Interim Centre Head of Centre for Reproductive Health at Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Associate Professor Patrick Western’s research is focused on understanding the epigenetic processes underlying establishment of the germ cell lineage and the impact of transmitted epigenetic information on the next generation.

A/Prof Western completed his doctoral studies on temperature dependent sex determination in the American alligator. He then moved to Professor Azim Surani’s laboratory at the Wellcome Trust Gurdon Institute, Cambridge University, where he studied epigenetic reprogramming and the reacquisition of pluripotency in differentiated somatic cells, embryonic stem cells and germ cells. A/Prof Western then joined the ARC Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology and Development where he pursued an interest in sex-specific germ cell development with a focus on the regulation of pluripotency and differentiation in early germ cells.

A/Prof Western leads the Germ Cell Development and Epigenetics Group within the Centre for Reproductive Health at Hudson Institute of Medical Research. Using genetic and pharmacological models, the Germ Cell Development and Epigenetics Group studies mechanisms regulating epigenetic programming in the germline and the impacts of germline epigenetic information on offspring development. Our work combines discovery science with translational research aimed at developing clinically relevant information required for understanding the impacts of epigenetic programming on disease inheritance, and the potential interactions between epigenomic drugs and the germline epigenome, and subsequent outcomes in offspring.

Selected publications

  • Jarred EG, Qu Z, Tsai T, Oberin R, Petautschnig S, Bildsoe H, Pederson S, Zhang QH, Stringer JM, Carroll J, Gardner DK, Van den Buuse M, Sims NA, Gibson WT, Adelson DL, Western PS  (2022) Transient polycomb activity represses developmental genes in growing oocytes. Clin Epigenetics. 2022 Dec 21;14(1):183.

  • Prokopuk L, Jarred EG, Blücher RO, McLaughlin EA, Stringer JM, Western PS (2022) An essential role for Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 in the mouse ovary.  Reproduction. 2022 Feb 17;163(3):167-182.

  • Stringer JM, Western PS (2019) A step toward making human oocytes. Nat Biotechnol 37(1):24-25.

  • Jarred EG, Bildsoe H, Western PS (2018) Out of sight, out of mind? Germ cells and the potential impacts of epigenomic drugs. F1000Res Dec 21;7. pii:F1000 Faculty Rev-1967.

  • Stringer JM, Forster SC, Qu Z, Prokopuk L, O’Bryan MK, Gardner DK, White SJ, Adelson D, Western PS (2018) Reduced PRC2 function alters male germline epigenetic programming and paternal inheritance. BMC Biol 16(1):104.

  • Prokopuk L, Stringer JM, White CR, Vossen RHAM, White SJ, Cohen ASA, Gibson WT, Western PS (2018) Loss of maternal EED results in postnatal overgrowth. Clin Epigenetics 10(1):95.

  • Prokopuk L, Hogg K, Western PS (2018) Pharmacological inhibition of EZH2 disrupts the female germline epigenome.  Clin Epigenetics March 4; 10:33.

  • Western PS (2018) Epigenomic drugs and the germline:  Collateral damage in the home of heritability? Mol Cell Endocrinol 468:121-133.

  • Prokopuk L, Stringer JM, Hogg K, Elgass KD, Western PS (2017) PRC2 is required for extensive reorganization of H3K27me3 during epigenetic reprogramming in mouse fetal germ cells. Epigenetics Chromatin Feb 20;10:7.

  • Gustin SE, Stringer JM, Hogg K, Sinclair AH, Western PS (2016) FGF9, activin and TGFβ promote testicular characteristics in an XX gonad organ culture model.  Reproduction 152(5):529-543.

  • Gustin SE, Hogg K, Stringer JM, Rastetter RH, Pelosi E, Miles DC, Sinclair AH, Wilhelm D, Western PS (2016) WNT/β-catenin and p27/FOXL2 differentially regulate supporting cell proliferation in the developing ovary. Dev Biol 412(2):250-260.

  • Hogg K, Western PS (2015) Refurbishing the germline epigenome:  Out with the old, in with the new. Semin Cell Dev Biol 45:104-113.

  • Hogg K, Western PS (2015) Differentiation of fetal male germline and gonadal progenitor cells is disrupted in organ cultures containing knockout serum replacement. Stem Cells Dev 24(24):2899-2911.

  • Prokopuk L, Western PS, Stringer JM (2015) Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance:  adaptation through the germline epigenome? Epigenomics 7(5):829-846.

  • Miles DC, Wakeling SI, Stringer JM, van den Bergen JA, Wilhelm D, Sinclair AH, Western PS (2013) Signaling through the TGF beta-activin receptors ALK4/5/7 regulates testis formation and male germ cell development. PLoS One 8:e54606.

  • Stringer JM, Barrand S, Western P (2013) Fine-tuning evolution: germ-line epigenetics and inheritance. Reproduction 146:R37-48.

  • Wakeling SI, Miles DC, Western PS (2013) Identifying disruptors of male germ cell development by small molecule screening in ex vivo gonad cultures. BMC Res Notes 6:168.

  • Google Scholar Citations: