Professor Ray Rodgers

Professor Ray Rodgers
 Position Director, Robinson Research Institute
 Org Unit Robinson Research Institute
 Telephone +61 8 8313 3932
 Location Floor/Room 5 ,  Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Current Appointments 

    Ovarian Cell Biology Research Group

    • Professor Ray Rodgers: NHMRC Principal Research Fellow
    • Katja Hummitzsch: Postdoctoral Fellow
    • Mr Nicholas Hatzirodos: Research Officer
    • Ms Wendy Bonner: Research Assistant
    • Dr Yvonne Miels: Administrative Assistant
    • Ms Monica Hartanti: PhD student
    • Ms Qianhui Wan: PhD student
    • Ms Jasmine Kelly: MPhil student
    • Ms Nicole Bastian: PhD student
    • Co-supervision of Katrina Copping: PhD student

    Past Appointments in the Endocrine Society of Australia

    • President, elected August 1998 - November 2000
    • Vice-President, elected September 1996 - August 1998
    • Member of Council, elected September 1994 - November 2000
    • Chairman of the Program Organizing Committee for the Annual Scientific Meetings of the Endocrine Society of Australia
      • 1991 - Adelaide, Australia 
      • 1992 - Dunedin, New Zealand
      • 1993 - Brisbane, Australia
    • Member of local organizing committee for Annual Scientific Meeting, Adelaide, 1991 and 11th International Congress of Endocrinology in October 2000 in Sydney
    • Editor Newsletter, Endocrine Society of Australia, 1995-1999
    • Member of local organizing committee for three Annual Clinical Seminar Meetings, Adelaide, 1997, 1998, and 1999
    • Chairman of local organizing committee for Annual Scientific Meeting, Adelaide, August 2002
    • Chair of the publicity campaign for the International Congress of Endocrinology, 2000. 

    Past Activities for National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)

    • Member or chair of NHMRC Grant Review Panels (2001, 2006, chair in 2007, 2015) 
    • Training Award Committee (2003, 2004, 2005)
    • Member of NHMRC Assigners Academy (2009-2013)

    Past Editorial Activities

    Other Past Activities 

    • Former member of eight additional conference organising committees
    • Reviewer of CRC for Immunocontraceptive Vaccines for Control of Vertebrate Pests (1999).
    • Chairman Reproduction Section of the International Union of Physiological Societies' Long-Range Planning Committee (2005 to 2009)
    • Member of the Society for the Study of Reproduction (USA) program committee (2004-2006)
    • Member 14th Int. Congress Hormonal Steroids and Hormones and Cancer, Edinburgh (2010)
    • Member of Scholarship/Fellowship sub-committee of Royal Adelaide Hospital and Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science Research Committee,(2004-2011).
    • Member of International Organizing Committee 9th International Ruminant Reproduction Symposium August 25-29, 2014 Obihiro, Hokkaido, JAPAN
  • Qualifications

    • PhD, Department of Veterinary Preclinical Sciences, University of Melbourne.Research Project: Studies of the ovine small and large luteal cells.
    • Master of Agricultural Science, Department of Physiology, University of Melbourne and the Animal Research Institute, Werribee, Victoria. Research Project: Aspects of endocrinology of clover infertility in sheep.
    • Bachelor of Agricultural Science, Honours, University of Melbourne, Victoria.

  • Awards & Achievements


  • Research Interests


     Our overarching goals are to discover key aspects of ovarian development that underpin our understanding of infertility and endocrine diseases involving the ovary, and to develop prevention and treatment strategies for these. My group, in collaboration with many others, focuses on the roles of extracellular matrix. Matrix is diverse and complex and regulates many cellular and tissue functions. It has been largely overlooked in comparison with the numerous studies of hormones and growth factors in the ovary and hence holds potential for many new discoveries.

