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Germ Cell Development and Epigenetics Research Group Head

Centre for Reproductive Health
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 the 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.

Education/Academic qualification

Genetics and Developmental Biology, Ph.D, La Trobe University

Award Date: 15 Sep 1999

Genetics, BSc Hons, La Trobe University

Award Date: 4 Nov 1993

Research area keywords

  • epigenetics
  • inheritance
  • fetal origins of disease
  • oocyte
  • sperm
  • developmental disease


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