University oF MELBOURNe
Member Details

Prof. Moira O’Bryan
Head, Male Infertility and Germ Cell Biology Laboratory
Dean of Science, The University of Melbourne

The School of BioSciences Bio21 Institute
The University of Melbourne
30 Flemington Road
Parkville VIC 3052

Telephone: +61 3 9035 5511

Team Members
  • Dr. Brendan Houston – Postdoc in the O’Bryan lab
  • Dr. Jessica Dunleavy – Postdoc in the O’Bryan lab
  • Anne O’Connor – Lab Manager
  • Joseph Nguyen – Research Assistant
  • Tianpengcheng (Amy) Luan – PhD student in the O’Bryan lab
  • Maddison Graffeo – PhD student in the O’Bryan lab
Working Group: Lead of the functional validation working group

The functional validation working group aims to definitively prove the link between SNVs identified via the sequencing pipelines and their role in male infertility. In doing so we hope to improve the diagnostic utility of infertility tests developed through the consortium, but to also open up avenues for research into the essential mechanisms required for male fertility.

Member Description

Prof. Moira O’Bryan is a reproductive biologist with expertise in the area of fundamental mechanisms required to produce fertile sperm, the causes of male infertility and the role of sperm structure-function as a driver of evolution. Areas of particular emphasis include the mechanisms of sperm head shaping and cilia/flagella development and function, genetic causes of male infertility, the importance of epigenetic regulation in male fertility and transgenerational health, and the connection between male fertility and overall health – a concept often referred to as ‘the canary in the coalmine hypothesis’. To achieve these aims, her laboratory uses a range of animal and cell models, high end imaging technologies and suites of biochemical and cell biology approaches.
Prof. O’Bryan is the Dean of Science at the University of Melbourne and along with Prof. Rob McLachlan from the Hudson Institute of Medical Research, runs the Monash Male Infertility Repository. Prof. O’Bryan is also a Fellow of the Society for the Study of Reproduction (North America) and the Society for Reproductive Biology (Australia and New Zealand).
The functional validation working group aims to definitively prove the link between genetic variants identified via the sequencing pipelines and their role(s) in male infertility. In doing so we hope to improve the diagnostic utility of infertility tests developed through the consortium, but to also open avenues for research into the essential mechanisms required for male fertility.


Kimmins S, Anderson RA, Barratt CLR et al. (2023) Frequency, morbidity and equity – the case for increased research on male fertility. Nature Reviews Urology.

Cheers SR, O’Connor AE, Johnson TK, et al. (2023) Spastin is an essential regulator of male meiosis, acrosome formation, manchette structure and nuclear integrity. Development, 150(6), dev201183.

Houston BJ, O’Connor AE, Wang D, et al. (2022) Human INHBB Gene Variant (c.1079T>C:p.Met360Thr) Alters Testis Germ Cell Content, but Does Not Impact Fertility in Mice. Endocrinology. 163(3).

Dunleavy JEM, O’Connor AE, Okuda H et al. (2021) KATNB1 is a master regulator of multiple katanin enzymes in male meiosis and haploid germ cell development. Development, 148(24), dev199922.

Stathatos GG, Dunleavy JE, Zenker J & O’Bryan MK (2021) Delta and epsilon tubulin in mammalian development. Trends in Cell Biology, 31(9), 774-787.

Houston BJ, Riera A, Wyrwoll MJ et al. (2021) A systematic review of the validated monogenic causes of human male infertility: 2020 update and a discussion of emerging gene-disease relationships. Human Reproduction Update

Pleuger C, Lehti MS, Dunleavy JE et al (2020) Haploid male germ cells – the Grand Central Station of protein transport. Human Reproduction Update, 26(4), 474-500.

Houston BJ, Oud MS, Aguirre DM, et al (2020) Programmed Cell Death 2-like ( Pdcd2l ) Is Required for Mouse Embryonic Development. g3.401714.2020.

Houston BJ, Conrad DF, O’Bryan MK (2020) A framework for high-resolution phenotyping of candidate male infertility mutants: from human to mouse. Hum Genet.

Gaikwad AS, Anderson AL, Merriner DJ, et al (2019) GLIPR1L1 is an IZUMO-binding protein required for optimal fertilization in the mouse. BMC Biol 17:86.