    Research Projects

    1. Mechanism of Fetal Predisposition to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: While the precise aetiology of PCOS is yet to be determined, several familial studies from others have demonstrated an association between PCOS and the dinucleotide repeat microsatellite marker D19S884. D19S884 is located within intron 55 of the extracellular matrix gene fibrillin 3 gene. Studies of fibrillins 1 and 2 have shown that they function both as structural components of elastin fibres or mircrofibrils and as regulators of TGFβ family members. Regulation of TGFβ activity by fibrillins is a result of their ability to bind to latent TGFβ binding proteins causing sequestration of latent TGFβs into the extracellular matrix where they are stored and/or activated. TGFβs stimulate collagen production by fibroblasts and are up regulated in fibrosis. The PCOS ovary has increased trunica albunigea and stroma and collagen deposition in these layers. We published two large studies by Ray Rodgers (Molec Cell Endo 307, 133; Molec Human Reprod 15, 829) where we failed to find any role of fibrillin 3 in adult ovaries.  Then in a landmark study we showed that fibrillin 3 was found to be expressed in the developing stroma of human and bovine fetal ovaries (FASEB J 25, 2256-2265).  This study mechanistically combined three important observations about PCOS: (a) The fetal origins of PCOS, (b) The genetic studies suggesting that fibrillin 3 could be a candidate gene in PCOS and (c) The PCOS ovarian phenotype with altered stromal compartments (tunica albuginea, cortical stroma, theca interna); the hallmarks of enhanced TGFβ activity.  Note that this is also the first time TGFβ had been implicate in the aetiology of PCOS.
    1. Formation of the Ovary:  The continued study of PCOS necessitated studying the fetal ovary.  It soon became clear the current hypotheses on how the ovary develops, and as described in anatomy text books are not correct.  We identified how the ovary and follicles develop during fetal development (PLOS ONE 8(2):e55578).  Importantly we identified a novel cell type, GREL (Gonadal-Ridge Epithelial Like) cells, that are the precursor cells of both the surface of the ovary and the follicular granulosa cells.  We identified the surface epithelium at the base of the ovary differs in its developmental origins that the rest of the ovary, perhaps explaining the difference in their stemness and oncogenic potential observed between these two regions of the ovary surface (Nature 2013;495:241-5).

    1. Regulation of Thecal Androgen Production:  Androgen production by the theca cells is the cause of hyperandrogenia in PCOS women.  A hormone INSL3 whose role was not understood is also expressed in the thecal cells.  Early studies by us and collaborators (Biol. Reprod. 66, 934-943) found it be dynamically regulated during follicular growth and atresia.  In collaboration with Prof Phil Knight of Reading University is has now been shown to be regulated by BMPs and to stimulate androgen production by the thecal cells (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA  110, doi =10.1073/pnas.1222216110).
    1. Oocyte Quality: Whilst studying the follicular basal laminas we discovered in bovine (J. Reprod. Fertil. 118, 221-228) and in humans (Human Reprod. 24, 936-944) that follicles have one of either of two phenotypes of follicular basal lamina.  We believe these are formed by differential rates of follicle antrum expansion (Biol Reprod 82, 1021–1029). These forms are related to the quality of oocytes within them based upon their ability to mature in vitro (Human Reprod. 24, 936-944).  Both follicles are healthy. Using a combination of microarrays, proteomics and metabolomics we are identifying molecules differentially present in these follicles that could be used as biomarkers for each follicle type. Significant savings and improvements in ART should be possible if we could choose the better embryos for uterine transfer in IVF programs, thus increasing success rates.
    1. Focimatrix and Maturation of Follicles: We have identified many components of matrix and the changes they undergo in developing follicles, atretic follicles, ovulating follicles and resultant corpora lutea. We also identified a novel type of basal lamina matrix, called focimatrix, which is developmentally regulated in the later phases of follicular growth (Matrix Biol. 23, 207-217.). The novel aspect of this matrix is its conformation. Basal laminas are normally a sheet of matrix ‘wrapped' around a cell or a group of cells (epithelia or endothelia). Therefore basal laminas make compartments within tissues. Focimatrix, however, does not form a continuous layer and thus it cannot perform known basal lamina functions. Our recent data suggest that focimatrix is the key to a follicle developing dominance over other follicles in the follicular phase of the cycle (Mol Cell Endo 321, 207-214; Reproduction 137, 825-834). Studies into its regulation and function maybe useful in improving fertility both in PCOS women and in IVF programs.
    1. Formation of Follicular Fluid: Growth of the follicle encompasses enlargement of the oocyte, replication of follicular cells and formation and expansion of a central follicular antrum or cavity. Many in vitro studies of follicular growth have focused on the replication of granulosa cells, whilst in vivo studies using ultrasonography have focused on the expansion of the follicular antrum and its fluid. Replication of follicular cells and expansion of the follicular antrum are both important, and both are probably stimulated by some of the same hormones and growth factors. They are, however, very distinct processes. Our central hypothesis on follicular fluid formation, which is based upon our data, suggests that production by granulosa cells of hyaluronan and the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan versican generate an osmotic gradient to draw in fluid from the thecal layer (Reproduction 132, 119-131; Biol Reprod 82, 1021–1029).
  • Research Funding

