Centre for Reproductive Health

Hudson Institute of Medical Research is internationally recognised for its outstanding research into reproduction, which spans more than 40 years. The Centre for Reproductive Health’s current reproductive health research program is strongly based in both basic and translational science. Reproductive Health is now a key global challenge, with impacts of the environment and changes in societies strongly impacting not only on both male and female reproduction but also on the long-term health of their offspring. The latter detrimental changes are established both in the sperm and egg, and during early development of the conceptus.

With a rapidly increasing world population, the need for new contraceptive options has never been greater. Furthermore, translation of advances in reproductive sciences also impacts on cancer biology, animal food production, and conservation of endangered species. In addition, proteins involved in the regulation of reproduction also have wider actions influencing inflammation and tissue repair in a wide variety of organs.

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CRH is the proud sponsor of Reproductive Health Australia, the peak advocacy body promoting research and research translation in reproductive biology across Australia.

History and success of the International Research Training Group (IRTG) between Monash University and Justus-Liebig Universities

Professor Kate Loveland receives International Scientist Award

Rama Ravinthiran from Hudson Institute awarded the 2021 Thomas SK Chang Merit AwardMs Rama Ravinthiran, PhD Student in the Centre for Reproductive Health, whose supervisor is Prof Mark Hedger, was awarded the 2021 Thomas S K Chang Trainee Merit Award at last year’s 46th Annual American Society of Andrology (ASA) Conference held virtually from 22-26 May 2021.  Rama’s presentation was titled:  Distribution and phenotypes of mononuclear phagocyte population correlates with differential immune environments in the adult murine epididymis”. Originally established in 1996 in memory of Dr Thomas S.K. Chang this merit award is now funded by the ASA Chang/Russell Education and Trainee Experience Endowment Fund (CREATE).  The award is conferred upon anyone qualified to be a Trainee Member of the Society who, in the judgment of the Awards Committee, has presented at the Annual Meeting the best original laboratory or clinical research report in andrology. This award is presented at the Annual Meeting in years when an appropriate individual is identified. Professor Mark Hedger and Dr Rukmali Wijayarathna, Endocrinology and Immunophysiology research group at Hudson Institute

Congratulations Rukmali! Dr Rukmali Wijayarathna, an Early Career Researcher in the Endocrinology and Immunology Lab has won the Anna Steinberger Trainee Merit Award at the 48th Annual Conference of the American Society for Andrology (ASA) held in Boston in April 2023. This highly competitive award is given to a Trainee Member of the Society who presented an original laboratory or clinical research report judged to be most meritorious at the ASA Annual Meeting. The award was for her presentation titled: ‘Interferon epsilon: a novel anti-viral agent in the male reproductive tract’.

Dr Wijayarathna’s research showed that Interferon epsilon is expressed in cells that develop into sperm, and protects testes against Zika virus infection, changing our understanding of anti-viral defences in the male reproductive system. This work will ultimately benefit men with fertility defects arising due to virus infections.
“This award is a great honour, and I would like to thank everyone who helped me with this work – especially the Hedger lab (CRH), our collaborators from the Hertzog and Tate labs in CiiiD, as well as the funding support from the Hudson Innovation Seed Grant”, said Dr Wijayarathna.

Penny Whiley from the Testis Development and Male Germ Cell Biology Research Group at Hudson Institute

Congratulations Penny! Penny Whiley, PhD Student, Testis Development and Germ Cell Biology is the winner of the 2021 MHTP PhD Student Symposium with her presentation titled ‘Activin A impacts on germ cell development: new insights into male infertility’, which was held on 6 October 2021. Penny’s supervisors are Prof Kate Loveland and A/Prof Robin Hobbs.

Three germ cells or gonocytes enriched for stem cell capacity at Hudson Institute

3 x germ cells (gonocytes) enriched for stem cell capacity. ‘These cells will likely become spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), which are essential for maintaining spermatogenesis and sperm production in adult mammals. Immunofluorescence on newborn mouse testis, SALL4 (red fluorescent signal) marks gonocytes, GFRA1 (green fluorescent signal) marks cells with a high stem cell potential, and DNA counterstained with DAPI (blue).’   Penny Whiley , CRH PhD Student

Key areas of research

  • Male Reproductive Health
    • Male factor infertility
    • Male reproductive cancer
    • Immunobiology in male reproductive health
  • Reproductive Developmental Biology
    • Offspring health
    • Environmental exposures
  • Molecular Biology of Reproduction
    • Germline genetics and epigenetics
    • RNA biology

Student Research Projects