Men’s reproductive health research to gain from German funding renewal



Kate Loveland

Research into men’s reproductive health will significantly benefit from renewed funding of an International Research Training Group between Monash University and Justus-Liebig University in Germany.

Germany’s peak research funding body, the German Research Foundation, announced last month that funding for Molecular Pathogenesis of Male Reproductive Disorders, a training program for a new generation of researchers will be extended for a further 4.5 years until 2022.

The funding renewal will provide more than $6.24 m Euros for the research partnership, with a further $3.66 m AUD committed from Monash University, the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences that includes 11 tuition and living stipend scholarships,” said Professor Kate Loveland, Co-leader of the International Research Training Group for Justus-Liebig and Monash Universities and Head of Postgraduate Research Studies at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health and of the Centre for Reproductive Health in the Hudson Institute of Medical Research.

According to the World Health Organisation, reproductive and sexual health issues account for 14% of the global burden of ill-health in men.

Professor Loveland said the IRTG program brings together basic and clinical scientists working in different fields of reproductive medicine and focuses on a bench to bedside approach to diagnose and treat men’s reproductive health disorders.

We focus on innovative research to discover new therapies for the diagnosis and treatment of male infertility, testicular and prostate cancers and inflammatory disorders of the male reproductive tract,” said Professor Loveland.

The IRTG created a co-badged doctoral training program between Monash and JLU to equip early career scientists with the expertise, knowledge and collaborations to address reproductive health problems in men.”

Early career scientists undertake their doctoral studies at both universities and receive highly specialised training in basic and translational research from internationally-recognised experts.

The current IRTG program (2013-17) has more than 15 PhD students enrolled, with the first four students already graduating with a joint PhD from Monash and JLU.  All were awarded the highest honours for thesis excellence at JLU.“

To date this program has resulted in more than 30 student presentations at national and international meetings and more than 30 original research articles and reviews published in leading journals in the field,” Professor Loveland said.

In the renewed program, we will be recruiting at least 22 PhD students, and these students will spend time at both Monash and JLU working in laboratories at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research at Monash Medical Centre, as well as at the Monash Clayton Campus in the Biomedical Discovery Research Institute and School of Biological Sciences and in the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Monash Parkville campus,” she said.