About Professor Ralph Nanan

Professor Nanan’s research explores the developmental origins of health and disease with a specific focus on paediatric clinical immunology, allergy and perinatology.

Professor Nanan is Chair and Professor of Paediatrics at the Sydney Medical School Nepean and Sub-dean of Research. He is also the Director of the Charles Perkins Centre Nepean and leads the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease project node. Professor Nanan’s main areas of interest are the developmental origins of health and disease with a specific focus on paediatric clinical immunology, allergy and perinatology.

Professor Nanan started his scientific career in Paediatrics at the Children's University Hospital in Wurzburg, Germany, where he completed his PhD in 1991 in basic immunology. He then completed the Habilitation, which is the highest German academic degree, in 2002 in clinical immunology, before accepting the position of Director of Paediatrics at Nepean Hospital in 2003 and then his current position in 2005.

Professor Nanan was the first to describe measles virus epitopes recognised by human T-lymphocytes. In addition, his research has contributed to our understanding of which elements of the immune system confer long-term protection after immunisation. His group was the first to provide evidence that preeclampsia, the most common and serious pregnancy related disorder, is likely to be the result of an imbalance between T-regulatory cells, which consequently leads to rejection of the fetus by the maternal immune system.

Professor Nanan and his group are currently investigating key regulatory cells in the immune system, exploring the development of preeclampsia, predicting adverse outcomes in pregnancy by measuring abdominal fat, examining the effects of gestational diabetes on the unborn baby, developing an early childhood allergy questionnaire, and more. Since beginning at Nepean, Professor Nanan has also established a paediatric immunology laboratory and developed a comprehensive paediatric allergy service. He is a Chief Investigator on several clinical cohort studies.

Professor Nanan has been heavily involved in policy development on a state level and is currently on the Board of the Australian Women and Children's Research Foundation (OZWAC), a member of the Advisory Council of the Children's Hospital at Westmead (CHAC) and a Regional Examiner of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP). Professor Nanan has multiple teaching and supervisory responsibilities at the University of Sydney and regularly speaks at national and international conferences.

Professor Nanan welcomes all enquiries regarding opportunities for student research projects.

Selected publications

For a comprehensive list of Professor Nanan's publicatons, please visit his Sydney Medical School profile page.