Dr Robert Gilchrist

Dr Robert Gilchrist
 Position NHMRC RD Wright Fellow - Senior Lecturer
 Org Unit Paediatrics and Reproductive Health
 Email robert.gilchrist@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 8183
 Location Floor/Room 2 18 ,  Helen Mayo South ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Current Appointments

    Past Appointments


  • Awards & Achievements

    Selected Invited Plenary/Symposia  Lectures

    2011 "New approaches to oocyte IVM based on new knowledge of oocyte-somatic cell communication". 14th World Congress on Human Reproduction, December 2011, Melbourne.

    2011"Oocyte-Cumulus Cell Interactions". European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) pre-congress symposium at the 2nd World Congress of Reproductive Biology, October, Cairns.

    2011"Germ cell development and oocyte quality" Plenary lecture at the CEGyR VIII Magisterial Tribune and Merck Serono Symposia, September 2011, Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA.

    2011"Oocyte in vitro maturation (IVM): where are we at?" Annual scientific meeting of New Zealand clinical embryologists, August 2011, Auckland, NEW ZEALAND.

    2011"Advanced culture methods to improve developmental competence: specific IVM culture strategies" Plenary lecture at the pre-congress symposium of the annual conference of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), July 2011, Stockholm, SWEDEN.

    2011"Oocyte in vitro maturation (IVM): Recent biological advances offer new approaches" Plenary Lecture at the MidWestern Reproductive Symposium, June 2011, Chicago, USA.

    2011 "Ovarian function and physiology" Ferring 2011 ART Clinical Update, June 2011, Chicago, USA.

    2011 "Common and different SMAD and MAPK interactions mediating expansion of porcine and murine cumulus cells". TGFβ DownUnder Conference, March, Melbourne.

    2011 "New approaches to oocyte IVM based on recent biological advances" Plenary Lecture at the Annual National Conference of the Chinese Society of Reproductive Medicine, February 2011, Chongqing, CHINA.

    2011 "Recent insights into oocyte-follicle cell interactions provide opportunities for the development of new approaches to in vitro maturation" Plenary Lecture at the  International Embryo Transfer Society Annual Conference, January, Orlando, USA.

    2010  "Modulation of oocyte meiotic resumption to improve in vitro maturation" Plenary lecture at Biogenesi Conference, December 2010, Milan, ITALY.

    2010 "Oocyte IVM: basic discoveries informing new clinical approaches" Annual Conference, Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, September, Vancouver, CANADA.

    2010 "New approaches to oocyte IVM" 3rd Annual Conference of the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction, April, Bangkok, THAILAND.

    2009 "The mammalian oocyte: From bench to clinic". Award Lecture for the Society for Reproductive Biology RCRH Award for Excellence in Reproductive Biology Research. 40th Annual Scientific Conference of the Society for Reproductive Biology, August, Adelaide. 

    2009  "Improving the performance of IVM in clinics and in animal breeding" 6th ESHRE Campus Workshop on Mammalian Folliculogenesis and Oogenesis: from basic science to the clinic, October, Potsdam, GERMANY.

    2009 "The role of signaling molecules in developing follicles and oocytes ". Annual conference of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), June, Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS.

    2009"Oocyte maturation: emerging concepts and technologies to improve developmental potential in vitro". 5th International Conference on the Female Reproductive Tract, May 2009, Frauenchiemsee, GERMANY.

    2008 "Oocyte-cumulus cell interactions regulating oocyte quality". Annual conference of the Brazilian Society of Embryo Technology (SBTE), August, Guaruja, BRAZIL.

    2008 "Actions of oocyte-secreted TGF-beta superfamily signals" Inaugural World Conference of Reproductive Biology, May, Hawaii, USA.

    2008 "Oocyte-cumulus cell signaling systems regulating oocyte quality" Symposium, Factors Affecting Oocyte Quality: A Large Animal Model at the 41st Annual Conference of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, May, Hawaii, USA.

