Control of cell differentiation during mouse embryogenesis and stem cell development


The research will provide insights into how progenitor cells for fetal tissues may be maintained and determine the conditions that facilitate differentiation into germ layer derivatives. 


Professor Patrick Tam, Dr David Loebel

Research Location

Westmead - Childrens Medical Research Institute

Program Type



The knowledge of how to maintain, expand and differentiate stem cells is essential for the realization of clinical cell-based therapy for the replacement and repair of diseased tissues.  Cells of the early embryo are capable of generating many cell types, hence are regarded as pluripotent cells.  As the embryo develops, there is a progressive restriction of the ability of the cells to do so.  Cells in more advanced embryos will give rise to an increasingly limited set of cell types.  Recently, stem cells have been derived from mouse embryos at the post-implantation stage.  These epiblast stem cells differ from the conventional embryonic stem cells, regarding the culture conditions for maintenance and differentiation, suggesting that they are a different type of stem cell that are already predisposed for more specialized differentiation.  This project will examine if these self-renewable cells may be induced to differentiate more efficiently into typical embryonic tissues by the signal activity normally present in the mouse embryo in vivo. 

Additional Information

Opportunity available for both Honours and PhD students 

Methodologies:  Cell and tissue culture, Cell and molecular biological analyses of protein/gene expression, Genetic modification of cells and embryos, Embryological analysis 

Eligibility:          Honours entry: GPA on track for Hons I / IIA classification                 
                       PhD entry: Hons I classification, lab-based research experience would be preferable.

The Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) is an award-winning state-of-the-art medical research facility, with over 100 full-time scientists dedicated to researching the genes and proteins important for health and human development. The CMRI is supported in part by its key fundraiser Jeans for Genes®. Our scientists are internationally recognised research leaders and foster excellence in postgraduate training. CMRI graduates are highly sought after nationally and internationally. CMRI is located at Westmead, a major hub for research and medicine in NSW, and is affiliated with the University of Sydney. Easy to access by public transport. Projects are multi-disciplinary with training in molecular and cellular biology techniques, with some involving mass spectrometry, proteomics, protein-protein interactions, transgenic animals or live cell imaging. We are looking for top quality students who can prove a dedicated interest and enthusiasm for scientific research.

Candidates may apply for a CMRI PhD scholarship, which exceeds the Australian Postgraduate Awards and NHMRC scholarships in value; visit the CMRI website for details.

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mouse embryology, stem/progenitor cells, directed cell differentiation, developmental genetics, gene expression, signaling activity

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 128

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