Epidermal Development Group

Group Leader
Professor Steve Jane

Phone: +61 3 9903 0640


Research Fellows
Dr Smitha Georgy
Dr Marina Carpinelli
Dr Tariq Butt

PhD students
Mr Michael De Vries
Ms Dijina Swaroop

Honours student
Mr Zihao Deng

Department of Medicine
Level 1 Monash AMREP Building
Commercial Road
Melbourne  Victoria 3004

2019 Jane group
2019 group: L-R: Mr Zihao Deng,  Ms Dijina Swaroop,  Dr Marina Carpinelli, Dr Tariq Butt Absent - Prof  Stephen Jane

The Epidermal Development laboratory is located at Level 1, Monash AMREP building at the Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct. Our group has an interest in understanding the mechanisms underpinning neural tube, craniofacial and epidermal development. This includes projects on epidermal migration in wound repair and neural tube closure, palatal closure and lower jaw development, skin barrier formation and maintenance and more recently skin and head/neck cancer. Our group uses mouse and zebrafish as models of development, as well as multiple mammalian and human cell lines and samples.

The focus of the group is on the Grainy head-like (Grhl) genes, an ancient gene family that regulates numerous functions in diverse organisms that span over 750 million years of evolution. We identified, cloned and characterized the three mammalian members of this family (Grhl1, -2, and -3), and have demonstrated critical roles in almost all aspects of epidermal function, as well as in other organ systems, including the brain and craniofacial skeleton. Our current research projects include investigation of the mechanism of neural tube defects and craniofacial development (Dr Dworkin), head and neck cancer (Dr Georgy), genetic enhancer characterisation and function analysis (Dr. Carpinelli) mechanisms of early zebrafish development (Dr. Miles) and palatal development/closure (Mr. De Vries).

A wide range of techniques are used in our experiments including sophisticated mouse/zebrafish models (constitutive and conditional-knockout mice, CRISPR-Cas and transgenic zebrafish lines) and genetics. We also employ cell biology, molecular biology, including ChIP and transcription assays, protein chemistry and bioinfomatics.


Our research in this field has been published in high-impact journals  including Nature Medicine (Ting SB et al., 2003), Science (Ting SB et  al., 2005), Developmental Cell (Caddy J et al., 2010), Cancer Cell (Darido 2011), Development (Dworkin et al., 2012) and most recently J Natl Cancer Inst (2015) and J. Invest. Dermatol (2016) - see more about our head & neck cancer research.


We have extensive collaborative links with national and international institutes including the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, University of Melbourne, Women's and Childrens Hospital (Adelaide), Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Harvard Medical School and Duke University.