Developmental Physiology Laboratory

Lab head: Margot Day
Location: K25 - Medical Foundation Building

Research conducted by this laboratory is related to the cellular processes occurring during development of the embryo before implantation, including fertilisation, cell division and cell differentiation. In particular, this laboratory is studying the regulation of ion channels during development and whether they are involved in progression of the cell cycle. This laboratory has recently demonstrated the existence of a novel cell cycle clock, in early embryos, which functions independently of the nucleus. This laboratory is currently investigating the intracellular signalling pathways involved in regulation of this clock and how it is linked to the nuclear cell cycle. This laboratory uses techniques such as patch-clamping, molecular biology and methods for studying protein expression.

Current research:

  • Inhibition of gene expression with antisense oligonucleotides


  • Expression of ether-a-go-go related potassium channels during development


  • Cell cycle regulation of ion channels in early embryos


  • pH regulation in early embryos


  • Expression of circadian rhythm genes in early embryos


Lab members: M Day (head)

How to make a healthy embryo?

Primary supervisor: Margot Day

Roughly 3% of all babies born in Australia result from IVF, which requires in vitro culture of the embryo for 2-5 days. It is known that the embryo culture environment causes significant alterations in gene expression, epigenetics, metabolism and cell proliferation during preimplantation development and that these alterations may have effects on later life.

Our studies aim to help us to understand the impact of the culture environment on pre-implantation embryonic development in order to improve reproductive outcomes.

You will examine the affect of the embryo culture environment on the health of preimplantation mouse embryos by analyzing blastocyst formation and expression of cell specific markers.

Discipline: Physiology
Co-supervisors: Michael Morris
Keywords: Embryology, developmental biology, cell signalling