Associate Professor Simon de Graaf

Professor Simon de Graaf

Professor of Animal Reproduction

Research interests:

  • Semen preservation
  • Artificial insemination and embryo transfer
  • Production of pre-sexed offspring by flow cytometric sex-sorting
  • Interaction of sperm, seminal plasma and the female reproductive tract

Current research projects:

  • Semen preservation, artificial insemination and embryo transfer in sheep
  • Sensing technologies to reduce reproductive wastage of sheep

Associate Professor Roslyn Bathgate

Associate Professor Roslyn Bathgate

Associate Professor of Animal Reproduction

Research interests:

  • Semen and embryo preservation
  • Artificial insemination and embryo transfer
  • In vitro fertilisation and embryo culture
  • Reproductive endocrinology

Current research projects:

  • Precision monitoring of reproductive state via development of pen side mucus testing and continuous remote monitoring in pigs

Christopher Grupen

Professor Christopher Grupen

Professor of Reproductive Biology

Research interests:

  • Understanding the acquisition of mammalian oocyte quality
  • In vitro production of embryos from oocytes of juvenile animals
  • Seasonal infertility in the pig
  • Marker assisted selection in breeding systems

Current research projects:

  • In vitro embryo production in pigs

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Jessica Rickard

Dr Jessica Rickard

McCaughey Senior Research Fellow

Research interests:

  • Production of pre-sexed offspring by flow cytometric sex-sorting
  • Improving reproductive technologies available to the animal industries
  • Physiological role of proteins on the sperm surface

Current research projects:
Jessica is part of the team working on semen preservation, artificial insemination and embryo transfer in sheep. The aim of her project is to tailor commercial methods of sperm sorting by flow cytometry to produce ‘sexed ram semen’ and make this technology available to the Australian sheep industry.

Dr Supatcharee Arun

Postdoctoral Researcher

Research interests:

  • Reproductive biology and biomedicine
  • Effect of stress and chemical on epididymal functions
  • Roles of tyrosine phosphorylation in the reproductive system
  • Effects of medicinal plants on reproductive toxicology

Current research projects:
Supatcharee’s research project characterises and compares the epididymal proteins of rats treated with valproic acid. Protein changes may be used as diagnostic predictors of sperm function and infertility in male epileptic patients.

Emeritus Professors

Emeritus Professor Gareth Evans

Emeritus Professor Gareth Evans

Emeritus Professor of Animal Reproduction

Professor Chis Maxwell

Emeritus Professor Chris Maxwell

Emeritus Professor of Reproductive Biology

Professional Staff


Cameron Sharpe (Farm manager Animal Reproduction Unit, Cobbitty)

Comprehensive experience of domestic animal husbandry and management for natural and artificial breeding programmes.

Current research students

Alexandra Walls
PhD Student

Alexandra’s research aims to improve our definition of ‘normal’ in pig farrowing. She aims to use the knowledge she acquires to develop tools that can aid in identifying abnormal parturition, flagging sows in need of assistance, and improving farm economics and both sow and piglet welfare. This research has required a bringing together of endocrinology, physiology, behaviour and engineering knowledge to develop a range of novel solutions with real world applications and a re-think of the current industry practice in the farrowing space.

Eloise Spanner
PhD Student

Eloise’s PhD is an industry project working alongside the Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Project (AMSEA) to investigate the effect of male, female, and environmental factors on the variability of successful artificial insemination (AI) programs within the Australian merino industry. The lack of industry standards to determine the fertility of a given ram and ewe has driven her interest in the advancements and utilisation of fertility prediction procedures and methodology. Her work includes using advanced semen assessments, flow cytometry, DNA staining, western blots, proteomics, and transcriptomics of frozen-thawed ram semen. If successful, the project will recommend strategies to improve the likelihood of AI programs. Therefore, this project aims to increase the number of lambs born to elite flocks and accelerate genetic progress for the Australian sheep industry.

Katherine Seymour
PhD Student

Katherine’s research is investigating how microfluidics and optical trapping can be used to manipulate, assess, and sort ram sperm. Interested in combining technology and agriculture, Katherine’s project aims to simplify and miniaturize complex reproductive technologies to make advanced semen assessment more accessible for producers. As assisted reproductive technologies become more commonplace in Australian agriculture, particularly in sheep production, the availability of advanced semen assessment tools is becoming increasingly critical. Selecting and enriching for high quality sperm would boost the success rate of artificial breeding programs and maximize reproductive efficiency on farm while minimizing the economic loss of unsuccessful inseminations.

Madeleine Van De Hoek
PhD Student

Madeleine’s research aims to identify the factors within seminal plasma that modulate the metabolic pathways and motion characteristics of ram sperm. Her work seeks to improve methods of ram semen storage and prolong maintenance of in vivo fertilising capacity.

Sophie Warr
PhD Student

Sophie’s PhD aims to identify molecular markers which may facilitate successful sperm transit through the cervix of the ewe. Her work includes molecular characterisation of different sperm phenotypes using ‘omic technologies and novel in vitro models to identify sperm-cervix interactions, including immune and biochemical responses. Ultimately, this research seeks to restore the ability of frozen-thawed semen to penetrate the cervix and achieve acceptable pregnancy rates following cervical artificial insemination.


Madison Golledge
PhD Student

Coming soon

Past students

Higher Degree by Research
  • Emmah Goldsmith PhD (graduated 2024)
  • Danielle Glencorse PhD (graduated 2021)
  • Cameron Negus PhD (graduated 2021)
  • Kelsey Pool PhD (graduated 2020)
  • Alicia Steel PhD (graduated 2020)
  • Naomi Bernecic PhD (graduated 2019)
  • Samir Al-Bulushi PhD (graduated 2019)
  • Taylor Pini PhD (graduated 2018)
  • Jessie Maddison PhD (graduated 2017)
  • 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)
Undergraduate honours


  • Maya Robertson BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Megan Walker BAnVetBioSc(Hons)


  • Theresa-Fina Barker BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Madeleine Van de Hoek BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Sophie Warr BAnVetBioSc(Hons)


  • Jock Capel BScAgr(Hons)
  • Madison Golledge BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Katherine Seymour BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Eloise Spanner BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Trinity White BAnVetBioSc(Hons)


  • Melissa Annetts BScAgr(Hons)
  • Taylor Cole BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Charlotte Edwards BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Rachel Ku BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Amy Phillips BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Sumana Singareddy BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Alexandra Walls BAnVetBioSc(Hons)


  • Teigan Farrar BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Bianca Haase BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Alexandra Hunter BAnVetBioSc(Hons)


  • Madeleine Close BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Kareena Evans BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Christine Green BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Molly Greentree BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Natalie Rizkallah BAnVetBioSc(Hons)


  • Bethan Arthur BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Philippa Bruce BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Nicola Culey BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Kiri Farmer BAnVetBioSc(Hons and Medal)
  • Max Lloyd BAnVetBioSc(Hons)
  • Emily Underwood BAnVetBioSc(Hons)


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


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


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


  • 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)


  • 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)


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


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


  • 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)


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


  • Tamara Butler BScVet
  • Kylie Dunn BAnVetBioSc(Hons)