DR Elizabeth Mason

DR Elizabeth Mason


  • Applied statistics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Stem cells and development
  • Systems biology



  • My research aims to challenge the conceptual framework of cell phenotype: from a single molecular profile, to a range of stable molecular states. In the context of human development, differentiation is most often considered as a cell moving through a linear sequence of well-defined molecular states, such that a single fertilized ovum can produce the full range of tissues in an adult human. While embryogenesis certainly follows a predictable series of cell fate, a purely deterministic model does not allow for a range of molecular states to contribute to the same overall phenotype function. An alternative view is that development occurs as a cell moves through a continuum of cell states, such that a most common path is traversed.

    During my PhD I evaluated the range of molecular states that contribute to the functional phenotypes of self-renewal and pluripotency that stem cells display. I published evidence that stem cell phenotype is specified by genes operating in the context of a network, and this network maintains the balance between assuring essential functions of the cell and buffering environmental change or perturbation. As a postdoctoral researcher I aim to extend this work by mapping the most common paths of human development, and the degree of constraint on these paths that are necessary for normal function.

    Key Publications:
    Mason, E.A., Mar, J., Laslett, A., Pera, M., Quackenbush, J., Wolvetang, E., Wells, C. (2014). Gene expression variability as a unifying element of the pluripotency network. Stem Cell Reports. Vol. 3, No. 2, pp 365-77.

    Davidson, K.C.*, Mason, E.A.*, Pera, M.F*. (2015). The pluripotent state in mouse and human. Development. 142. pp 3090-3099. *Authors contributed equally to this work.

    Hough, S.R., Thornton, M., Mason, E.A., Mar, J.C., Wells, C.A., Pera, M.F. (2014). Single-cell gene expression profiles define self-renewing, pluripotent and lineage primed states of human pluripot   


Member of

  • International Society for Stem Cell Research. Member of the ISSCR 2016 -


Selected publications


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Queensland 2018
  • BSc Hons I, The University of Queensland 2009

Awards and honors

  • Donald Tugby Prize for Nanotechnology (2015), University of Queensland, 2015