Dr Kelsi Dodds started her research career examining contractions of the uterus throughout the reproductive cycle (PMID: 25926436). Igniting a passion for research into female reproductive health and disease, Dr Dodds then undertook a PhD at the University of Adelaide, Australia, which explored the role of spinal glial cells in the development of endometriosis and pelvic pain. Major findings from this research program include:
- The development of a novel, “naïve” mouse model of endometriosis that does not involve surgery or manipulation of sex hormones (PMID: 29069288). This model is now adopted globally by several other research groups.
- The first demonstration that spinal glia (microglia and astrocytes) may be involved in generating pain associated with endometriosis (PMID: 29730970). This represents a paradigm shift in the field where previously only nerves had been considered.
Throughout her PhD, Dr Dodds was fortunate to interact with pelvic pain patients, hearing of the daily burden their conditions (e.g., endometriosis, dysmenorrhoea) had on their lives. For many women, available medical management options for pain were (and still are) largely invasive and/or ineffective. Considering this need, Dr Dodds returned to foundational physiological research to study pain signalling pathways from the female reproductive tract.
In her current postdoctoral position here at Flinders University with Prof Nick Spencer (Visceral Neurophysiology Laboratory, FHMRI), Dr Dodds heads uterine physiology research that principally examines the anatomy and function of sensory nerves innervating the uterus. Her experiments utilise a range of cutting-edge research tools, including genetically engineered mice, optogenetics, and novel surgical techniques developed in-house. Current projects are generously funded by the Flinders Foundation and have a primary interest in determining how pain information is transmitted from the uterus to the central nervous system.
Doctor of Philosophy - University of Adelaide, 2018
Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) - University of Adelaide, 2011
Dr Dodds has received numerous awards and international esteem for her research thus far, notably including a personal invitation to participate in the World Endometriosis Research Foundation (WERF) Consortium on harmonising experimental models of endometriosis (pain behaviour and homologous rodent models).
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