Epithelial mesenchymal transition, mesengenesis, osteogenesis, iPS-derived MSC
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  • Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Queensland, Research Group Leader, The University of Queensland, Centre for Clinical Research
  • Maternal-fetal Medicine Specialist, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital

Research interests

Professor Fisk's research interests focus on the developmental ontogeny of fetal and perinatal mesenchymal and endothelial stem cells and their contribution to maternal and fetal tissue repair. In particular he seeks to address how stem cell populations can be optimised and delivered to maximise the therapeutic effect, focussing on bone repair and intrauterine transplantation models in congenital disorders. Given the pragmatic and ethical constraints on scaling up supply of fetal stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells have been generated from human induced pluripotent stem cells through manipulation of TGF-beta family receptors and epithelial mesenchymal transition. This system is being manipulated in an attempt to achieve either partial reprogramming without true pluripotency and/or differentiation from iPS of developmentally immature 'fetal-like' mesenchymal stem cells.


  1.  Guillot PV, Abass O, Bassett JH, Shefelbine SJ, Bou-Gharios G, Chan J, Kurata H, Williams GR, Polak J, Fisk NM: Intrauterine transplantation of human fetal mesenchymal stem cells from first trimester blood repairs bone and reduces fractures in osteogenesisimperfecta mice. Blood 111:1717-1725, 2008.
  2. Götherström C, Chan J, O’Donoghue K, Fisk NM: Identification of candidate surface antigens for non-invasive prenatal diagnosis by comparative global gene expression on human fetal mesenchymal stem cells. Molecular Human Reproduction 2010, 16: 472-480, 2010.
  3. Lee ESM, Bou-Gharios G, Seppanen E, Khosrotehrani K, Fisk NM: Fetal Stem Cell Microchimerism: Natural Born Healers or Killers? Molecular Human Reproduction 2010, 16: 869-78, 2010.
  4. Bou-Gharios G, Amin F, Hill P, Nakamura H, Maxwell P, Fisk NM. Microchimeric fetal cells are recruited to maternal kidney following injury and activate collagen type I transcription. Cells Tissues Organs. 2011;193:379–392.
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