Emeritus Professor William Breed

Emeritus Professor William Breed
 Position Emeritus Professor
 Org Unit School of Biological Sciences
 Email bill.breed@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5743
 Location Floor/Room 3 16 ,  Oliphant ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background


    Emeritus Prof. Bill Breed (Retired February 2015) is a reproductive biologist whose main research focus is on the morphology and evolution of sperm, eggs and egg coats and fertilisation of Australian rodents and marsupials. He has published around 170 papers (including 2 in Nature) in morphological, zoological, and reproductive biological journals. Late in 2007 he had a book, with Fred Ford, published by the CSIRO publishing company in their Australian Natural History series entitled Native Mice and Rats.

    Over the last five years he and his associates have had around 20 papers on sperm and eggs of Australian mammals. He has also published 20 review articles including one, with Prof. Brian Setchell, on mammalian male reproductive anatomy in the 3rd edition of "Knobil and Neill's Physiology of Reproduction". Bill is a past Head of The Discipline of Anatomical Sciences in The School of Medical Sciences at The University of Adelaide. He, together with his collaborators, has been largely responsible for the introduction of most of the modern microscopical techniques within the discipline including fluorescence microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and immuno-gold labelling techniques.

    He was an Editorial Board Member of the journal Reproduction for 6 years and wrote, with Ken Aplin, the introduction sections on rodents in the 3rd edition of Mammals of Australia edited by S Van Dyck and R Strahan. He is a past president of the Australian Mammal Society, a research associate of the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia, and a fellow of The Royal Society of South Australia.

    Bill has been the major supervisor of 12 completed PhD, 1 MSc, and  53 honours student projects all the latter of whom have obtained either 1st or upper 2A degrees. At the present time he currently cosupervises 3 students studying for their PhDs at The University of Adelaide and has recently been the overseas cosupervisor of two PhD students funded by The Royal Golden Jubilee Postgraduate programme at two universities in Thailand. Bill’s present research projects include studies on co-evolution of sperm and eggs of Australian mammals and the effects of sexual selection on sperm design. His other recent studies have included investigations on sperm nuclear chromatin organisation, sperm head and tail cytoskeletal protein organisation, and the evolution of egg coat zona pellucida glycoproteins.

  • Qualifications

    1965 - BSc (Hons). University of Aberdeen
    1968 - D. Phil.  University of Oxford

    Postdoctoral Experience

    1968/1969 - University of California, Los Angeles

    1969 to 1973 - University of Birmingham

  • Awards & Achievements

    2001 - Nominated Supervisor of the Year by the Adelaide University Postgraduate Student Association

    2006 - Honorary Research Associate of The Royal Zoological Society of South Australia
    2010 - Elected Fellow & Honorary Life Member of The Australian Mammal Society

    Recent Invited Talks

    2009 - 10th International Mammalogical Congress; symposium on Reproduction in Marsupials. Mendosa, Argentina.
    2009 - Symposium on Impacts of Environmental change on reproduction in wildlife at Zoological Society of London.
    2010 - 4th International Conference on Rodent Biology and Management in Bloemfontain, South Africa
    2013 - 11th International Mammalogical Congress; Symposium on Reproductive Competition


  • Teaching Interests

    • Comparative mammalian reproductive biology
    • Evolution of mammalian gametes and their interaction during fertilisation
    • Evolution of mammalian testis
    • Application of reproductive technology to conservation of mammals
    • Cell biology of sperm & eggs
  • Research Interests

    • Biology of small native rodents & marsupials of Australia
    • Environmental control of reproduction and evolution of breeding systems in rodents
    • Morphological events at time of fertilisation in mammals
    • Evolution of mammalian gametes
    • Coevolution of mammalian genitalia and associated reproductive behaviour
    • Effect of sexual selection of gamete shape and form
    • Application of reproductive technology to conservation of Australian mammals
  • Research Funding

    Recipient of 12 ARC Grants between 1987 and 2003

  • Publications

  • Professional Associations

    • Member of The Australian Mammal Society (President 1998-2000)
    • Member of The American Association for the Advancement of Science
    • Member of The American Society of Mammalogists
    • Member of The Society of Reproduction and Fertility (UK)
    • Member of The Society for Reproductive Biology (Australia) (Conference Organising Committee 1994-1996).
    • Fellow of The Royal Society of South Australia
    • Member of The Australian Conservation Foundation (Elected Council member 1983)
    • Member of Nature Conservation Society of South Australia
    • Past Member of The Australasian Society for Human Biology (Chairperson of the Annual Conference Organising Committee 1993; member of Executive Committee 1994-1997)

  • Media Expertise

    CategoriesAnimals & Veterinary Science, Fertility & Reproduction
    Expertisecell biology; reproductive biology; fertility; reproduction
    NotesAlt phone: (08) 8313 5743
    After hours(08) 8362 1767

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.

Entry last updated: Sunday, 18 Nov 2018

To link to this page, please use the following URL:  https://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/bill.breed