    • NHMRC Project Grant
    • NHMRC Fellowship
    • ARC linkage grant
    • ARC project grant
  • Publications

    Publications and citation metrics as listed on

     Front Covers









    Edited Journals

    Selection of recent publications from over 130 refereed articles, reviews and book chapters.

    • Clarke HG, Hope SA, Byers S, Rodgers RJ (2006) Formation of ovarian follicular fluid may be due to the osmotic potential of large glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans. Reproduction 132, 119-131.
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, Ziolkowski A, Parish C, Sado Y, Nimomiya Y, Simeonovic C, Rodgers RJ (2008) Molecular composition of the peri-islet basement membrane in NOD mice: a barrier against destructive insulitis. Diabetologia 51, 1680-1688.
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, Morris S, Collett RA, Peura TT, Davy M, Thompson JG, Mason HD, Rodgers RJ (2009) Phenotypes of the ovarian follicular basal lamina predict developmental competence of oocytes. Human Reprod. 24, 936-944
    • Prodoehl MJ, Irving-Rodgers HF, Bonner W, Sullivan TM, Micke GC, Gibson MA, Perry VE, Rodgers RJ (2009) Fibrillins and latent TGFβ binding proteins in bovine ovaries of offspring following high or low protein diets during pregnancy of dams. Molec Cell Endo 307, 133-141
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, Harland ML, Sullivan TR and Rodgers RJ (2009) Studies of granulosa cells maturation in dominant and subordinate bovine follicles: Novel extracellular matrix focimatrix is co-ordinately regulated with cholesterol side-chain cleavage CYP11A1. Reproduction 137, 825-834.
    • Prodoehl MJ, Hatzirodos N, Irving-Rodgers HF, Zhao ZZ, Painter JN, Hickey TE, Gibson MA, Rainey WE, Carr BR, Mason HD, Norman RJ, Montgomery GW, Rodgers RJ (2009) Genetic and gene expression analyses of the polycystic ovary syndrome candidate gene fibrillin-3 and its family members in human ovaries. Molec Human Reprod 15, 829-841 Reviewed at MDLinx
    • Rodgers RJ, Irving-Rodgers HF (2010) Classification of bovine ovarian follicles. Reproduction 139, 309-318 Read reviewes at F1000Prime
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, Hummitzsch K, Murdiyarso LS, Bonner WM, Sado Y, NinomiyaY, Couchman JR, Sorokin LM and Rodgers RJ (2010) Dynamics of extracellular matrix in ovarian follicles and corpora lutea of mice. Cell Tissue Res 339, 613-624
    • Rodgers RJ, Irving-Rodgers HF (2010) Formation of the ovarian follicular antrum and follicular fluid. Biol Reprod 82, 1021-1029
    • Matti N, Irving-Rodgers HF, Hatzirodos N, Sullivan TR and Rodgers RJ (2010) Differential expression of focimatrix and steroidogenic enzymes before size deviation in bovine ovarian follicles. Mol Cell Endo 321, 207-214.
    • Hatzirodos N, Bayne RA, Irving-Rodgers HF, Hummitzsch K, Sabatier L, Lee S, Bonner W, Gibson MA, Rainey WR, Carr BR, Mason HD, Reinhardt DP, Anderson RA, Rodgers RJ (2011) Linkage of regulators of TGFβ activity in the fetal ovary to polycystic ovary syndrome. FASEB Journal 25, 2256-2265. Reviewed at F1000PrimeExpert Reviews of Endocrinology and Metabolism and Global Medical Discovery 
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, Choong FJ, Hummitzsch K, Parish CR, Rodgers RJ and Simeonovic CJ (2012) Pancreatic islet basement membrane loss and remodelling after mouse islet isolation and transplantation: impact for allograft rejection. Cell Transplantation Dec 4. [Epub ahead of print]
    • Nguyen T, Lee S, Hatzirodos N, Hummitzsch K, Sullivan TR, Rodgers RJ, Irving-Rodgers HF (2012) Spatial differences within the membrana granulosa in the expression of focimatrix and steroidogenic capacity. Molec Cell Endo 363, 62-73.
    • Hatzirodos N, Nigro J, Irving-Rodgers HF, Vashi AV, Caterson B, Sullivan TR and Rodgers RJ (2012) Glycomic analyses of ovarian follicles during development and atresia. Matrix Biology 31, 45-56 
    • Hummitzsch K, Irving-Rodgers HF, Hatzirodos N, Bonner W, Sabatier L, Reinhardt DP, Sado Y, Ninomiya Y, Wilhelm D, Rodgers RJ (2013) A new model of development of the mammalian ovary and follicles. PLOS ONE 8(2):e55578. Reviewed at F1000Prime and at Global Medical Discovery Comment about this article posted in Nature   Read the full story of the discoverySee the video.
    • Glister C, Satchell L, Bathgate RA, Wade JD, Dai Y, Ivell R, Anand-Ivell R, Rodgers RJ, Knight PG (2013) A functional link between Bone Morphogenetic Proteins and Insulin-like Peptide 3 signaling in modulating ovarian androgen production. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110(15):E1426-35. Reviewed at F1000Prime and at World of Reproductive Biology
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, LM Harland Rodgers RJ (2004) A novel basal lamina matrix of the stratified epithelium of the ovarian follicle. Matrix Biol. 23, 207-217.

