Steroid Receptor Biology

Fuller group

The Steroid Receptor Biology group studies nuclear receptors with the goal of identifying new therapeutic targets for treating cardiovascular disease and endocrine (hormone) cancers. The group works closely with the Endocrinology Unit of Monash Health.



Steroid hormones interact with their intracellular nuclear receptors (regulators of gene expression) which play a key role in the pathogenesis of many diseases including cardiovascular disease and the endocrine cancers – ovarian, breast, thyroid, prostate and endometrial cancer.

Steroid hormones are classified into five groups, based on their nuclear receptors, including cortisol/corticosterone (glucocorticoid), aldosterone (mineralocorticoid), testosterone (androgen), estradiol (estrogen) and progesterone (progestin).

The Steroid Receptor Biology Group aims to provide key insights into the underlying activating mechanisms of nuclear receptors, particularly the adrenal steroid hormones, aldosterone and cortisol, and the reproductive hormones secreted by the ovary.

Scientists in the Fuller group are internationally renowned for work on aldosterone and the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) through a series of contributions to understanding MR biology including

  • Tissue distribution
  • Identification of induced genes
  • Functional studies of receptor-mediated transactivation
  • Novel studies on the evolution of the MR and the response to progesterone
  • Ligand-specific interdomain interaction in the MR
  • Identification and characterisation of MR co-regulatory molecules
  • Structure-function studies using novel chimeric approaches combined with molecular modelling.

The Fuller group’s work has been complemented by ongoing studies using transgenic mice to define the tissue-specific roles of the MR in vivo. These studies have important implications for primary aldosteronism, and the work being undertaken by Associate Professor Jun Yang’s Group.

The Steroid Receptor Biology group together with Associate Professor Simon Chu has developed the first systematic program of research to understand the molecular pathogenesis of granulosa cell tumours of the ovary. This work also includes studies of both breast and thyroid cancer.

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Diseases we research

Areas of focus

  • The structure-function relationships of the aldosterone receptor
  • Novel treatment strategies for aldosterone-mediated hypertension
  • Molecular pathogenesis of granulosa cell tumours of the ovary
  • Nuclear receptors in advanced breast cancer
  • Non-classical roles of the mineralocorticoid receptor in reproductive tissues

Research Group Head | Professor Peter Fuller AM

Steroid hormones play a critical role in a wide range of conditions including heart disease and endocrine (hormone) cancers. By investigating how steroid hormones maintain health and initiate disease, my goals are to find new ways to diagnose and treat these diseases.
Professor Peter Fuller at Hudson Institute

Student opportunities


Publication highlights

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