Meghan Hill, MBBS

2013 Garite Mini-Sabbatical
Currently at University of Auckland (NZ)

What was the most memorable part of your Foundation-funded project or experience as a Foundation awardee?

The most memorable part of my mini-sabbatical was getting to spend time with one of the people influential in my choosing to pursue a career in research, Kent Thornburg. As a resident, I attended the SRI conference and was fascinated by a talk he gave. He was talking about racial disparities in nutrition and how this influences outcomes across generations.

If you received funding for a research project, are you still involved in that area of research?


Tell us more about what you're currently working on.

The mini-sabbatical funding was for me to learn about placental histology and to perform work on collagen expression in the placenta. Since that time, I have expanded the biobanking at the University of Arizona and given multiple presentations on placental RNA expression in different medical conditions. This has lent to mentoring trainees in placental research. The program's graduating fellow this year performed a placental project for their thesis with me as their mentor. And, they are using the collagen antibodies purchased during the elective for staining of their tissue blocks.

How did the award influence your career?

This experience allowed me to interact with a different academic department and to assess the possibilities for an academic career. My first job out of fellowship was an academic one at my training program. I became the Associate Program Director for the MFM Fellowship in this job and was able to perform my own research and to mentor trainees in research. My second job out of fellowship is also academic with a 50/50 split between clinical time and research/teaching. Though new in the role I have already applied for funding (for a project involving biobanking of maternal and placental samples) and have two additional applications for funding going in this month. I believe that the early investment I received in the form of a mini-sabbatical grant showed me that a research career was possible and inspired me to continue pursuing one. Though a publication did not result from the short elective, multiple related presentations and publications followed after the inspiration and education I received during this elective.

What lessons (e.g., personal, professional, life, etc.) did you learn that you would like to pass on to future awardees?

In such a limited time it is perhaps unrealistic for most people to complete a project. While I was initially a little disappointed (in myself) for not getting something I could publish out of it, I later realized it was the experience and exposure to the laboratory environment and mentoring that was important.

Did you submit an abstract for #SMFM20?


Where did you do your MFM fellowship?

University of Arizona (Tucson)

What do you like best about being an MFM?

I really enjoy the medically complicated maternal patient. And I like how this complements my research interests.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?

Running my own research division. I would aim to have 2-3 ongoing program grants. I would hope to be doing 50% clinical work and still participating in call so I can continue to deliver babies.