Postgraduate students

Current students

Jessie Maddison

Jessie Maddison
PhD student

Jessie is part of the team working on semen preservation, artificial insemination and embryo transfer in sheep.  Her PhD project focuses on the interaction between ram spermatozoa and cervical mucus. Jessie is using a variety of proteomic, molecular and structural techniques to study cervical mucus, its changes following exogenous hormone use and the nature of its interaction with male gametes affected by cryopreservation.

Samir al Bulushi

Samir Al-Bulushi
PhD student

Samir is working on developing assisted reproductive technologies in dromedary camels. He intends to standardise semen collection and evaluation techniques, studying the role of seminal plasma on sperm function and characterising biophysical and biochemical factors affecting semen quality. His overall aim is to improve the improve the quality of fresh and liquid stored sperm to facilitate effective AI in dromedary camels.

Dannielle Glencorse

Dannielle Glencorse
PhD student

Dannielle is studying oestrus detection methods in pigs with a primary focus on the characteristics of cervical mucus. Precise oestrus detection is crucial for identifying the best time for insemination and maintaining sow fertility. This study will observe biophysical, biochemical and molecular changes to cervical mucus during the oestrus period. The findings will be used to develop a simple, effective method for oestrus detection in commercial piggeries and enable widespread use of frozen-thawed boar spermatozoa. 

Taylor Pini

Taylor Pini
PhD student

Taylor’s research will improve semen preservation and artificial insemination protocols for the sheep industry as part of the Animal Reproduction Group's major program on semen preservation, artificial insemination and embryo transfer in sheep. Her work focuses on the application of seminal plasma, in particular its proteins, to frozen-thawed sperm to reduce freezing damage and improve success rates of cervical artificial insemination. Novel technologies will be employed to understand how freezing damage modifies sperm-cervix interactions and if seminal plasma can assist sperm transit through the female tract.

Cameron Negus

Cameron Negus
PhD student

Cameron’s research is on the liquid and frozen storage of Asian elephant spermatozoa. This project aims to improve sample availability by optimizing current cryopreservation techniques to create a sperm gene-bank for this endangered species, and to investigate the possibility of improving poor quality samples for use of artificial insemination. His work involves using advanced semen analysis techniques to investigate the effects of diluents, processing and storage methods and the seminal plasma on improving the survival of Asian elephant spermatozoa during storage and transport.

 Naomi Bernecic

Naomi Bernecic
PhD student

Naomi’s research focuses on the process of capacitation, specifically examining the role of cholesterol loss from the sperm plasma membrane. Capacitation is essential in order for sperm to acquire the ability to fertilise the oocyte. This PhD concentrates on the importance of cholesterol loss from the sperm plasma membrane during this final sperm maturation step and aims to identify the molecular mechanisms underpinning the process using a variety of proteomic and molecular techniques. This research will further our understanding of the factors which regulate sperm fertilising capacity.

Alicia Steel

Alicia Steel
MVetStud Student

Alicia is examining the levels of two key hormones in the blood of young female pigs to see if they are predictive of the animals’ reproductive performance as adults. Currently in the pig industry, too many sows selected for breeding are prematurely culled due to poor reproductive performance. Therefore, a reliable predictor of reproductive performance is greatly needed. The hormones Alicia will measure are anti-Müllerian hormone, which has been found to be predictive of fertility in other species, and oestradiol, which is produced by active ovaries. This project is funded by Australian Pork Limited.

Robert Leach

Robert Leach
PhD Student

Rob is evaluating an alternative method to deliver gene editing systems into pig embryos. Components of the revolutionary gene editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas9 are typically microinjected into embryos. However, the microinjection technique is laborious and requires expensive equipment. Rob's studies will determine whether it is feasible to deliver the CRISPR/Cas9 components using a relatively simple electroporation technique.

Kelsey Pool

Kelsey Pool
PhD Student

Kelsey’s research focuses on the preservation of ram semen for artificial insemination, with a particular emphasis on the cervical transit of freeze-thawed spermatozoa. She is part of the team working on semen preservation, artificial insemination and embryo transfer in sheep. Her project aims to clarify the role of specific additives and seminal plasma components and how these may be applied to ameliorate the damage to ram spermatozoa caused by cryopreservation. Development of novel cryopreservation technology as a part of Kelsey's work will also contribute to the improved function and fertility of frozen-thawed ram spermatozoa.


Past students

  • Cassandra Stuart PhD (graduated 2016)
  • Louise Bartolac PhD (graduated 2016)
  • Danielle Johinke PhD (graduated 2015)
  • Jessica Rickard PhD (graduated 2015)
  • Zamira Gibb PhD (graduated 2013)
  • Jenna Lowe PhD (graduated 2015)
  • Timothy Portas MVSc (graduated 2012)
  • Kiri Beilby PhD (graduated 2010)
  • Michael Bertoldo PhD (graduated 2010)
  • Tamara Leahy PhD (graduated 2010)
  • Shelley Underwood PhD (graduated 2009)

Honours students

2016

  • Charley-Lea Pollard BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Gabrielle Ryan BAnVetBioSc(Hons and Medal)

2015

  • Emmah Tumeth BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Annabel Tym BVSc(Hons)

2014

  • Melissa Caruso BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Naomi Bernicic BAnVetBioSc(Hons)

2013

  • Joanna Aitken BVSc(Hons)
  • Dannielle Glencourse BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Aaron Jin BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Emily Knight BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Ethan Mooney BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Cameron Negus BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Taylor Pini BAnVetBioSc(Hons)

2012

  • Elizabeth Barter BVSc(Hons)
  • Jessica Craig BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Michelle De Martin BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Sally Hall BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Jessie Maddison BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Paola Rosales BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Rose Schmidt BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Alicia Steel BAnVetBioSc(Hons)

2011

  • Natasha Tarapor BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Felicia Li BScVet
  • Alyssa Dickinson BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Natalie Hackl BAnVetBioSc(Hons)

2010

  • Jenna Lowe BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Jessica Rickard BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Rachel Rodney BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Teigan Sellens BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Naomi Williams BAnVetBioSc(Hons)

2009

  • Mohammad Bahrini BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Tess Harris BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Kellie Masters BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Luke Micallef BScAgr(Hons)
  • Cassandra Stuart BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Kristen Yeung BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Sheridan Young BAnVetBioSc(Hons)

2008

  • Tamara Butler BVSc(Hons)
  • Nicole Mace BAnVetBioSc(Hons)

2007

  • Tamara Butler BScVet
  • Kylie Dunn BAnVetBioSc(Hons)