<b>Professor Peter Koopman</b><br>
Group Leader, Genomics of Development and Disease Division<br>
Investigator, Centre for Rare Diseases Research<p>
P: +61 7 3346 2063<br>
E: p.koopman@imb.uq.edu.au<p>
<b>Keywords</b><br>
- intersex disorders<br>
- testicular cancer<br>
- ovarian cancer<br>
- infertility
Professor Peter Koopman
Group Leader, Genomics of Development and Disease Division
Investigator, Centre for Rare Diseases Research

P: +61 7 3346 2063
E: p.koopman@imb.uq.edu.au

Keywords
- intersex disorders
- testicular cancer
- ovarian cancer
- infertility

Visit the Koopman Lab website for more information.

Disorders of sex development, infertility and testicular cancer

Our research focuses on genes that regulate sex development—the molecular process that determines whether an embryo develops as a male or a female—and finding how problems with these genes can cause intersex, infertility and testicular cancer. 

We are studying SRY, the Y-chromosome maleness gene, and how it controls the genetic and cellular events leading to testis development and male sex determination. We also use molecular genetics tools to identify other sex development genes and to study how these affect sex development, using transgenic and gene-knockout mice to answer questions about gene function. Ultimately, we hope this research will help us to better understand the causes of human disorders of sex development, which affect up to 1 in every 250 children born each year, so that these disorders can be diagnosed more accurately and managed more effectively.

We are also interested in how germ cells—the embryonic precursor cells that become sperm in males or eggs in females—receive molecular signals from the testis or ovary in order to choose the corresponding path of sperm or egg development. We have discovered several signalling proteins that direct this decision and current research is focused on understanding how these signals act. This work is helping us find the causes of infertility and testicular cancer, two of the most common reproductive disorders whose incidence continues to rise.

More broadly, the study of embryo development provides insight into mechanisms of disease, including cancer, and provides a molecular and cellular basis for new molecular diagnostics and targeted therapies.

Make a difference to Professor Koopman's research by donating today.

Community resources

Professor Koopman has recently launched a new online community resource, available at www.dsdgenetics.org, to help improve understanding of Disorders of Sexual Development (DSD) by providing up-to-date scientific information. 

This DSD resource was created in collaboration with researchers from IMB, Prince Henry's Institute and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute to help share findings from their NHMRC-funded research into the genes involved in typical and atypical sexual development.

Research in the news

6 September1 2013 - 'Unpacking' enzyme lets boys be boys, ABC Science

2007 - GlaxoSmithKline Australia Award for Research Excellence - winner video

Research training opportunities

Please visit IMB's postgraduate website for more information. 

Key publications

View more publications by Professor Koopman via PubMed and via UQ Researchers.

Zhao, L., Ting Ng, E., Davidon, E., Longmuss, E., Urschitz, J., Elston, M., Moisyadi, S., Bowles, J., and Koopman, P. (2014) Structure–function analysis of mouse Sry reveals dual essential roles of the C-terminal polyglutamine tract in sex determination. PNAS 111(32):11768-73.

Bowles, J., Feng, C-W., Spiller, C., Davidson, T-L., Jackson, A., and Koopman, P. (2010). FGF9 suppresses meiosis and promotes male germ cell fate in mice. Developmental Cell 19: 440-449.

François, M., Caprini, A., Hosking, B., Orsenigo, F., Wilhelm, D., Browne, C., Paavonen, K., Karnezis, T., Shayan, R., Downes, M., Davidson, T., Tutt, D., Cheah, K.S.E., Chan, M., Stacker, S.A., Muscat, G.E.O., Achen, M.G., Dejana, E., and Koopman, P. (2008). SOX18 initiates lymphatic development in mice. Nature 456: 643-647.

Bowles, J., Knight, D., Smith, C., Wilhelm, D., Richman, J., Mamiya, S., Yashiro, K., Chawengsaksophak, K., Wilson, M.J., Rossant, J., Hamada, H., and Koopman, P. (2006). Retinoid signaling determines germ cell fate in mice. Science 312: 596–600.

Wilhelm, D., and Koopman, P. (2006). The makings of maleness: Towards an integrated view of male sexual development. Nature Reviews Genetics 7: 620-631.

Group contacts

Koopman Lab

Dr Jo Bowles
Research staff
+61 7 334 62061
+61 7 334 62344
j.bowles@imb.uq.edu.au

Mr Christian Larney
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62641
c.larney@imb.uq.edu.au

Ms Clarissa Rios Rojas
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62060
+61 7 334 62344
c.riosrojas@imb.uq.edu.au
Ms Tara-Lynne Davidson
Research staff
+61 7 334 62060
+61 7 334 62344
+61 7 334 62913
t.davidson@imb.uq.edu.au

Ms Kathryn McClelland
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62344
+61 7 334 62348
k.mcclelland@imb.uq.edu.au

Dr Cassy Spiller
Research staff
+61 7 334 62061
+61 7 334 62344
c.spiller@imb.uq.edu.au
Ms Jessica Ineson
Research staff
+61 7 334 62069
j.ineson@imb.uq.edu.au
Ms Ee Ting Ng
Research staff
+61 7 334 62344
+61 7 334 62348
e.ng@imb.uq.edu.au
Ms Elanor Wainwright
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62344
+61 7 334 62348
e.wainwright@imb.uq.edu.au
Professor Peter Koopman
Group leader
+61 7 334 62059
p.koopman@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Alexander Quinn
Research staff
+61 7 334 62061
+61 7 334 62344
a.quinn@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Liang Zhao
Research staff
+61 7 334 62061
+61 7 334 62344
l.zhao@imb.uq.edu.au
Mr Chun-Wei (Allen) Feng 
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62060
c.feng@imb.uq.edu.au