Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

The Combes laboratory has a number of postgraduate research projects in the fields of bioinformatics, bioengineering, developmental biology, single cell genomics, advanced imaging, and stem cell differentiation. Please get in touch to discuss.


Research activity per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


The Combes laboratory focuses on kidney development and disease. 

Dr Combes and team use single cell sequencing, 3D imaging and molecular genetics to investigate how tissues form during development and how disruption of developmental programs can cause or contribute to disease. Recent work in the lab has used single cell sequencing to interrogate the signalling pathways controlling progenitor maintenance and differentiation in the developing kidney, and to assess how faithfully stem cell-derived kidney organoids represent the human fetal kidney. Another ongoing focus is understanding how progenitor cell migration impacts cell fate decisions. This work may lead to new diagnostics and provides avenues to improve production of stem cell-derived kidney tissue for disease modelling, drug screening, and regenerative medicine.

Awarded a PhD from graduate studies with Professor Peter Koopman at the University of Queensland (UQ), Dr Combes undertook postdoctoral studies in the laboratories of Professor Emma Whitelaw, and Professor Melissa Little at UQ & Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI). During this time he pioneered new 3D imaging approaches that led to the discovery of novel cell behaviours during development and new genetic pathways that contribute to kidney disease. 

Dr Combes was awarded an ARC DECRA fellowship in 2015 at the University of Melbourne (UoM) and led a team at UoM/MCRI focused on the molecular regulation of kidney development. Alex relocated to the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology in September 2019.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Molecular Genetics and Development, PhD, University of Queensland

Biochemistry, BSc (Hons), University of Queensland

External positions

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Murdoch Children's Research Institute

17 Sep 201931 Dec 2019

Research area keywords

  • Organogenesis
  • Imaging
  • Kidney development
  • Kidney disease
  • Congenital Disease
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Single Cell Genomics
  • Stem Cell Niche
  • Stem Cell Differentiation
  • Bioinformatics
  • Bioengineering


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or