    2007 "Oocyte maturation: emerging concepts and technologies to improve developmental potential".Pre-Conference Satellite Symposium "Innovative techniques in human and animal embryology" at the International Embryo Transfer Society Annual Conference, January, Kyoto, JAPAN.

    2007 "Oocyte-secreted factor regulation of follicle and oocyte maturation." 38th Annual Scientific Conference of the Society for Reproductive Biology, September, Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND.

    2006 "New perspectives on oocyte maturation." The Human Oocyte: 2nd International Forum in the Frontier of ART, November, Guangzhou Zhongshan University, CHINA.

    2005 "Oocyte regulation of cumulus-oocyte complex function." Serono Symposium "In Pursuit of the Perfect Egg", September, Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND.

    2004 "Oocyte-somatic cell interactions during follicle development in mammals". 15th International Congress of Animal Reproduction (ICAR), August, Porto Seguro, BRAZIL.

    2003 "Vocabulary of the egg - the oocyte as a regulator of ovarian follicle growth and fertility". 7th Australasian Menopause Society Congress, November, Hobart.

  • Research Interests

    Our primary research interests are in the regulation of mammalian oocyte development and maturation, and the development of novel oocyte maturation techniques for infertility treatment. Our research program spans basic discovery research through to applied research and clinical trials.

    1. Oocyte-Cumulus Cell Interactions
      The Oocyte Biology Group is interested in understanding the dynamic cellular interactions between the oocyte and its neighbouring somatic cells the cumulus cells, and the significance of this interaction on the quality of the oocyte and resultant embryo. Our group has contributed significantly to the concept that the oocyte actively regulates the differentiation and function of cumulus cells through the secretion of soluble paracrine factors. Conversely, cumulus cells nurture the growth and maturation of the oocyte by various means including via gap-junctions. We are interested in mechanisms regulating oocyte-cumulus cell gap-junctional communication.

    2. Oocyte GDF9 and BMP15 Paracrine Signalling
      Our group investigates the molecular nature of the key oocyte paracrine signalling molecules GDF9 and BMP15. This includes; production of novel forms of recombinant GDF9/BMP15, cellular mechanism regulating oocyte secretion of these growth factors, and intracellular consequences in cumulus cells (SMAD and MAPK signalling).

    3. Regulation of Oocyte Meiosis
      Our group is actively investigating the cellular mechanisms regulating oocyte meiotic arrest and resumption. This work focuses on the roles of cAMP and phosphodiesterases in the oocyte and cumulus cells and their regulation of oocyte maturation, particularly in an in vitro maturation (IVM) context.

    4. Oocyte In Vitro Maturation (IVM) Systems for Novel Reproductive Technologies
      The Oocyte Biology Group works closely in partnership with Jeremy Thompson and his Early Development Group in the application of knowledge of cumulus-oocyte biology in the development of new oocyte IVM systems. The objective of this applied research program is to improve the developmental potential of IVM oocytes to provide new opportunities in human infertility treatment and in domestic animal advanced artificial breeding programs. New IVM systems in development include the use of exogenous GDF9/BMP15 during IVM and the on-going refinement of a new approach to IVM called SPOM (Simulated Physiological Oocyte Maturation). Human and veterinary pre-clinical trials are currently being conducted with end-user partners.

    Oocyte Biology Research Group

    Name Position
    Dr Robert Gilchrist Group Leader
    Ms Lesley Ritter Research Officer and Laboratory Manager
    Dr Xiaoqian Wang Research Assistant
    Dr Haitao Zeng Senior Scientist
    Dr Jacky Sudiman PhD Student
    Mrs Dulama Richani PhD Student
    Mr Ryan Rose PhD Student
    Ms Georgia Martin PhD Student







  • Research Funding

    • NHMRC CDA Fellowship (Robert Gilchrist)
    • NHMRC Project Grants
    • NHMRC Development Grant
    • ARC Discovery Grant
    • ARC Linkage Grant
    • Commercial Accelerator Scheme (ARI, University of Adelaide)
    • Research & Development Grant from Cook Medical P/L
  • Publications


