IRTG PhD program

The International Research Training Group (IRTG)

IRTG student wins the Hudson early-career best poster presentation award at the Australian Society for Reproductive Biology meeting in Adelaide, 2018.

IRTG student Anastasia Christine Kauerhof receiving her award from Prof Kate Loveland

Molecular Pathogenesis of Male Reproductive Disorders

The Monash-JLU IRTG fosters an intellectual environment that is building local and international research capacity, by creating innovation and knowledge through investment in leading edge research and in PhD student training.

Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Zlatko Skrbiš receiving the Justus Liebig Medal by Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU), Germany, from Professor Joybrato Mukherjee, President of Justus-Liebig University.  Professor Skrbiš received the award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to JLU’s partnership with Monash University, including his support of the renewal of the first International Research Training Group (IRTG) collaboration between Australia and Germany.

A collaborative research program into male reproductive health disorders

According to the World Health Organisation, reproductive and sexual health issues account for 14% of the global burden of ill-health in men. This research program brings together basic and clinical scientists in different fields of reproductive medicine to focus on a bench-to-bedside approach to diagnose and treat men’s reproductive health disorders. The research focusses on innovative research that will drive discovery of new therapies for the diagnosis and treatment of male infertility, testicular and prostate cancers and inflammatory disorders of the male reproductive tract.

Male reproductive tract disorders are common, with infertility and prostate disease being particularly prevalent. Whilst infertility and testicular cancer are of major importance in younger men of ‘reproductive age’, prostate disease, such as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer, lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), and chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) occur most frequently in older men. The male reproductive organs are also susceptible to inflammatory diseases mediated by the immune system: these can impact on fertility and/or prostate function, causing disorders such as orchitis (inflammation of the testis), epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis) and CP/CPPS. All projects in this program investigate clinically relevant aspects of these disorders of male reproductive functions, including pathogenesis, treatment and/or diagnosis.

This research program is incorporated into an International Research Training Group (IRTG) that facilitates collaboration and student training between researchers at Monash University and Justus-Liebig University (JLU) in Giessen, Germany. The unique collaboration brings together a large team of international experts in male reproductive medicine, including basic research scientists and clinicians treating men with a range of reproductive disorders. The IRTG also faciliates the training of PhD students in male reproductive health, with students having the opportunity to undertake a joint PhD (Please refer to "The joint PhD program " link below).

Teams of researchers and postgraduate students work on 11 projects, each tackling different aspects of male reproductive health issues and the biology that underpins testis function. These teams consist of experts in testis, epididymal and prostate biology, epigenetics, immunology, cell biology, endocrinology and andrology. The teams are enhanced by close collaborations with other research institutions, including the University of Newcastle and the Burnet Institute.

Collaborative research projects involve chief investigators/supervisors from both Monash and JLU, working together with students who spend time in labs in both countries. The IRTG has created a unique combination of research resources including experimental models, platform technologies and an exceptional catalogue of well-described human clinical samples.

For more information, click on the links below