Professor Marilyn Renfree

Find an Expert Page and Google Scholar Page


Marilyn graduated of the Australian National University and completed her PhD under the supervision of Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe. She subsequently held a Fulbright, postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Tennessee, a Ford Foundation Fellowship at the ARC Institute of Animal Genetics, University of Edinburgh before becoming a foundation member of staff of Murdoch University. She resigned her Associate Professor position to move to Monash University as a National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellow from 1982-1991. She was appointed to the Ian Potter Chair of Zoology and Head of Department at the University of Melbourne, a position she held from 1991-2003. She became a Laureate Professor of the University in 2002, and in 2003 was awarded a Federation Fellowship. She has received the Gottschalk Medal (Australian Academy of Science), the Mueller Medal (ANZAAS), the Gold Conservation Medal for 2000 of the Zoological Society of San Diego, and a 2015 Eureka prize for outstanding mentorship of young researchers. She received the Whitley Book award in 1987 with Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe for their textbook Reproductive Physiology of Marsupials. She was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1997, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Biology in 1998, was Chair of the Society for Reproductive Biology 1997-2000 and the Australian Antarctic Division’s Ethics Committee from1997-2003, and currently serves on the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Committee.


The central focus of research in my laboratory is to understand the control of reproduction and development in mammals. We study a wide range of mammals, from wallabies to women, but I have special interests in the Australian mammalian fauna, particularly marsupials and monotremes and the evolution of reproduction. Reproductive projects funded by the ARC we are currently conducting are on physiology and endocrinology of parturition, the uterine, hormonal and metabolic control of embryonic diapause, embryo culture, the lactational and seasonal control of breeding and biology of germ cells. We have a large NHMRC funded program on the developmental biology of sexual differentiation in marsupials and the genes and hormones that control male and female development. We also have an ARC and ARC SPIRT supported program on conservation and fertility control of macropodid marsupials.

Students & Postdocs

Graduate students Eleanor Ager, Natalie Calatayud,Kenneth Chung, Yirmed Demeke, Jane Fenelon,Melissa Gamat, Yanqui Hu, Emily Hynes, ANdrew Greenfield, Brandon Menzies, Richard Moyle, Nanette Schneider Honours students Fiona MacDonald, Lucien MacMahon Postdoctoral Fellows Dr Andrew Pask Dr Danielle Hickford Dr Hongshi Yu Dr Natasa Sankovic Research Officer Sue Osborn

Research and Technical Assistants

Helen Clark


Prof G Shaw, Prof R.R. Behringer,  Prof JM Graves, Prof R.V. Short, Prof P.D. Temple-Smith, Prof J.D. Wilson, Prof Fumi Ishino, Prof Asao Fujiyama and many others


Coordinator Bachelor of Biomedical Science Stream 5: Reproductive and Developmental Biology


Member, Minister for the Environment’s Scientific Committee on the use of Wildlife Chair, Australian Antarctic Division’s Animal Ethics Committee Member, Council of the Australian Academy of Science Member, Scholarships Committee Member, PhD Committee School of Graduate Studies Member, Academic Board Member, Promotions Panel (Medicine & Veterinary Science) Member, Promotions Panel (Science) Member, Faculty of Science Ex officio member, all Departmental committees

Publications (refereed articles and chapters)

Warning: readfile( failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden in /home2/gshaw/public_html/biosciences/renfreeshawlab/wp-content/plugins/shortcode-exec-php/shortcode-exec-php-class.php(895) : eval()'d code on line 1

Further Publications: PubMed Search