Epidermal Development Group

2019 Jane group
2022 group: L-R: Professor Stephen Jane, Dr Tariq Butt, Ms Dijina Swaroop, Mr Patrick Deng

Group Leader

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 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 mechanisms underpinning head and neck cancer (Dijina Swaroop) and analysis of neural tube closure (Dr. Carpinelli).

A wide range of techniques are used in our experiments including sophisticated mouse models (constitutive and conditional-knockout mice) 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.

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