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DR Dagmar Wilhelm


  • Ovarian development and disease
  • Regulation of gene expression (incl. non-coding RNAs)
  • Sex determination and disorders of sex development



  • Dr Dagmar Wilhelm is a vertebrate developmental biologist with a background in molecular biology and cancer research, known internationally for her work on sex determination. The ultimate goal of her research is to understand the genetics of sex determination, gonad development, and reproduction, and how failure results in human disorders of sex development, infertility and testicular and ovarian cancer, using mouse as a model system. Dagmar received her PhD in Cancer Biology at the German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg, Germany and completed her postdoctoral training with Prof Christoph Englert at the Research Centre Karlsruhe, Germany and Prof Peter Koopman at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Brisbane. After receiving a Career Development Award level II from the NHMRC she became a Laboratory head at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland. In 2011, Dagmar was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship and moved to the Department of Anatomy & Developmental Biology, Monash University, Melbourne. In November 2015, Dagmar moved with her laboratory to the University of Melbourne to take on a Senior lecturer position.   


Member of

  • Society for Reproductive Biology. Member 2012 -
  • Society for Developmental Biology. Member 2010 -
  • Society for the Study of Reproduction. Member 2010 -
  • Australian and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology. Queensland representative 2009/2010 2004 -
  • National Association of Research Fellows. Member 2008 - 2013
  • The Endocrine Society. Member 2009


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • 2011-2012 Analytical Flow Cytometer for cell and developmental biology and drug discovery applications. (Wilhelm D, Sweet M, Craik D, Alexandrov K, Koopman P, Sturm R, Smythe M, Little M, Hogan B) The University of Queensland and NHMRC, 2012 Major Equipment & Infrastructure (MEI) & 2011 NHMRC Equipment grants. $155,870.00 (Major Equipment and Infrastructure (MEI) fund) and $69,039.00 (2011 NHMRC Equipment Grant).

    2010-2011 Regulation of Wilms’ tumour suppressor 1 expression by non-coding RNAs. (Wilhelm D, Englert C) Group of Eight Australia – Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme, AU$6,000 pa

    2010-2012 MicroRNA regulation of sex determination and gonad development. (Wilhelm D, CIA; Dinger ME, CIB; Bailey CG, CIC), NHMRC Project Grant, Australia, 2010 – AU$166,500; 2011 – AU$161,500; 2012 – AU$171,500.

    2008-2011 The role of non-coding RNAs in development and disease. (Wilhelm D) Career Development Award, level II, NHMRC, Australia

    2008-2011 A new paradigm of gene regulation – Implications in embryogenesis and disease. (Wilhelm D, CI) ARC Discovery Grant, Australia, AU$109,978 pa, (ranked in group A+, top third of all successful proposals).

    2007-2009 Cellular and molecular regulation of fetal ovary development. (Koopman P, CIA; Wilhelm D, CIB) NHMRC Project Grant, Australia, AU$ 175,000 pa

    2005-2006 Identification of SRY target genes. (Wilhelm D, CI) National Institutes of Health, USA, US$100,000, (RO3 award, priority score 139, top 4% in the competition).   


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Karlsruhe 1997
  • BSc (Diploma), University of Karlsruhe 1992

Awards and honors

  • ANZSCDB Young Investigator Award, Australian and New Zealand Society for Cell & Developmental Biology, 2011
  • Travel fellowship and one year membership, The Endocrine Society, 2009
  • Finalist of the Queensland Premiers Award for Health and Medical Research, Australian Society for Medical Research, 2005
  • Research Centre Karlsruhe, Germany, 1993


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Throughout my career I have been interested in various aspects of gene regulation in cell differentiation and development, including the investigation of signal transduction pathways, transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of genes involved in embryonic development, and specifically in gonad development, as well as cancer. The training I received in these areas equipped me with experience in a wide range of technologies, allowing me to integrate molecular, cell, and developmental biology, biochemistry, mouse genetics and proteomics to achieve my goals. The ultimate goal of my research is to understand the genetics of sex determination, gonad development, and reproduction, and how failure results in human disorders of sex development, infertility and testicular and ovarian cancer, using mouse as a model system.

    I have supervised seven PhD, one Masters and nine Honours students to completion. These students have received competitive PhD scholarships (e.g. Australian Postgraduate Award), and won scientific awards (e.g. ANZSCDB David Walsh Student Prize). All nine Honours students have completed their Honours with first class. One of these students received the University of Queensland medal and the Amgen Australia Prize for most outstanding Honours student.