University Staff Directory The University of Adelaide Australia
Faculties & Divisions | People A to Z | Media Expertise | Phonebook
Public browsing [Login]
Text Zoom: S | M | L

Associate Professor Jeremy Thompson

Telephone +61 8 8313 8152
Position Head of Early Development Group
Fax +61 8 8313 8177
Building Medical School South
Floor/Room 2 19
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Paediatrics and Reproductive Health

To link to this page, please use the following URL:

Biography/ Background

My research lies in discovering the metabolic determinants of developmental potential within mammalian oocytes and embryos, as well as the influence of specific growth factors in determining these. I conduct this research primarily in cattle and mouse models, plus collaboration in human oocyte competence with Prof. Johan Smits at VUB in Brussels. Along with long standing collaborations on the roles of oocyte secreted factors and cytokines in determining oocyte competence, I am also focussed on how compromised maternal peri-conception metabolic environments, such as hyperglycaemia and hypoxia, influence oocyte and embryo metabolism leading to adverse developmental outcomes, including research collaboration with Prof T Monro (Inst. Photonics and Sensing, U. of Adelaide) on micronutrient and ionic sensing during early development

Current Appointments

  • NHMRC Senior Research Fellow.
  • Member, Robinson Institute.
  • Research Program Leader of Early Development Group.
  • Treasurer Society for Reprodutive Biology

Early Development Group Members




Jeremy Thompson

Group Leader

Dr Melanie McDowall

Post Doctorate

Dr Hannah Brown Post-doctoral Fellow
Ryan Rose PhD student
Marie Anastasi Research technician
Lesley Ritter Laboratory Manager
Annie Whitty
Research technician





















1980 B.Sc. The University of Adelaide

1981 - B.Sc. (Hons) Thesis title: The effect of the social environment on the gonadal
The University of Adelaide activity of the hopping mouse, Notomys alexis

1986 - Ph.D. Thesis title: Studies on the fertilization in sheep using in vitro methods
Dept of Veterinary Anatomy, The University of Queensland

Awards & Achievements

1989 - New Zealand Society of Animal Production's Young Members Award
New Zealand. Administered by the New Zealand Society of Animal Production. Presented at their Annual Conference to the best presentation by a young member.

1993 - Recipient Prince and Princess of Wales Science Award. Administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand. For Travel to the United Kingdom for study (1500 NZD)

1993 - McLaughlin Trust Award. Administered by the Trustees. For Travel to the United Kingdom for study
(1000 NZD)

1993 - AgResearch Travel Fellowship. Provided by AgResearch New Zealand as a competitive fund for Sabbatical support (20,000 NZD)

1998 - New Zealand Society of Animal Production Animal Science Award
Travel Award for attendance at the International Embryo Transfer Society conference Boston USA (2000 NZD)

2000 - New Zealand Society of Animal Production Animal Science Award
Travel award for attendance at the International Congress Animal Reproduction, Stockholm, Sweden (2000 NZD)

2007 - Mentorship Award
Awarded by the Discipline Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide
Adelaide, Australia for outstanding mentorship of staff, students and early career researchers.


2011 - Mentorship Award
Awarded by the  Discipline Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide
Adelaide, Australia for outstanding mentorship of staff, students and early career researchers.

2013 - Made a Fellow of the Society for Reproductive Biology

2016 - Awarded the Society for Reproductive Biology's Founder Lecturer

Research Interests

My overall research interest lies in the relationship between micro-environmental, especially nutritional factors, surrounding the cumulus-oocyte complex and during early embryo development, in both the in vivo (follicular/oviduct/uterine) or in vitro environment, and the developmental competence of the oocyte.  This encompasses the following research:

Hypoxia, Hypoxia inducible factors and their role in reproduction

My laboratory has had a long standing interest in the role of oxygen concentration in regulating events within the female reproductive tract.  This is primarily because both oocytes (within follicles) and pre-implantation stage embryos (especially within the uterus) develop in what is normally considered low oxygen concentration environments.  We have focussed on the role of the transcription factor, Hypoxia Inducible Factor, in regulating a number of transitional events, such as follicle antrum formation, corpus luteum formation, early embryo development and implantation.

Glucose concentration, the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway and oocyte competence.

My laboratory has been investigating the metabolic process of cumulus expansion, which involves the less well-recognized pathway of glucose metabolism, the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway, because of the belief that increased cumulus expansion related to better oocyte competence following maturation. When expansion is artificially stimulated (by addition of glucosamine) during oocyte maturation within either mouse, pig or cattle oocytes, it causes a profound inhibitory effect on oocyte competency not related to meiotic completion and only after fertilization and early cleavage had occurred. This is surprising, as this is the same pathway that must be up-regulated to provide hyaluronic acid for matrix formation. My laboratory has subsequently found that in both mouse and cow oocytes that this inhibition involves the O-linked-β-glycosylation of serines and threonines of un-identified proteins, in much the same way as kinases phosphorylate such sites on proteins

Oocyte secreted factors and oocyte competence.

With my collaborator, Rob Gilchrist, my laboratory has been studying cumulus cell – oocyte interactions and the role of oocyte secreted factors (OSFs). This has led to the discovery that the addition of native OSFs or the addition of recombinant specific factors, growth differentiation factor-9 (GDF-9) or bone morphogenetic protein-15 (BMP-15) to in vitro maturation of cattle or mouse oocytes significantly increases subsequent embryo yield by 50% and improves quality of resultant embryos and increases implantation rates post-transfer. This discovery is now patented and licensed to Cook Australia. We are pursuing this research area further and our aim is to apply this discovery to clinical IVM.

cAMP/cGMP management during oocyte maturation

As a result of ARC Linkage funding with Cook, and in a 2nd major collaboration with Rob Gilchrist, we have found that the management of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) during IVM of either cattle or mouse oocytes, in a manner that no other laboratory has attempted, greatly increases their competence and therefore embryo yield. In cattle, the rate of blastocyst production is doubled, which is unheard of in this species. We have filed a provisional patent (filing date May 09). Our research is now directed to understand the mechanisms which cause this increase in developmental competence.


Research Funding

    1. NHMRC Fellowship Grant
    2. ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale Biophotonics
    3. ARC Linkage Grant
    4. Cook Australia 'IVM Development Funding' Grant



 For publications please link to:



Expertise for Media Contact

CategoriesMedicine & Medical Research
ExpertiseEmbryology; reproduction
NotesAlt phone: (08) 8303 8228
Mobile0408 849 172

Entry last updated: Monday, 20 Feb 2017

The information in this directory is provided to support the academic, administrative and business activities of the University of Adelaide. To facilitate these activities, entries in the University Phone Directory are not limited to University employees. The use of information provided here for any other purpose, including the sending of unsolicited commercial material via email or any other electronic format, is strictly prohibited. The University reserves the right to recover all costs incurred in the event of breach of this policy.