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Dr Benjamin Curry


School of Environmental and Life Sciences (Biological Sciences)

Career Summary


My experience in gene expression was initially in melanoma where I completed a PhD in the department of Molecular Medicine in the Faculty of Health at the University of Newcastle.  I developed the first quantitative assay for the detection of circulating melanoma cells in melanoma patients (Curry et. al., 1996), and used this technique with various molecular markers to develop a predictive molecular biological test for the recurrence of disease (Curry et. al., 1998, 1999a, 1999b, 2001). 


I took up a position as Post-Doctoral fellow and subsequently Laboratory Manager in the laboratory of Professor John Aitken in the Reproductive Biology Group in 2000, where I turned my molecular biology experience to investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in the maturation of mammalian spermatozoa.  We found that there were multiple forms of redox activity in spermatozoa (Aitken et. al., 2003, Baker et. al., 2004, 2005), and in the course of our experiments I discovered three new genes expressed in mammalian spermatozoa (Curry et. al., 2004a, 2004b, 2006). 


Since 2006, I have spent more time out of the laboratory fulfilling my role as Laboratory Manager of the Reproductive Science Group.  However I have continued assisting the laboratory with my molecular biology experience, and have assisted in the laboratory’s research.  This includes signal transduction of spermatozoa (Baker et. al., 2009), apoptosis regulation (Pujianto et. al., 2010), redox regulation (Aitken and Curry 2011, Houston et. al., 2015), DNA damage (Smith et. al., 2013), and a relatively new field for the laboratory, equine spermatozoa (Swegen et al., 2015).


  • PhD, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Newcastle


  • gamete biology
  • gene expression
  • reproductive sciences

Fields of Research

080299Computation Theory and Mathematics not elsewhere classified25
111499Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine not elsewhere classified75

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
5/06/2000 - 1/04/2001Research AssociateUniversity of Newcastle
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
1/09/1999 - 30/11/1999Assoc Lecturer - Medical GeneticsUniversity of Newcastle
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Chapter (1 outputs)

2011Aitken RJ, Curry BJ, 'Life and death in the germ line: Apoptosis and the origins of dna damage in human spermatozoa', Principles and Practice of Fertility Preservation, Cambridge University Press 101-113 (2011) [B2]

Introduction apoptosis and DNA damage in human spermatozoa Apoptosis, a physiological process for the controlled deletion of cells, is critical for the regulation of cell numbers, the management of morphogenesis during embryonic development and the orchestration of many cellular processes in the adult. Spermatogenesis, the production of functional spermatozoa from spermatogonial stem cells is no exception. It appears that a functional apoptotic pathway is necessary for normal spermatogenesis to develop and without it infertility ensues. Apoptosis also plays a crucial role in the maintenance of the testis and its response to external toxicants as well as in the programmed senescence of terminally differentiated spermatozoa. This chapter will focus specifically on how apoptosis affects sperm quality and function, and the implications of this process for both embryonic development and the health and well-being of the offspring. A great deal of data has accumulated in recent years suggesting that human spermatozoa can exhibit some of the hallmarks of apoptosis including activation of caspases 1, 3, 8 and 9 [1, 2], annexin-V binding [3, 4], mitochondrial generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) [5] and DNA fragmentation [6¿8]. The latter is potentially extremely important because DNA damage in the male germ line has been associated with a wide variety of adverse biological and clinical outcomes. Thus DNA damage in human spermatozoa has been correlated with poor fertilization and impaired embryonic development to the blastocyst stage [9, 10] as well as with the incidence of subsequent miscarriage [11¿13].

