Dr Chenxi Zhou - Pregnant pause: How eggs orchestrate male chromatin remodelling for successful embryo development

Dr Chenxi Zhou is a post-doctoral scientist with Professor Homer’s group at UQCCR. Chenxi was awarded his PhD in reproductive physiology by the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2004. He undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Virginia and the University of Ottawa prior to relocating to Queensland.

Chenxi’s research focuses on oocyte maturation, fertilisation and preimplantation embryo development. Chenxi has a longstanding interest in understanding the cellular basis of infertility by unravelling how healthy oocytes (eggs) and embryos are made, specialising in high-resolution live-cell imaging and cell biological approaches.

An intriguing clinical aberration commonly seen during human in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment is embryos that possess only one pronucleus (1PN). These are presumed to arise from some abnormality in fertilisation but underlying reasons have remained elusive. It is observed after overnight culture following both conventional IVF and ICSI and occurs in 3%-17% of fertilised oocytes.

Overview: Chenxi will present his recent findings regarding how oocytes manipulate the master cell-cycle kinase, Cdk1, following sperm entry at fertilization. Chenxi recently developed novel methodology for undertaking IVF of mouse eggs whilst at the same time undertaking in-depth imaging of fertilisation events including, for the first time, real-time changes in Cdk1 activity. His work identifies an unprecedented pause during fertilisation-induced Cdk1 inactivation that is critical for buying the time needed to remodel sperm chromatin thereby enabling normal 2PN embryos to form.


Zoe Hunter - Personalising Epilepsy: developing a patient-specific organoid model to address drug screening potential

Zoe Hunter is a current Honours student at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland. Her current research project aims to develop patient specific organoid models of the brain which can be used to elucidate what effect current anti-seizure medications have on controlling hyper-neuronal activity. It is hoped that the results from this research will be clinically relevant and can be used as a platform from which further patient specific modelling and drug testing can be performed to provide personalised treatment advice. Zoe hopes to continue her research into epilepsy and personalised research models after completing her honours degree.  

Overview: Drug resistant epilepsy occurs in approximately 30% of the patient population and the possibilities of finding suitable drug treatments for these patients is particularly difficult. In recent years, developments in the field of stem cells and cell reprogramming have enabled the generation of 3D organoid models of the brain. This talk will discuss the preliminary findings gathered from research using patient derived organoid models of the brain, exposed to 5 different anti-seizure medications. Using these models in a patient-specific manner enables personalisation of treatment testing and may be able to provide clinicians with a suitable method for experimenting with treatment options for epilepsy patients, particularly those who are drug resistant.  



About UQCCR Seminar Series

UQCCR Seminar Series

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



Zoom only (https://uqz.zoom.us/j/87198801358)