    Book Chapter

    1. Thompson JG, Mottershead DG and Gilchrist RB. (2011) Oocyte-secreted factors in domestic animals. In: Oocyte physiology and development in domestic animals. Ed, Krisher RL. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Ames, USA. (in review).
    2. Gilchrist RB, Smitz JEJ and Thompson JG.(2011)  Current status and future trends of the clinical practice of human oocyte in vitro maturation. In: Human Assisted Reproductive Technology: Future Trends in Laboratory & Clinical Practice. Eds; Gardner DK, Rizk BRMB, Falcone T. Cambridge University Press, UK.

    Journal article

    1. Hussein TS, Sutton-McDowall ML Thompson JG and Gilchrist RB. (2011) Temporal effects of exogenous oocyte-secreted factors on bovine oocyte developmental competence during in vitro maturation. Reproduction, Fertility & Development 23(4):in press.
    2. Gilchrist RB, Mottershead DG and Thompson JG (2011) Oocyte maturation and ovulation- an orchestral symphony of signalling. Australian Biochemist 42(1):8-11.
    3. Gilchrist RB. (2011) Recent insights into oocyte-follicle cell interactions provide opportunities for the development of new approaches to in vitro maturation. Reproduction, Fertility & Development 23(1):23-31.
    4. Scaramuzzi RJ, Baird DT, Campbell BK, Driancourt MA, Dupont J, Fortune JE, Gilchrist RB, Martin GB, McNatty KP, McNeilly AS, Monget P, Monniaux D, Vinoles Gil C and Webb R. (2011) Regulation of folliculogenesis and the determination of ovulation rate in ruminants. Reproduction, Fertility & Development 23(3):444-467.
    5. Smitz JE, Thompson JG and Gilchrist RB. (2011) The promise of in vitro maturation in assisted reproduction and fertility preservation. Seminars of Reproductive Medicine 29(1):24-37.
    6. Albuz FK, Sasseville M, Lane M, Armstrong DT, Thompson JG and Gilchrist RB. (2010) Simulated physiological oocyte maturation (SPOM): A novel in vitro maturation system that substantially improves embryo yield and pregnancy outcomes. Human Reproduction 25(12):2999-3011
    7. Sasseville M, Ritter LJ, Nguyen TM, Liu F, Mottershead DG, Russell DL and Gilchrist RB.(2010) Growth differentiation factor 9 signaling requires ERK1/2 activity in mouse granulosa and cumulus cells.
      Journal of Cell Science 123(18):3166-3176. (image to right)
    8. Sutton-McDowall ML, Gilchrist RB and Thompson JG. (2010) The pivotal role of glucose metabolism in determining oocyte developmental competence. Reproduction 139(4):685-695.
    9. Nicholls PK, Harrison CA, Gilchrist RB, Farnworth PG and Stanton PG. (2009) Growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) is a germ-cell regulator of Sertoli cell function. Endocrinology 150(5):2481-2490.
    10. Yeo CX, Gilchrist RB and Lane M. (2009) Disruption of bi-directional oocyte-cumulus paracrine signalling during in vitro maturation reduces subsequent mouse oocyte developmental competence. Biology of Reproduction 80:1072-1080.
    11. Sasseville M, Gagnon MC, Guillemet C, Sullivan R, Gilchrist RB and Richard FJ. (2009) Regulation of gap junctions in porcine cumulus-oocyte complexes: Contributions of granulosa cell contact, gonadotrophins and lipid rafts. Molecular Endocrinology 23:700-710.
    12. Sasseville M, Albuz FK, Côté N, Guillemette C, Gilchrist RB and Richard FJ. (2009) Characterization of novel phosphodiesterases in the bovine ovarian follicle. Biology of Reproduction 81:415-425.
    13. Wang Y, Nicholls PK, Stanton PG, Harrison CA, Sarraj M, Gilchrist R, Findlay JK and Farnworth PG. (2009) Extra-ovarian expression and activity of growth differentiation factor 9. Journal of Endocrinology 202(3):419-430.
