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Dr E. Marelyn Wintour-Coghlan

Dr E. Marelyn Wintour-Coghlan spent over 46 years as a physiologist.

Honour Roll

In addition to achieving many advances in knowledge, Marelyn was among the first to apply the techniques of molecular biology to her chosen field. To date, she has produced over 230 scientific publications, mainly on the endocrinology of the pregnant mother and the developing foetus and on the effects of short periods of stress in early pregnancy, which causes hypertension in the adult offspring.

Marelyn proved that the urine of unstressed mammalian foetuses was normally dilute. This finding allowed the concentration of foetal urine to be used as a measure of stress. She has also provided a significant example that supports the Barker Hypothesis that unfavourable conditions experienced by the foetus can lead to changes that alter development and may affect adult health.

Marelyn was the first to show that foetal adrenal glands were active both early and late in development, underlining the significance of cortisol treatment for premature babies. She also demonstrated the importance foetal membranes play in the regulation of foetal and amniotic fluids.

Marelyn has served on the Council of the International Union of Physiological Sciences and helped promote physiological sciences in Africa and South America. In 2002, she was elected to Life Membership of the Endocrine Society of Australia. In 2004, she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, one of only 20 females to be elected in the Academy's first 50 years.

Marelyn's infectious delight in science is something she has passed on in her teaching role. She has seen 45 of her own students, including 40 PhDs, through their graduate studies, some of whom have now attained elected positions at Australian and overseas universities. For 13 years, Marelyn has served as a convenor of honours and graduate students at the Howard Florey Institute.