • Perform a comprehensive assessment of reproductive capacity of the Raine cohort at 30 years of age, involving hormone measurement, ultrasound examination, menstrual cycle tracking, semen assessment and sexual functioning questionnaires.

Brief list of potential student/early career researcher projects

Please contact the Hormonal and Reproduction SIG Leaders if you are interested in a research project incorporating Hormonal and Reproduction data and they will coordinate whom to contact within the group.

Top 5-10 key findings (with reference)

  • Clinical, ultrasound and biochemical features of polycystic ovary syndrome in adolescents: implications for diagnosis.  Hickey M, Doherty DA, Atkinson H, Sloboda DM, Franks S, Norman RJ, Hart R.  Hum Reprod. 2011 Jun;26(6):1469-77. doi: 10.1093/humrep/der102. Epub 2011 Apr 8.

List of indicative recent publications

  • Hart RJ, Doherty DA, Keelan JA, McLachlan R, Skakkebaek NE, Norman RJ, Dickinson JE, Pennell CE, Newnham JP, Hickey M, Handelsman DJ. (2016) Early life events predict adult testicular function; data derived from the Western Australian (Raine) birth cohort. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 101(9):3333-44. doi: 10.1210/jc.2016-1646. Epub 2016 Jun 24
  • RJ Hart, DA Doherty, RI McLachlan, ML Walls, JA Keelan, JE Dickinson, NE Skakkebaek, RJ Norman, DJ Handelsman (2015) Testicular function in a birth cohort of young Australian men. Human Reproduction, 30(12):2713-24. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dev244.
  • R Hart, D Doherty, H Frederiksen, Keelan, M Hickey, D Sloboda, CE. Pennell, JP. Newnham, NE. Skakkebaek, KM. Main. (2014) The influence of antenatal exposure to phthalates on pubertal reproductive indices in adolescent girls. Reproduction, 147(4): 379–390.
  • AJO Whitehouse, E Mattes, MT Maybery, Dissanayake C, MG Sawyer, Jones RM, Pennel CE, JA Keelan, M Hickey. (2012) Perinatal testosterone exposure and autistic-like traits in the general population: A longitudinal pregnancy-cohort study. J Neurodev Disorders, 4(1):25
  • AJO Whitehouse, E Mattes, MT Maybery, MG Sawyer, P Jacoby, JA Keelan, M Hickey. (2012). Sex-specific associations between umbilical cord blood testosterone levels and language delay in early childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53(7):726-734.
  • JA Keelan, E Mattes, H Tan, A Dinan, JP Newnham, AJO Whitehouse, P Jacoby, M Hickey (2012) Androgen concentrations in umbilical cord blood and their association with maternal, fetal and obstetric factors. PLoS One, 7(8):e42827.

List of current/recent grants

  • 2015; JP Newnham, J Dickinson and CE Pennell: Raine International Visiting Research Fellowship; Dr Brenda Kazemier, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam.
  • 2015; A Whitehouse, M Maybery, D Bishop, C Franks, S Fisher, P Jacoby, JA Keelan, A Murphy; “The role of early testosterone and brain laterality in language development (the TALK study)”; ARC Discovery grant; DP160101174: $415,000, 5 years (2016-2020).

Other Data

The Raine Study has extensive data on genetics, phenotypes, behaviours and perinatal and life course environmental exposures.