Dr Holger W Unger

Senior Research Fellow


Bachelor of Science (Hons), University of Edinburgh, 2003; Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, University of Edinburgh, 2007; Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene , Royal College of Physicians (London), 2008; Master of Science (Public Health), London School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, 2011; PhD, University of Melbourne, 2015; Member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (UK), 2016; Diploma of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (UK), 2018

Approved level of HDR supervision at Charles Darwin University:

Principal Supervisor for PhD


Darwin – Royal Darwin Hospital campus


Dr Holger Unger is a staff specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Royal Darwin Hospital. He is a Senior Research Fellow at Menzies School of Health Research and a Honorary Academic Clinical Lecturer at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK.

His research focuses on the prevention of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections during pregnancy and the puerperium in the Asia-Pacific region. He supervised a clinical trial of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy in Papua New Guinea, and conducts research into the interplay between undernutrition, inflammation, malaria and other infections during pregnancy and their impact on adverse pregnancy outcomes. His portfolio includes clinical and epidemiological studies, biomarker research, data linkage studies, individual participant data meta-analyses, and qualitative research.

Additional research interests are preconception care, preterm birth, and the management of the second-stage of labour in low-resource and remote settings.

Dr Unger co-ordinates research activities at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Royal Darwin Hospital, and initiated the establishment of a Women’s Health Research Group at Menzies School of Health Research.

  1. Rasmussen DN, Vieira N, Honge BL, Jespersen S, Bjerregaard-Andersen M, Oliveira I, Furtado A, [...], Unger HW. HIV-1 and HIV-2 prevalence, risk factors and birth outcomes among pregnant women in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau: A retrospective cross-sectional hospital study. Scientific Reports 2020;10:12174.
  2. Unger HW, Rosanas-Urgell A, Robinson LJ, Ome-Kaius M, Jally S, Umbers AJ, [...], Rogerson SJ. Microscopic and submicroscopic Plasmodium falciparum infection, maternal anaemia and adverse pregnancy outcomes in Papua New Guinea: a cohort study. Malar J 2019;18(1):302.
  3. van Eijk AM, Zulaika G, Lenchner M, Mason L, Sivakami M, Nyothach E, [...], Phillips-Howard PA. Menstrual cup use, leakage, acceptability, safety, and availability: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Public Health 2019; 4(8):e376-e393
  4. Unger HW, Hansa AP, Buffet C, Hasang W, Teo A, Randall L, [...], Rogerson SJ. Sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine plus azithromycin may improve birth outcomes through impacts on inflammation and placental angiogenesis independent of malarial infection. Scientific Reports 2019;9:2260.
  5. Unger HW, Thriemer K, Ley B, Tinto H, Traoré M, Valea I, [...], D'Alessandro U. The assessment of gestational age: a comparison of different methods from a malaria pregnancy cohort in sub-Saharan Africa. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2019;19(1):12.
  6. Mola GDL, Unger HW. Strategies to reduce and maintain low perinatal mortality in resource-poor settings - Findings from a four-decade observational study of birth records from a large public maternity hospital in Papua New Guinea. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 2019;59(3):394-402.
  7. Cates JE, Unger HW, Briand V, Fievet N, Valea I, Tinto H, [...], Rogerson SJ. Malaria, malnutrition and birthweight: a meta-analysis using individual participant data. PLoS Med 2017;14:e1002373.
  8. Unger HW, Ome-Kaius M, Wangnapi RA, Umbers AJ, Hanieh S, Suen CS, [...], Rogerson SJ. Sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine plus azithromycin for the prevention of low birthweight in Papua New Guinea: a randomised controlled trial. BMC Med 2015;13:9.
  9. Unger HW, Karl S, Wangnapi RA, Siba P, Mola G, Walker J, et al. Fetal size in a rural Melanesian population with minimal risk factors for growth restriction: an observational ultrasound study from Papua New Guinea. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2015;92:178-86.
  10. Unger HW, Aho C. Ome-Kaius M, Wangnapi RA, Umbers AJ, Jack W, [...], Rogerson SJ. Impact of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with azithromycin-containing regimens on maternal nasopharyngeal carriage and antibiotic sensitivity of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Staphylococcus aureus - a cross-sectional survey at delivery. J Clin Microbiol 2015;53:1317-23.