The 2024 – 2026 Norman Beischer Scientific Research Fellowship has been awarded to Dr Elena Tucker who strives to improve understanding, diagnosis and outcomes of female infertility conditions. With the fellowship’s $660,000, Dr Tucker who is a team leader in the Reproductive Development group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, will establish a national network of gynaecologists, endocrinologists and infertility specialists to recruit patients with a leading form of female infertility, premature ovarian insufficiency. She will then use state-of-the art technologies to analyse the multiomics of these patients (comprising their DNA, RNA and proteins) to discover likely genetic causes. These genetic causes will be tested using lab models such as fly models and human ovaries-in-a-dish derived from patient stem cells.

“There is currently gender inequity in health care, with genetic testing offered to individuals born with disorders of testicular development, but no such test offered to girls/women born with disorders of ovarian development.”

“My prior research has shown the positive impact genetic diagnosis can have to patient outcomes.”

By discovering novel genetic causes of premature ovarian insufficiency, Dr Tucker will improve the utility of genomic testing. She hopes her work will contribute to a paradigm shift in patient care, with genomic testing introduced into diagnostic guidelines. When a precise genetic cause is known it allows for personalised care including accurate genetic counselling and monitoring for specific health concerns that can benefit from early intervention. Family members can be tested and those at risk of ovarian decline can be identified before loss of their fertility potential.