Ruby Oberin, PhD student, Germ Cell Development and Epigenetics

Ruby Oberin


PhD student

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Why did you choose Hudson Institute and your research group?

Associate Professor Patrick Western presented a talk whilst I was studying a postgraduate degree at Monash Medical Centre. I was instantly interested in his research group's work and thought Hudson Institute sounded like a great medical research institute for a student.

What is your research about and what do you hope to achieve?

My research involves determining the role of maternal epigenetic inheritance in bone development and disease of offspring. Environmental influences such as diet, drugs and chemicals are thought to alter epigenetic programming in oocytes and contribute to maternally inherited disease in the next generation. Exposure of the developing germline to these lifestyle factors can provoke epigenetic alterations in gametes, and thus modify offspring development and phenotype. My work investigates the phenotype and bone quality in offspring derived from oocytes lacking the functional epigenetic modifier PRC2. The outcomes of this work will assist in identifying how inherited epigenetic information controls both early life and long-term developmental outcomes, which is crucial for understanding how epigenetic mechanisms impact the developmental origins of disease.

What is it like being a student at Hudson Institute?

The student environment at Hudson Institute is safe and inclusive. I feel like student voices are heard and have a strong impact on decision making within the Institute to enrich the overall student experience. We have the Hudson Institute Student Society (HISS) committee, which brings events to students – even in this virtual world we are currently in. As well as being a HISS member, I work with the Monash Graduation Association (MGA) to bring University events to Hudson Institute. This year we joined together to bring a HISS-MGA mentoring program to the Institute, which has been an enjoyable experience.

What opportunities have you had at Hudson Institute?

I have had multiple opportunities during my first year as a PhD student, including - Attending conferences such as the Lorne Genome Conference, Biomed Link and ASMR - Mentoring through the HISS-MGA mentoring program - Being a member of the HISS committee - Acting as Hudson Institute Assistant Coordinator for the MGA

How will your research help others?

My thesis aims to enhance our understanding about how these epigenetic changes in the mother’s oocyte can cause the inheritance of defects in bone and skeletal development in offspring. Hopefully, my research will help unlock the answers to epigenetic questions we don’t currently understand, and this will help increase our knowledge about how epigenetic marks are inherited, as well as the impact the environment can play on our epigenome.