     Selected Historical Articles

    Corpus Luteum

    •  Rodgers RJ, O'Shea JD (1982)  Purification, morphology, and progesterone production and content of three cell types isolated from the corpus luteum of the sheep.  Aust. J. Biol. Sci. 35, 441-455.
    • Rodgers RJ, O'Shea JD, Findlay JK (1983)  Progesterone production in vitro by small and large ovine luteal cells.  J. Reprod. Fertil. 69, 113-124.
    • Rodgers RJ, O'Shea JD, Findlay JK, Flint APF, Sheldrick EL (1983)  Large luteal cells the source of luteal oxytocin in the sheep.  Endocrinology 113, 2302-2304.
    • Rodgers RJ, O'Shea JD, Bruce NW (1984)  Morphometric analysis of the cellular composition of the ovine corpus luteum.  J. Anat. 138, 757-769.
    • O'Shea JD, Rodgers RJ, Wright PJ (1984)  Morphometric analysis and function in vivo and in vitro of corpora lutea from ewes treated with LHRH during seasonal anoestrus.  J. Reprod. Fertil. 72, 75-85.
    • Rodgers RJ, O'Shea JD, Findlay JK (1985)  Do small and large luteal cells of the sheep interact in the production of progesterone?  J. Reprod. Fertil. 75, 85-94.
    • O'Shea JD, Rodgers RJ, Wright PJ (1986)  Cellular composition of the sheep corpus luteum in the mid- and late luteal phases of the oestrous cycle.  J. Reprod. Fertil. 76, 685-991.
    • O'Shea JD, Rodgers RJ, D'Occhio MJ (1989)  Cellular composition of the cyclic corpus luteum of the cow.  J. Reprod. Fertil. 85, 483-487.

