Dr Ella Thomson

Ella completed her PhD in Developmental Genetics at the University of Adelaide studying neurodevelopmental enhancers. She is now a postdoctoral researcher in the Functional Genomics and Sex Development Lab at UQCCR. Her research focuses on male sex determination, and associated disorders of sex development.

Using CRISPR to study human sex determination in the mouse

Disorders of sex development (DSD) are congenital conditions in which development of chromosomal, gonadal or anatomical sex is atypical. DSD are variable in clinical presentations, ranging from complete XX or XY sex reversal, to gonadal dysgenesis, to genital anomalies. These conditions occur in 1% of human live births, representing the most common congenital birth defect and a major paediatric health concern. Sex determination, the process of developing testes or ovaries, is a conserved process amongst most mammals, and is largely controlled by the Y chromosome gene, SRY. Mutations in SRY account for 15% of 46, XY DSD (XY females) and translocations of SRY are the cause of almost 90% of 46,XX DSD (XX males). However, studying SRY mechanism of action and the implications of human mutations in the mouse model is difficult, as there is very little conservation between the two species. To overcome this, we have generated a transgenic mouse containing a copy of the human SRY gene, causing XX female mice to develop as male. Using this novel model, we are able to use CRISPR to generate mutations within SRY and assess the effect these have on development of the male testis.


Mr Malcom Lim

Malcolm completed his honours degree in biomedical science in the Lakhani Lab. He continued to do a PhD and is now in his third year. His research interest is in molecular mechanisms that supports metastatic progression and identifying potential therapeutic targets. Prior to his research career, he was a laboratory scientist in a histology diagnostic lab in Singapore for 5 years. During which Malcolm contributed to several pathology projects and their publications. He is driven to utilise his skillset to identify potential preventives and therapeutic strategies and contribute to better management of patients.

Improving diagnosis and treatment efficacy of brain metastases from breast cancers using nanomedicine

Brain metastasis from breast cancer is a fatal complication associated with severe morbidity. The current treatments using radiotherapy and neurosurgery can prolong life, but the responses are not durable, and chemotherapies have mediocre effects when administered as single agents. Addressing this medical need, our group is taking a nano-therapeutics approach to improve drug delivery and treatment efficacy. In collaboration with the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) and Centre for Advanced Imaging (CAI), we are developing novel nanoparticles that target cytotoxic payloads to cancer cells in the brain. This proof-of-principle study includes examining the effects of the nanoparticles on breast cancer cell lines in vitro, and uptake in experimental brain metastases in vivo

About CCR Seminars

The UQ Centre of Clinical Research Seminars (CCR) are held fortnightly on Wednesdays from 12pm - 1pm (except during school holidays) currently on Zoom. The series features topics in multiple fields of research, presented by invited international, interstate and local researchers.