Co-authorsJohn Aitken

Journal article (17 outputs)

2015Swegen A, Curry BJ, Gibb Z, Lambourne SR, Smith ND, Aitken RJ, 'Investigation of the stallion sperm proteome by mass spectrometry', Reproduction, 149 235-244 (2015)

Stallion spermatozoa continue to present scientific and clinical challenges with regard to the biological mechanisms responsible for their survival and function. In particular, deeper understanding of sperm energy metabolism, defence against oxidative damage and cell-cell interactions should improve fertility assessment and the application of advanced reproductive technologies in the equine species. In this study, we used highly sensitive LC-MS/MS technology and sequence database analysis to identify and characterise the proteome of Percoll-isolated ejaculated equine spermatozoa, with the aim offurthering our understanding of this cell's complex biological machinery. We were able to identify 9883 peptides comprising 1030 proteins, which were subsequently attributed to 975 gene products. Gene ontology analysis for molecular and cellular processes revealed new information about the metabolism, antioxidant defences and receptors of stallion spermatozoa. Mitochondrial proteins and those involved in catabolic processes constituted dominant categories. Several enzymes specific to ß-oxidation of fatty acids were identified, and further experiments were carried out to ascertain their functional significance. Inhibition of carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1, a rate-limiting enzyme of ß-oxidation, reduced motility parameters, indicating that b-oxidation contributes to maintenance of motility in stallion spermatozoa.

Co-authorsJohn Aitken
2015Houston B, Curry B, Aitken RJ, 'Human spermatozoa possess an IL4I1 l-amino acid oxidase with a potential role in sperm function.', Reproduction, 149 587-596 (2015)
DOI10.1530/REP-14-0621Author URL
Co-authorsJohn Aitken
2013Smith TB, Dun MD, Smith ND, Curry BJ, Connaughton HS, Aitken RJ, 'The presence of a truncated base excision repair pathway in human spermatozoa that is mediated by OGG1', JOURNAL OF CELL SCIENCE, 126 1488-1497 (2013) [C1]
DOI10.1242/jcs.121657Author URL
CitationsScopus - 14Web of Science - 11
Co-authorsMatt Dun, John Aitken
2011Aitken RJ, Curry BJ, 'Redox regulation of human sperm function: From the physiological control of sperm capacitation to the etiology of infertility and DNA damage in the germ line', Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, 14 367-381 (2011) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 62Web of Science - 58
Co-authorsJohn Aitken
2010Pujianto DA, Curry BJ, Aitken RJ, 'Prolactin exerts a prosurvival effect on human spermatozoa via mechanisms that involve the stimulation of Akt phosphorylation and suppression of caspase activation and capacitation', Endocrinology, 151 1269-1279 (2010) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 30Web of Science - 31
Co-authorsJohn Aitken
2009Baker MA, Hetherington L, Curry BJ, Aitken RJ, 'Phosphorylation and consequent stimulation of the tyrosine kinase c-Abl by PKA in mouse spermatozoa: Its implications during capacitation', Developmental Biology, 333 57-66 (2009) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 25Web of Science - 24
Co-authorsMark Baker, John Aitken
2006Curry BJ, Holt JE, McLaughlin EA, Aitken RJ, 'Characterization of structure and expression of the Dzip1 gene in the rat and mouse', Genomics, 87 275-285 (2006) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 2Web of Science - 2
Co-authorsJanet Holt, Eileen Mclaughlin, John Aitken
2005Baker MA, Krutskikh A, Curry BJ, Hetherington L, Aitken RJ, 'Identification of cytochrome-b5 reductase as the enzyme responsible for NADH-dependent lucigenin chemiluminescence in human spermatozoa', Biology of Reproduction, 73 334-342 (2005) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 25Web of Science - 25
Co-authorsMark Baker, John Aitken
2004Baker MA, Krutskikh A, Curry BJ, McLaughlin EA, Aitken RJ, 'Identification of Cytochrome P450-Reductase as the Enzyme Responsible for NADPH-Dependent Lucigenin and Tetrazolium Salt Reduction in Rat Epididymal Sperm Preparations', Biology of Reproduction, 71 307-318 (2004) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 35Web of Science - 34
Co-authorsJohn Aitken, Eileen Mclaughlin, Mark Baker
2004Curry BJ, Su H, Law EG, McLaughlin EA, Nixon B, Aitken RJ, 'Identification of RARhoGAP, a novel putative RhoGAP gene expressed in male germ cells', Genomics, 84 406-418 (2004) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 9Web of Science - 10
Co-authorsBrett Nixon, Eileen Mclaughlin, John Aitken
2004Curry BJ, Roman SD, Wallace C, Scott RJ, Miriami E, Aitken RJ, 'Identification and characterisation of a novel splice variant of mouse and rat cytochrome b5/cytochrome b5 reductase', Genomics, 83 425-438 (2004) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 5Web of Science - 5
Co-authorsShaun Roman, John Aitken
2003Aitken RJ, Ryan AL, Curry BJ, Baker MA, 'Multiple forms of redox activity in populations of human spermatozoa', Molecular Human Reproduction, 9 645-661 (2003) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 57Web of Science - 53
Co-authorsMark Baker, John Aitken
2001Curry JB, Myers K, Hersey P, 'Utility of Tests for Circulating Melanoma Cells in Identifying Patients Who Develop Recurrent Melanoma', Cancer Research, 158 211-230 (2001) [C1]
CitationsScopus - 15Web of Science - 14
1999Curry BJ, Myers K, Hersey P, 'MART-1 is expressed less frequently on circulating melanoma cells in patients who develop distant compared with locoregional metastases', JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ONCOLOGY, 17 2562-2571 (1999)
Author URL
CitationsScopus - 66Web of Science - 63
1999Curry BJ, Farrelly M, Hersey P, 'Evaluation of S-100 beta assays for the prediction of recurrence and prognosis in patients with AJCC stage I-III melanoma', MELANOMA RESEARCH, 9 557-567 (1999)
DOI10.1097/00008390-199912000-00004Author URL
CitationsWeb of Science - 23
1998Curry BJ, Myers K, Hersey P, 'Polymerase chain reaction detection of melanoma cells in the circulation: Relation to clinical stage, surgical treatment, and recurrence from melanoma', JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ONCOLOGY, 16 1760-1769 (1998)
Author URL
CitationsWeb of Science - 110
1996Curry BJ, Smith MJ, Hersey P, 'Detection and quantitation of melanoma cells in the circulation of patients', MELANOMA RESEARCH, 6 45-54 (1996)
DOI10.1097/00008390-199602000-00007Author URL
CitationsScopus - 32Web of Science - 34
Show 14 more journal articles

