18 Jun, 2024

Professor Rebecca Robker

Professor and Head of Reproduction and Development, University of Adelaide

Rejuvenation mechanisms during early embryogenesis


Oocytes develop within the microenvironment of the ovary, which endows them with the molecular building blocks that establish developmental potential, i.e. the ability to make an embryo following fertilisation. Our team has uncovered specific mechanisms of mitochondrial dysfunction that impair embryo development but that can be mitigated using pharmaceutical interventions. These discoveries are contributing to new paradigms on early embryo plasticity; showing that maternal nutrition and age, and in vitro stress, impact oocytes and their developmental trajectories following fertilization to predetermine physiological characteristics in future offspring.


Professor Rebecca Robker is a biomedical scientist whose vision is to improve health of women and children by discovering how the ovary generates oocytes and then releases them for fertilisation and the creation of a new individual. Her work is also uncovering cellular mechanisms by which different maternal physiological signals, such as obesity and age, affect ovarian function, and early embryo development.

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