People

Prof. Moira O’Bryan

Lab head and Dean of Science at The University of Melbourne

Moira is a world leader in the fields of male fertility, male germ cell development and sperm function. She is an ARC college of experts panel member (2018-2020), has delivered numerous plenary presentations, has won multiple high-ranking awards, and has held continuous grants from the ARC and NHMRC for 26 years. Her lab has two largely overlapping themes:

  1. Understanding the mechanisms of sperm production and function, i.e. ‘how to build functional sperm’
  2. Defining the genetic causes of male infertility

Moira is a steering member of the International Male Infertility Genomics Consortium 

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Dr. Brendan Houston (he/him)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Brendan works on defining novel genetic causes of human male infertility using a variety of model systems (mice, flies and cultured cells). These models are based on high confidence genetic variants found in infertile men from the International Male Infertility Genomics Consortium and The Genetics of Male Infertility Initiative. He was awarded his PhD from The University of Newcastle, Australia (supervised by L/Prof. John Aitken, Prof. Brett Nixon, Dr. Geoffry De Iuliis and Dr. Bruce King) in 2018 and has worked in the O’Bryan lab since. Brendan is a past Rutherford fellow (UUKi) and is available as a PhD supervisor, so feel free to contact him for more info.

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Dr. Jessica Dunleavy

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Jess works on understanding the fundamental mechanisms that drive mammalian sperm production using multiple knockout mouse models. Her research mainly centres around cytoskeletal dynamics and their relevance to male fertility, with particular focus on the unique cytoskeletal structures, regulators and protein transport pathways that feature during male meiosis and spermatid remodeling. She was awarded her PhD from Monash University (supervised by Prof. Moira O’Bryan and Prof. John Carroll) in 2018. Prior to that, she worked under the supervision of Prof. Neil Gemmell and Dr Sheri Johnson at the University of Otago, studying the effect of paternal age on fertility in Zebrafish. Jess and Moira currently hold an NHMRC Ideas Grant investigating the mechanisms of mitochondrial loading onto the sperm tail during spermiogenesis. Jess is available as a PhD supervisor, so feel free to contact her for more info.

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Dr. Denis Korneev

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Denis is a biophysicist who works on the development of electron microscopy techniques (advanced SEM and FIB-SEM) and image processing. He has recently developed a technique to study the outer sperm tail accessory structures and is working on a method to perform large-volume 3D imaging of spermatogenesis at an EM level. He works at Monash University with Professor Alex de Marco and at The University of Melbourne with Moira and the lab

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Anne O’Connor (Bsc(Hons))

Laboratory manager

Anne manages the lab and has significant experience in working with protein production and assessment, hormone assays, antibody development and various other techniques. Anne has worked with Moira for many years and has been involved in the characterisation of multiple knockout mouse models, including several mutagenesis studies.

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Jo Merriner (Bsc(Hons))

Research assistant

Jo is a research assistant with significant experience in histology and electron microscopy, sperm functional assessment and confocal/EM imaging. Jo has worked with Moira for many years and has been involved in the characterisation of multiple knockout mouse models, including several mutagenesis studies.


Joseph Nguyen (BSc(Hons))

Research assistant

Joseph is a research assistant that previously investigated research questions into the biology and functionality of neural receptors, specifically in Drosophila. This has given him broad experiences into molecular techniques which include cloning, recombineering, construct design and assembly. He is also experienced in microscopy as well as protein tagging and visualisation.


PhD students

Sam Cheers (he/him)

Sam investigates the genetic causes of male infertility using flies and mice. Moira is his main supervisor and he is co-supervised by Prof. Joris Veltman (Newcastle University), Dr. Jess Dunleavy (Melbourne) and Dr. Travis Johnson (Monash)

Amy Luan

Amy investigates the genetic causes of male infertility using flies and mice. Moira is her main supervisor and she is co-supervised by Prof. Don Conrad (Oregon Primate Centre), Dr. Brendan Houston (Melbourne) and Dr. Richard Burke (Monash).

Gemma Stathatos

Gemma investigates the role of tubulins in spermatogenesis using mice and cell culture methods. Moira is her main supervisor and she is co-supervised by Dr. Jessica Dunleavy (Melbourne) and Dr. Jennifer Zenker (Monash).

Lachlan Cauchi

Lachlan investigates the genetic causes of male infertility using flies and mice. He is situated at Monash University and is co-supervised by Prof. Moira O’Bryan, Dr. Richard Burke (Monash) and Dr. Daniela Fietz (Giessen).

Kate Veale (she/her)

Kate is an embryologist with Monash IVF who is working to generate novel techniques to intricately measure sperm motility as a readout of sperm quality. She is co-supervised by Prof. Moira O’Bryan and Dr. Reza Nosrati.


Honours students in 2021

Maddison Graffeo

Maddison investigates the role of the microtubule severing enzyme KATNAL1 in spermatogenesis using mouse knockout models. She is supervised by Dr. Jessica Dunleavy.


Lauren Rogers

Student technician

Lauren does all our genotyping and is currently studying a Bachelor of Science at Monash University.

Georgia Sherring

Student technician

Georgia does a lot of our microtome cutting, staining and most things histology. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Science at The University of Melbourne.