Male Infertility and Germ Cell Biology Group

“Male infertility is often ‘the canary in the coalmine’ of human health and the benefits of fertility research extend far beyond reproductive biology.” Moira O'Bryan.


We use a variety of cell biological, molecular and bioinformatic techniques. These centre around the phenotyping of knockout mouse and knockdown fly models to validate genetic causes of human male infertility and to understand the processes required to build a functional sperm cell. The techniques we use include male germ cell and sperm isolation, sperm function assays, high-speed sperm motility assessment, cell culture and CRISPR, protein production and purification, standard protein and RNA assays, confocal and STED microscopy, histological assessment of reproductive (and other) organs, and a range of novel electron microscopy methods.

Group Members

Postdoctoral Scientists

Dr. Jessica Dunleavy 
Dr. Brendan Houston
Dr. Avinash Gaikwad 

Lab Manager

Anne O'Connor 

Research Assistants

Jo Merriner 
Lauren Rogers 

Graduate Research Students

Amy Luan (PhD student)
Sam Cheers (PhD student)
Gemma Stathatos (PhD student)
Lachlan Cauchi (PhD student)
Kate Veale (PhD student)
Maddison Graffeo (Honours student) 


Prof. Moira O’Bryan – Dean of Science
Old Geology Building (Building 155)
The University of Melbourne
Royal Parade
Victoria 3010
email: moira.obryan [at]

Executive Assistant – Helen Godsall
Email: helen.godsall [at]
Phone: +61 3 9035 5031


Moira O'Bryan graduated from The University of Melbourne in 1994 and was then awarded an Andrew Mellon Foundation Fellowship to work at arguably the leading academic institute in the world for contraceptive development, The Population Council in New York. She was awarded both an Australian Research Council (ARC) post-doctoral Fellowship and a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Peter Doherty Fellowship and returned to Australia in 1996 to work at Monash Institute of Medical Research (nee Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development), Monash University, where she established a highly productive lab working on sperm development and the genetics of male infertility. Moira was awarded an NHMRC R.D. Wright Fellowship in 2001, a Monash University Senior post-doctoral Fellowship from the Faculty of Medicine in 2005 and NHMRC Senior Research Fellowships in 2006 and 2009. In 2009 Moira and her lab moved to the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology where she headed the “Male Infertility and Germ Cell Biology Laboratory” and was Deputy Head of Department, until 2016 when she became the Deputy Director of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. Moira then took on a role as Head of School for Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Science at Monash University from 2017-2020 and is now the new Dean of Science for the Faculty of Science at The University of Melbourne.

Moira has received research-based awards from the Australian Academy of Science, The Fertility Society of Australia, The Endocrine Society of Australia, and the Society for Reproductive Biology from whom she received the 2006 Research Centre for Reproductive Health Award for Excellence in Reproductive Biology. In 2008 she was named by the American Society of Andrology as “The Young Andrologist of the Year” and in 2010 she received the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence from Monash University. In 2013 she presented the International Lecture at the American Society of Andrology annual conference and in 2015 she delivered the President’s Lecturer plenary presentation for The Society for Reproductive Biology's annual conference.

In addition to a strong commitment to research excellence, Moira has achieved a substantial track record for the promotion of science through her position as a past national director of The Australian Society for Medical Research. She has also made significant contributions to the infrastructure of Australian medical research through the establishment of The Australian Phenome Bank and the Australian Centre for Vertebrate Mutation Detection, the Monash Male Infertility Repository and the Australian Phenomics Network. Moira was recently a member of the ARC's College of Experts from 2018-2020, currently sits on the steering committee for the International Male Infertility Genomics Consortium and is the current president of the Society for Reproductive Biology .