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Just out: Molecular conservation of marsupial and eutherian placentation and lactation

September 2017: Eutherian mammals (e.g. human, mouse) are often referred to as “placental” mammals, yet marsupials (e.g. kangaroo, koala) also have a fully functioning placenta, made out of the yolk sac. The evolutionary relationship between eutherian and marsupial placentas had not been investigated at the molecular level, so we performed RNA-Seq on a prized collection of wallaby placentas, provided by the Renfree lab! This was a collaboration with Michael Guernsey of Julie Baker’s lab (Stanford) and Marilyn Renfree (Univ of Melbourne).
eLIFE | Commentary | Stanford press release

Reproduction Down Under 2017

We are organising a conference. For details see

Australia is home to a unique spectrum of mammalian species. Our animals are our national mbr-and-furry-pyheritage. Our Coat of Arms is held up by two of them – significantly, both are animals that cannot walk backwards! Internationally we are renowned for our iconic mammals, in particular the kangaroo, koala and platypus. Yet sadly, research on our native species is not a national priority. Marilyn Renfree has spent most of her research life uncovering the secrets of marsupial reproduction and development, comparing them to eutherian mammals, and discovered the many novel ways that make marsupials ideal biomedical models but also how to enhance their management and conservation. What would Australia be without our monotremes and marsupials? This conference is to acknowledge the contribution of Marilyn Renfree to Australian science in the fields of reproduction and development in the year of her 70th birthday.

This conference will cover a diverse set of topics in the field of reproduction and development, divided into five main themes over two and a half days. These themes are: Contraception and Conservation; Development and Diapause; Sex and Reproduction, Genomic Imprinting and Marsupial and Monotreme Genomics

Welcome to new Wallaby Group Members


Teruhito Ishihara

Welcome to Teruhito Ishihara, who joins us from Japan for a year to undertake an Honours research project investigating genomic imprinting with a focus on measuring changes in 5-Methyl-cytosine.




Caitlin Cusack

Caitlin Cusack

Welcome also to Caitlin Cusack, who will be investigating expression of the Insulin receptors during development for a 3rd year Research Project.