Dr Liza O’Donnell is a senior researcher in the Centre of Reproductive Health at Hudson Institute. She joined the Prince Henry’s Institute (now Hudson Institute of Medical Research) in 1991 after completing an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at RMIT Melbourne, and completed her PhD in 1996.

Dr O’Donnell studies the biology of the testis, including how it produces both sperm and androgens. Her work has focussed on the regulation of sperm production (spermatogenesis) by androgens and estrogens, the development of hormone-based male contraceptives, the role of cell adhesion proteins in spermatogenesis, cytoskeletal proteins important for sperm production, transgenic models of infertility, the regulation of foetal testis development, the process of spermiation (sperm release), the identification of genes and proteins essential for spermatogenesis and the development of biomarkers to diagnose testis function.

Selected publications

  • Dunleavy JEM, O’Bryan M, Stanton PG, O’Donnell L (2019) The cytoskeleton in spermatogenesis.  Reproduction 157 (2):R53-R72. Review

  • O’Donnell L and Stanton PG (2018) Cytoskeletons (F-actin) and spermatogenesis. In Spermatogenesis:  Biology and Clinical Implications 1st Edn. Cheng CY ed. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis. pp191-200.

  • O’Donnell, L and Stanton PG (2018) Spermiation.  In Encyclopedia of Reproduction 2nd Edn. Skinner MK eds. Academic Press. Vol 1, pp145-151.

  • de Kretser D, Stanton PG and O’Donnell L (2018) Structure/cells overview. In Encyclopedia of Reproduction 2nd Edn. Skinner MK ed. Academic Press. Vol 1, pp10-16.

  • O’Donnell L, Stanton PG, De Kretser DM (2017) Endocrinology of the male reproductive system and spermatogenesis.  In Endocrinology of Male Reproduction. Feingold KR, Anawalt, B and Boyce A eds. Section Editor: McLachlan RI, www.Endotext.org January 11th 2017. Endotext, pp1-69.

  • Dunleavy JEM, Okuda H, O’Connor AE, Merriner DJ, O’Donnell L, Jamsai D, Bergmann M and O’Bryan MK (2017) Katanin-like 2 (KATNAL2) functions in multiple aspects of haploid male germ cell development in the mouse. PLoS Genet 13(11):e1007078.

  • Stanton PG, Foo CFH, Rainczuk A, Stephens AN, Condina M, O’Donnell L, Weidner W, Ishikawa T, Cruickshanks L, Smith LB and McLachlan RI (2016) Mapping the testicular interstitial fluid proteome from normal rats. Proteomics, 16(17):2391-402.

  • Smith LB, Walker WH, O’Donnell L (2015) Hormonal regulation of spermatogenesis through Sertoli cells by androgens and estrogens. In: Sertoli Cell Biology 2nd Edn. Griswold M, ed. Elsevier Inc. pp175-200.

  • O’Donnell L, O’Bryan MK (2014) Microtubules and Spermatogenesis. Semin Cell Dev Biol 30:45-54.

  • O’Donnell L, McLachlan RI  (2012) The role of testosterone in spermatogenesis. In: Testosterone: action, deficiency, substitution. 4th Edn. Nieschlag E et al., eds. Cambridge University Press. Chapter 6, pp 123-153.

  • O’Donnell L, Rhodes D, Smith SJ, Merriner DJ, Clark BJ, Borg C, Whittle B, O’Connor AE, Smith LB, McNally F, de Kretser DM, Goodnow CC, Ormandy CJ, Jamsai D, O’Bryan MK  (2012) An essential role for p80 katanin and microtubule severing in male gamete production. PLoS Genet 8(5): e1002698. Commentary (World of reproductive biology) in Biology of Reproduction doi:10.1095/biolreprod.112.102590.

  • O’Donnell L, Nicholls PK, O’Bryan MK, McLachlan RI, Stanton PG (2011) Spermiation: The process of sperm release. Spermatogenesis 1(1):14-35.

  • O’Donnell L, Pratis K, Wagenfeld A, Gottwald A, Müller J, Leder G, McLachlan RI, Stanton PG (2009) Transcriptional profiling of the hormone-responsive stages of spermatogenesis reveals stage-, cell- and hormone-specific events. Endocrinology 150:5074–5084.

  • O’Donnell L, Meachem SJ, Stanton PG, McLachlan RI (2006) The endocrine regulation of spermatogenesis. In: Knobil and Neill’s Physiology of Reproduction 3rd Edn. Neill JD, ed.  Elsevier, San Diego CA. pp 1017-1069.


  • Beardsley A, O’Donnell L (2003) Characterization of normal spermiation and spermiation failure induced by hormone suppression in adult rats. Biol Reprod 68:1299-1307.

  • McLachlan RI, O’Donnell L, Stanton PG, Balourdos G, Frydenberg M, de Kretser DM, Robertson DM (2002) Effects of testosterone plus medroxyprogesterone acetate on semen quality, reproductive hormones and germ cell populations  in normal young men. J Clinical Endocrinol Metab 87:546-556.

  • O’Donnell L, Robertson KM, Jones MEE, Simpson ER (2001) Estrogen and spermatogenesis. Endocrine Reviews 22(3):289-318.