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  • AIBN Group Leader Stem Cell Engineering
  • Director, Cell Reprogramming Australia

Research interests

Associate Professor Wolvetang investigates the properties of the most primitive cells in the human body. These cells have the ability to grow indefinitely and turn into every cell type of the human body. Because of these remarakable properties human embryonic stem cells have attracted great interest as a tool for regenerative medicine.

A/Prof Wolvetang's research is focused on developing human pluripotent stem cell-based therapies and disease models. Because human pluripotent stem cells can be cultured indefinitely and can generate every cell type of the human body, they are the cell type of choice for stem cell based regenerative medicine, and discovery platform for understanding the molecular basis of human disease and development.

The ability to reprogram adult cells into pluripotent cells (called induced pluripotent stem cells) that are essentially equivalent to empryonic stem cells has removed the ethical concerns attached to this brand of stem cell research. It also allows the regeneration of patient specific stem cells that will not suffer from rejection. Generating iPS cells allows the creation of unique disease models previously not available to researchers.


  1. Wolvetang EJ ,Herszfeld D, Langton-Bunker E, Chung T, Filipczyk A, Houssami S, Koh K, Laslett AL, Michalska A, Nguyen L, Reubinoff BE, Tellis I, Auerbach JM, Ording CJ, Looijenga LHJ, Pera MF. (2006) CD30 is a survival factor and a biomarker for transformed human pluripotent stem cells. Nature Biotech 24(3), 351-357.
  2. Chung TL, Brena RM, Kolle G, Grimmond SM, Berman BP, Laird PW, Pera MF, Wolvetang EJ. (2010) Vitamin C promotes widespread yet specific demethylation of the hESC epigenome. Stem Cells 28(10), 1848-1855.
  3. Chung TL, Turner J, Thakar N, Kolle G, Cooper-White JJ, Grimmond SM, Pera MF, Wolvetang EJ. (2010) Ascorbate Promotes Epigenetic activation of CD30 in Human Embryonic Stem Cells. Stem Cells 28(10), 1782-1793.
  4. Prowse A, Doran M, Cooper-White JJ, Chong F, Munro T, Fitzpatrick J, Chung TL, Haylock DN, Gray PP, Wolvetang EJ. (2010) Long term culture of human embryonic stem cells on recombinant vitronectin in ascorbate free media. Biomaterials 31(32), 8281-8288.
  5. Grandela C, Pera MF, Wolvetang EJ. (2007) p53 is required for etoposide-induced apoptosis of human embryonic stem cells. Stem Cell Research 1(2), 116-128.
  6. Hannan NRF, Wolvetang EJ. (2008) Adipocyte differentiation in human embryonic stem cells transduced with Oct4 shRNA lentivirus. Stem Cells and Development 18(4), 653-660.
  7. Hannan N, Jamshidi P, Pera MF, Wolvetang EJ. (2009) BMP -11 and Myostatin Maintain Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Feeder Free Cultures. Cloning and Stem Cells 11(3), 427-435.
  8. Hudson JE, Frith JE, Donose BC, Rondeau E, Mills RJ, Wolvetang EJ, Brooke GP, Cooper-White JJ. (2010) A synthetic elastomer based on acrylated polypropylene glycol triol with tunable modulus for tissue engineering applications. Biomaterials 31(31), 7937-7947.
  9. Doran MR, Frith JE, Prowse ABJ, Fitzpatrick J, Wolvetang EJ, Munro T, Gray PP, Cooper-White JJ. (2010) Defined high protein content surfaces for stem cell culture. Biomaterials 31(19), 5137-5142.
  10. Hudson JE, Mills RJ, Frith JE, Brooke G, Jaramillo-Ferrada P, Wolvetang EJ, Cooper-White JJ. (2010) A Defined Media and Substrate for Expansion of Human Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Progenitors that Enriches for Osteo- and Chondro-genic Precursors. Stem Cells Dev 20(1), 77-87.
  11. Prowse ABJ, Wolvetang EJ, Gray PP. (2009) A rapid, cost effective method for counting human embryonic stem cell numbers as clumps. Biotechniques 47(1), 599-606.
  12. Prowse ABJ, Wilson J, Osborne GW, Gray PP, Wolvetang EJ. (2009) Multiplexed staining of live human embryonic stem cells for flow cytometric analysis of pluripotency markers. Stem Cells and Development 18(8), 1135-1140.
  13. Wolvetang EJ, Pera MF, Zuckerman KS. (2007) Gap-junction mediated transport of shRNA between human embryonic stem cells. BiochemBiophys ResComm 363(3), 610-615.
  14. Davidson KC, Daly R, Wolvetang EJ, et al. (2007) Wnt signaling in human embryonic stem cells, in Cytometry part A 69A(5) Pp: 412-412.
  15. Cullinane M, Gong L, Lazar-Adler N, Tra T, Wolvetang EJ, Prescott M, Boyce JD, Devenish RJ, Adler B. (2008) Stimulation of autophagy suppresses the intracellular survival of Burkholderia pseudomallei in mammalian cell lines. Autophagy 4(6), 744-753.
  16. Chung TL, Thaker N, Wolvetang EJ. (2010) Genetic and epigenetic instability of human pluripotent stem cells. The Open Stem Cell Journal (In press).
  17. Ovchinnikov DA, Wolvetang EJ. (2010) Smads – the intracellular hubs of signalling in regulation of pluripotency and differentiation of stem cells in Embryonic Stem Cells. Intech.
  18. Vitale AM, Wolvetang EJ, Mackay-Sim A. (2011) Induced pluripotent cells: a new technology to study human diseases. The International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (accepted for publication).
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