Conference (3 outputs)

Author URL
Co-authorsJohn Aitken
2006Baker MA, Curry BJ, Aitken RJ, 'Inactivation of C-ABL Via PKA During Capacitation of Mouse Spermatozoa', Book of Abstracts, Lorne, Victoria, Australia (2006) [E3]
Co-authorsJohn Aitken, Mark Baker
2002Curry BJ, Su Hua S, Law E, Aitken RJ, 'Spermatozoa cell signalling: characterization and significance of a novel GTPase activating protein (GAP) identified in mammalian spermatozoa', Proceedings of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Sydney, NSW (2002) [E3]
Co-authorsJohn Aitken

Grants and Funding


Number of grants3
Total funding$36,000

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20041 grants / $8,000

Molecular basis of sperm-egg interaction: Identification of the receptor complex for ZP3$8,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding bodyUniversity of Newcastle
Project TeamAssociate Professor Brett Nixon, Doctor Benjamin Curry
SchemeProject Grant
Funding Start2004
Funding Finish2004
Type Of FundingInternal

19992 grants / $28,000

Investigation of the cellular checkpoint proteins in desmoid tumour cells, derived from patients with familial adenomatous polyposis.$25,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding bodyHunter Medical Research Institute
Project TeamProfessor Rodney Scott, Doctor Benjamin Curry
SchemeResearch Grant
Funding Start1999
Funding Finish1999
Type Of FundingContract - Aust Non Government

Pulse Education Prize.$3,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding bodyHunter Medical Research Institute
Project TeamDoctor Benjamin Curry
SchemeResearch Grant
Funding Start1999
Funding Finish1999
Type Of FundingContract - Aust Non Government

Dr Benjamin Curry


Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology and Development
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science and Information Technology

Focus area

Biological Sciences

Contact Details
Phone(02) 4921 6806
Fax(02) 4921 6308


BuildingLife Sciences
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308