     Ovarian Steroidogenesis

    • Rodgers RJ, Rodgers HF, Hall PF, Waterman MR, Simpson ER (1986)  Immunolocalization of cholesterol side-chain-cleavage cytochrome P-450 and 17a-hydroxylase cytochrome P-450 in bovine ovarian follicles.  J. Reprod. Fertil. 78, 627-638.
    • Rodgers RJ, Rodgers HF, Waterman MR, Simpson ER (1986)  Immunolocalization of cholesterol side-chain-cleavage cytochrome P-450 and ultrastructural studies of bovine corpora lutea.  J. Reprod. Fertil. 78, 639-652.
    • Rodgers RJ, Waterman MR, Simpson ER (1986)  Cytochromes P-450scc, P-45017a, adrenodoxin, and reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-cytochrome P-450 reductase in bovine follicles and corpora lutea. Changes in specific contents during the ovarian cycle.  Endocrinology 118, 1366-1374.
    • Rodgers RJ, Waterman MR, Simpson ER (1987)  Levels of messenger ribonucleic acid encoding cholesterol side-chain cleavage cytochrome P-450, 17a-hydroxylase cytochrome P-450, adrenodoxin, and low density lipoprotein receptor in bovine follicles and corpora lutea throughout the ovarian cycle.  Molec. Endocr. 1, 274-279.
    • Rodgers RJ, Mason JI, Waterman MR, Simpson ER (1987)  Regulation of the synthesis of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase in the bovine ovary in vivo and in vitro.  Molec. Endocr. 1, 172-180.
    • Rodgers RJ, Rodgers HF (1991)  ‘Localization of mRNAs which Encode Steroidogenic Enzymes in Bovine Ovaries’.  In: Signaling Mechanisms and Gene Expression in the Ovary, Ed G. Gibori, pp 213-217, Serono Symposia, Springer-Verlag, N.Y., U.S.A.

    Studies of Granulosa Stem Cells

    • Lavranos TC, Rodgers HF, Bertoncello I, Rodgers RJ (1994)  Anchorage-independent culture of bovine granulosa cells:  The effects of basic fibroblast growth factor and dibutyryl cAMP on cell division and differentiation.  Expt. Cell Res. 211, 245-251.
    • Rodgers HF, Lavranos TC, Vella CA, Rodgers RJ (1995)  Basal lamina and other extracellular matrix produced by bovine granulosa cells in anchorage-independent culture.  Cell Tissue Res. 282, 463-471.
    • Rodgers RJ, Vella CA, Rodgers HF, Scott K, Lavranos TC (1996)  Production of extracellular matrix, fibronectin and steroidogenic enzymes, and growth of bovine granulosa cells in anchorage-independent culture.  Reprod. Fertil. Devel. 8, 249-257.
    • Lavranos TC, O'Leary PC, Rodgers RJ (1996)  The effects of insulin-like growth factors and binding protein 1 on bovine granulosa cell division in anchorage-independent culture.  J. Reprod. Fertil. 107, 221-228.
    • Lavranos TC, Mathis JM, Latham SE, Kalionis B, Shay JW, Rodgers RJ (1999)  Evidence for ovarian granulosa stem cells:  Telomerase activity and localisation of the telomerase RNA component in bovine ovarian follicles.  Biol. Reprod. 61, 358-366.
    • Rodgers RJ, Lavranos TC, van Wezel IL, Irving-Rodgers HF (1999) Development of the ovarian follicular epithelium.  Molec. Cell. Endocr. 151, 171-179.
    • Rodgers RJ, Irving-Rodgers HF, van Wezel IL, Krupa M, Lavranos TC (2001) Dynamics of the membrana granulosa during expansion of the ovarian follicular antrum. Molec. Cell. Endocr. 171, 41-48.