    14. Yeo CX, Gilchrist RB, Thompson JG and Lane M. (2008) Exogenous growth differentiation factor 9 in oocyte maturation media enhances subsequent embryo development and fetal viability in mice. Human Reproduction 23(1):67-73.
    15. Gilchrist RB, Lane M, Thompson JG. (2008) Oocyte-secreted factors: regulators of cumulus cell function and oocyte quality. Human Reproduction Update 14(2):159-177 (cover article).
      Also translated: Human Reproduction Update Russian Excerpted Edition 1(2):159-177 and Excerpts Chinese Edition 1(2):8-11.
    16. Gilchrist RB. (2008) Oocyte-cumulus cell interactions regulating oocyte quality. Acta Scientiae Veterinariae 36(Supl. 2): s269-278 (also translated into Portuguese, 36(Suppl. 2): s257-268).
    17. Lekamge DN, Lane M, Gilchrist RB and Tremellen KP. (2008) Increased gonadotrophin stimulation does not improve IVF outcomes in patients with predicted poor ovarian reserve. Journal of Assisted Reproduction & Genetics 25:515-521.
    18. Thompson JG, Lane M and Gilchrist RB. (2007) Metabolism of the bovine cumulus-oocyte complex and influence on subsequent developmental competence. Society for Reproduction & Fertility Supplement 64:179-190.
    19. Gilchrist RB and Thompson JG. (2007) Oocyte maturation: Emerging concepts and technologies to improve developmental potential in vitro. Theriogenology 67(1):6-15.
    20. Mayes MA, Laforest MF, Guillemette C, Gilchrist RB and Richard FJ. (2007) Adenosine 5'-monophosphate kinase-activated protein kinase (PRKA) activators delay meiotic resumption in porcine oocytes. Biology of Reproduction 76:589-597.
    21. Dragovic RA, Ritter LJ, Schulz SJ, Amato F, Thompson JG, Armstrong DT and Gilchrist RB. (2007) Oocyte-secreted factor activation of SMAD2/3 signaling enables initiation of mouse cumulus cell expansion. Biology of Reproduction 76(5):848-857.
    22. Prasad S, Humphreys I, Kireta S, Gilchrist RB, Bardy P, Russ GR, Coates PTH. (2007) The common marmoset as a novel preclinical transplant model: identification of new MHC class II DRB alleles and prediction of in vitro alloreactivity. Tissue Antigens 69 Suppl 1:72-75.
    23. Lekamge DN, Barry M, Kolo M, Lane M, Gilchrist RB and Tremellen KP. (2007) Anti-Müllerian hormone as a predictor of IVF outcome. Reproductive Biomedicine Online 14(5):602-610.
    24. Grupen CG, Gilchrist RB, Nayudu PL, Barry MF, Schulz SJ, Ritter LJ and Armstrong DT. (2007) Effects of ovarian stimulation, with and without human chorionic gonadotrophin, on oocyte meiotic and developmental competence in the marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus). Theriogenology 68(6):861-872.
    25. Sutton-McDowall ML, Mitchell M, Cetica P, Dalvit G, Pantaleon M, Lane M, Gilchrist RB and Thompson JG. (2006) Glucosamine supplementation during in vitro maturation inhibits subsequent oocyte developmental competence: possible role of the hexosamine pathway as a regulator of developmental competence. Biology of Reproduction 74(5): 881-888.
    26. Prasad S, Humphreys I, Kireta S, Gilchrist RB, Bardy P, Russ GR, Coates PT. (2006) MHC class II DRB genotyping is highly predictive of in-vitro alloreactivity in the common marmoset. Journal of Immunological Methods 314: 153-163.
    27. Hussein TS, Thompson JG and Gilchrist RB. (2006) Oocyte-secreted factors enhance oocyte developmental competence. Developmental Biology 296: 514-521.