Pleuger C, Lehti MS, Cooper M, et al (2019) CBE1 is a manchette and mitochondria associated protein with a potential role in somatic cell proliferation. Endocrinology.

Lim S, Kierzek M, O’Connor AE, et al (2019) CRISP2 Is a Regulator of Multiple Aspects of Sperm Function and Male Fertility. Endocrinology 160:915–924.

Catford S, O’Bryan M, McLachlan R, et al (2019) Germ cell arrest associated with aSETX mutation in ataxia oculomotor apraxia type 2. Reprod Biomed Online 38:961–965.

Dunleavy JEM, Okuda H, O’Connor AE, et al (2017) Katanin-like 2 (KATNAL2) functions in multiple aspects of haploid male germ cell development in the mouse. PLOS Genet 13:e1007078.

Lim SL, Qu ZP, Kortschak RD, et al (2015) HENMT1 and piRNA Stability Are Required for Adult Male Germ Cell Transposon Repression and to Define the Spermatogenic Program in the Mouse. PLOS Genet 11:e1005620.

Liu Y, DeBoer K, de Kretser DM, et al (2015) LRGUK-1 Is Required for Basal Body and Manchette Function during Spermatogenesis and Male Fertility. PLOS Genet 11:e1005090.

O’Bryan MK, Clark BJ, McLaughlin EA, et al (2013) RBM5 Is a Male Germ Cell Splicing Factor and Is Required for Spermatid Differentiation and Male Fertility. PLoS Genet 9:e1003628.

Lo JCY, Jamsai D, O’Connor AE, et al (2012) RAB-Like 2 Has an Essential Role in Male Fertility, Sperm Intra-Flagellar Transport, and Tail Assembly. PLoS Genet 8:e1002969.

Catford SR, McLachlan RI, O’Bryan MK, Halliday JL (2017) Long-term follow-up of intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection-conceived offspring compared with in vitro fertilization-conceived offspring: a systematic review of health outcomes beyond the neonatal period. Andrology 5:610–621.


2023-2024: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Lead CIs: MK O’Bryan. INV-050872.

2023-2026: Australian Research Council. Leads CIs: MK O’Bryan. DP230100747.

2020-2023: Australian Research Council. Leads CIs: MK O’Bryan. DP200100659.

2019-2023: National Health and Medical Research Foundation. Lead CIs: MK O’Bryan, JEM Dunleavy. APP1180929

2018-2020: ARC Discovery Project. Mechanisms of manchette function. CI: Moira O’Bryan. DP180100533.

2018-2020: NHMRC Project Grant. Microtubule severing: a role in mammalian oocyte and embryo viability? CIs: John Carroll, Moira O’Bryan, Greg FitzHarris. APP1146468.

2018-2020: NHMRC Project Grant. Finding the missing katanin. CI: Moira O’Bryan. APP1138014.

2017-2019: NHMRC Partnership Projects. Health and fertility of young men conceived using intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection. Cis: McLachlan, R., Halliday, J., Amor, D. J., Lane, M., McBain, J., O’Bryan, M., Rombauts, L. and Saffery, R.

2017- 2022: Deutsche Forshungsgemeinshaft International Training Grant International Research Training Grant in the area of Molecular Pathogenesis of Male Reproductive Disorders. Lead CIs: Prof Loveland and Prof Meinhardt, with German CIs: Bergmann, Bhushan, Chakraborty, Diemer, Fijak, Konrad, Linn, Middenforff, Schagdarsurengin, Scheiner-Bobis, Schuppe, Steger, Wagenlehner. Australian CIs: Ellem, Hedger, O’Bryan, O’Donnell, Stanton, Risbridger. Australian AIs: Baker, Hobbs, Loveland. DFG Support: € 4.15 million

2016-2018: ARC Discovery Project. A novel microtubule severing protein involved in male germ cell biology. Moira O’Bryan. DP160100647.

2015-2018: NHMRC Project Grant. The characterisation of an essential regulator of pre-mRNA splicing required for germ cell function and male fertility. CIs: Moira O’Bryan, Duangporn Jamsai, Robin Hobbs. APP1078042.