    Extracellular Matrix

    • van Wezel IL, Rodgers HF, Rodgers RJ (1998)  Differential localization of laminin chains in the bovine follicle.  J. Reprod. Fertil. 112, 267-278.
    • Rodgers HF, Irvine CM, van Wezel IL, Lavranos TC, Luck ML, Sado Y, Ninomiya Y, Rodgers RJ (1998) Distribution of the a1 to a6 chains of type IV collagen in bovine follicles.  Biol. Reprod. 59, 1334-1341.
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, Rodgers RJ (2000)  Ultrastructure of the follicular basal lamina of bovine ovarian follicles and its relationship to the membrana granulosa. J Reprod Fertil. 118, 221-8.
    • McArthur ME, Irving-Rodgers HF, Byers S, Rodgers RJ (2000) Identification and immunolocalisation of decorin, versican, perlecan, nidogen, and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans in bovine small ovarian follicles. Biol. Reprod. 63, 913-924.
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, LM Harland Rodgers RJ (2004) A novel basal lamina matrix of the stratified epithelium of the ovarian follicle. Matrix Biol. 23, 207-217.
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, Friden BE, Morris SE, Mason HD, Brannstrom M, Sekiguchi K, Sanzen N, Sorokin LM, Sado Y, Ninomiya Y, Rodgers RJ (2006) Extracellular matrix of the human cyclic corpus luteum.  Molec. Human Reprod.  12, 525-534.
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, Catanzariti KD, Aspden WJ, D’Occhio MJ, Rodgers RJ (2006) Remodeling of extracellular matrix at ovulation of the bovine ovarian follicle. Molec. Reprod. Devel. 73, 1292-302.

    Structure and Function the Ovary

    • van Wezel IL, Rodgers RJ (1996)  Morphological characterization of bovine primordial follicles and their environment in vivo.  Biol. Reprod. 55, 1003-1011.
    • van Wezel IL, Rodgers HF, Sado Y, Ninomiya Y, Rodgers RJ (1999)  Ultrastructure and composition of Call Exner bodies in bovine follicles.  Cell Tissue Res. 296, 385-394.
    • Rodgers RJ, Lavranos TC, van Wezel IL, Irving-Rodgers HF (1999) Development of the ovarian follicular epithelium.  Molec. Cell. Endocr. 151, 171-179.
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, van Wezel IL, Mussard ML, Kinder JE, Rodgers RJ (2001) Atresia revisited: Two basic patterns of atresia of bovine antral follicles.  Reproduction 122, 761-775.
    • Clark LJ, Irving-Rodgers HF, Dharmarajan AM, Rodgers RJ (2004) Theca interna: The other side of bovine follicular atresia.  Biol. Reprod. 71, 1071-1078.
    • Irving-Rodgers HF, Rodgers RJ (2005) ‘Granulosa cell expression of basal lamina matrices: Call-Exner bodies and focimatrix’.  In Morphodynamics of Cells and Tissues. A Book in Memory of Prof. Pietro M. Motta, ed R Heyn, F Barberini, A Caggiati, G Familiari, G Macchiarelli, SA Nottola and S Correr.  Marcello Malpighi Symposia Series Vol 9; Ital J Anat Embryol 110 (Suppl 1), 225-230.
    • Clarke HG, Hope SA, Byers S, Rodgers RJ (2006) Formation of ovarian follicular fluid may be due to the osmotic potential of large glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans. Reproduction 132, 119-131.
  • Files

  • Media Expertise

    CategoriesMedicine & Medical Research, Science & Technology
    ExpertiseReproduction; ovary; fertility; polycystic ovary syndrome; PCOS; estrogen; progesterone; infertility
    NotesNHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
    Research Program Leader of Ovarian Cell Biology research group.
    Chairman, Grants and Personnel Committee, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide, (2008-ongoing).
    Committee member, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide, to evaluate NHMRC equipment grants, (2003-ongoing).
    Member o

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Entry last updated: Tuesday, 29 Mar 2022

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