    28. Gilchrist RB, Ritter LJ, Myllymaa S, Kaivo-Oja N, Dragovic RA, Hickey TE, Ritvos O and Mottershead DG. (2006) Molecular basis of oocyte-paracrine signalling that promotes mouse granulosa cell proliferation. Journal of Cell Science 119(18): 3811-3821.
    29. Kaivo-Oja N, Mottershead DG, Mazerbourg S, Myllymaa S, Duprat S, Gilchrist RB, Groome NP, Hsueh AJ and Ritvos O. (2005) Adenoviral gene transfer allows Smad-responsive gene promoter analyses and delineation of type I receptor usage of transforming growth factor β family ligands in cultured human granulosa luteal cells. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 90: 271-278.
    30. Sutton-McDowall ML, Gilchrist RB and Thompson JG. (2005) The effect of hexoses and gonadotrophin supplementation on bovine oocyte nuclear maturation during in vitro maturation in a synthetic follicle fluid medium. Reproduction, Fertility & Development 17: 407-415.
    31. Dragovic RA, Ritter LJ, Amato F, Schulz SJ, Armstrong DT and Gilchrist RB. (2005) Role of oocyte-secreted growth differentiation factor 9 in the regulation of mouse cumulus expansion. Endocrinology 146(6): 2798-2806.
    32. Hickey TE, Marrocco DL, Amato F, Ritter LJ, Norman RJ, Gilchrist RB and Armstrong DT. (2005) Androgens augment the mitogenic effects of oocyte-secreted factors and growth differentiation factor 9 on porcine granulosa cells. Biology of Reproduction 73(4): 825-832.
    33. Kireta S, Zola H, Gilchrist RB and Coates PTH. (2005) Cross-reactivity of anti-human cytokine receptor and anti-TNF family antibodies with common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) leukocytes. Cellular Immunology 236(1-2): 115-122.
    34. Hussein TS, Froiland DA, Amato F, Thompson JG and Gilchrist RB. (2005) Oocytes prevent cumulus cell apoptosis by maintaining a morphogenic paracrine gradient of bone morphogenetic proteins. Journal of Cell Science 118(22): 5257-5268.
    35. Thomas RE, Armstrong DT and Gilchrist RB. (2004) Bovine cumulus cell-oocyte gap junctional communication during in vitro maturation in response to manipulation of cell-specific cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosophate levels. Biology of Reproduction 70(3): 548-556.
    36. Hickey TE, Marrocco DL, Gilchrist RB, Norman RJ and Armstrong DT. (2004) Interactions between androgen and growth factors in granulosa cell subtypes of porcine antral follicles. Biology of Reproduction 71(1): 45-52.
    37. Gilchrist RB, Ritter LJ and Armstrong DT. (2004) Oocyte-somatic cell interactions during follicle development in mammals. Animal Reproduction Science. 82-83: 431-46.
    38. Gilchrist RB, Ritter LJ, Cranfield M, Jeffery L, Amato F, Scott S, Myllymaa S, Lankinen H, Kaivo-Oja N, Mottershead DG, Groome NP, Ritvos O. (2004) Immunoneutralization of growth differentiation factor 9 reveals it partially accounts for oocyte mitogenic activity. Biology of Reproduction 71(3): 732-739.
    39. Sutton-McDowall ML, Gilchrist RB, Thompson JG. (2004) Cumulus expansion and glucose utilisation by bovine cumulus-oocyte complexes during in vitro maturation: the influence of glucosamine and follicle stimulating hormone. Reproduction 128: 313-319.
    40. Thomas RE, Thompson JG, Armstrong DT and Gilchrist RB. (2004) Effects of specific phosphodiesterase isoenzyme inhibitors during in vitro maturation of bovine oocytes on meiotic and developmental capacity. Biology of Reproduction 71(4):1142-1149.
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Entry last updated: Saturday, 11 Aug 2018

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