Dr Jessie Sutherland

Dr Jessie Sutherland

Early Career Fellow

School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy

Fertile grounds for research into biological sciences

Ever since her first experiences as an undergraduate Science student at UON, Dr Jessie Sutherland remembers being inspired by reproductive biology.

Dr Jessie Sutherland

“The (Reproductive Science) group that we have here is just amazing. It is really inspiring.”

Jessie’s academic career started when she came across a summer scholarship program supervised by Conjoint-Professor Eileen McLaughlin, who has been her mentor ever since.

“I found her really engaging. There were hundreds of students in those first year lectures and she was still very engaging and personable.”

Jessie’s early experiences with UON’s Reproductive Science lecturers have inspired her attitudes and teaching practice today.

“Teaching is one of my favourite things."

“It’s one of the most rewarding and positive experiences that you will have in academia, where you are often dealt harsh criticism in the form of grant rebuttals, peer review and article rejection."

“I’m very passionate about the subject material and I think that really comes across to the students. It’s beautiful to have them engaged and asking questions."

“Teaching is definitely something I want to continue to do in the future.”

Indeed, Jessie is continually improving her teaching and leadership skills through her participation in the Advanced Leadership Program. The mentoring program is designed for women working in the higher education sector and Jessie was able to apply for a place with her HMRI Equal Futures grant which she won this year.

Jessie is also working to develop a new Pregnancy and Development course, focussing on online content which will enable more students to undertake studies, as part of the new program structure of UON’s Biomedical Science degree.

As well as her passion for teaching, Jessie has had great success in her research career, which has focused on the JAK/STAT molecular pathway in ovarian development. She has also spent time investigating the role of Musashi proteins in spermatogenesis, the process by which spermatozoa are developed.

Spermatogenesis is dependent on the maintenance of a population of stem cells, known as spermatogonia. Stem cells are distinctive in that they have the potential to divide and give rise to daughter cells with specific characteristics; in this instance - spermatozoa.

Spermatogonia go through long periods of relative ‘genetic silence’. Whereas many cell types are more or less constantly reading their DNA and producing proteins, there are huge swaths of genetic material in the spermatogonia which are left untouched for long periods of time. This is important for the proper development of the male germ cells. Amongst the many factors which control this silence are the Musashi RNA binding proteins.  Throughout Jessie’s PhD, she examined the regulation of these binding proteins, and the exact roles they play in germ cell development.

Jessie also researches female fertility. In particular, she is interested in ovarian development and premature ovarian failure.

Jessie is looking forward to returning to this area of research as part of her recent successful NHMRC Early Career Fellowship application.

“I’m so happy that this project got up – it’s sort of a pet project that I’ve been dipping in and out of since Honours.
“We hadn’t really been able to fully explore it to the extent I’d like to – but last year I was fortunate enough to get a small project grant from the HMRI Bob and Terry Kennedy Children’s Research Program. We were able to generate some pilot data from that and I think that was what really pushed me over the line for the NHMRC funding.

“It’s so fantastic that now I have the opportunity and freedom to explore all the ideas I’ve had for so long.”

During the HMRI funded project, Jessie and her team honed in on the specifics of the JAK/STAT molecular pathway during ovarian development. The newly funded NHMRC project will allow them to study global changes which occur at this time.

Premature ovarian failure can be actually be triggered very early during the development of female reproductive organs.

“We’re looking for key factors that we could potentially manipulate in order to prolong fertility in these individuals.”

Outside of the lab and the lecture theaters of UON, Jessie is also an enthusiastic science communicator, and enjoys engaging with the public and talking about her research. In particular, she is keen to educate women about their fertility, as messages perpetuated by popular culture can often be misleading.

“The biggest factor (in female fertility) is age. The limiting factor is the number of eggs you have in your ovaries – and that is indiscriminate of how healthy you are.

“Health can of course detrimentally affect fertility but even if you have a healthy lifestyle, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have prolonged fertility.”

Fertile grounds for research into biological sciences

Jessie has focussed on the JAK/STAT molecular pathway in ovarian development.

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Career Summary

Biography

Biography

I am extremely passionate about scientific research with my particular focus in the field of reproductive biology, infertility and disease.

Having both worked and studied within the HMRI Pregnancy and Reproductive Program and the PRC in Reproductive Science since 2009 I have a strong background in reproduction, evolving from my involvement in multiple research projects in the areas of; ovarian and testis biology, reproductive toxicology, sexual health, infertility, reproductive cancer, and developmental biology. While my broader research knowledge extends to; gene regulation, cell biology, cell signalling pathways, molecular characterisation, proteomics, and transgenic animal models. I am particularly focused on facilitating the translation of my basic research program into outcomes that directly impact the health and well-being of the wider community. As an ongoing member of the Australian Society of Reproduction I also am part of a strong network of scientific professionals spanning multiple universities in Australia and internationally.

Currently I am working on a number projects that focus on understanding the underlying factors that lead to development of infertility and diseases of the reproductive system. I am specifically interested in determining the factors responsible for premature ovarian failure and the onset of early menopause in young women.

Research Expertise

I obtained my PhD from the University of Newcastle (2015) for exploring the essential role of the Musashi family of RNA binding proteins in controlling mammalian spermatogenesis and fertility. Prior to undertaking my PhD I worked as a Research Assistant within the PRC for Reproductive Science. My Honours project (2010) focused on exploring the molecular mechanisms surrounding the JAK/STAT/SOCS cytokine signally pathway in ovarian development, particularly during primordial follicle activation.

Teaching Expertise

I lecture into the undergraduate Biomedical Science and Biology Programs and Pharmacy.

I am always looking to attract talented students considering a career path in research to meet/join my team and I have a number of Honours and RHD projects advertised through both the School of Biomedical Sciences & Pharmacy and The School of Environmental & Life Sciences. I'm more than happy to meet up with any interested students to discuss our ongoing projects in detail.

If you are interested in volunteering in the laboratory or supporting my research please contact me at: jessie.sutherland@newcastle.edu.au


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • Biology
  • Infertility
  • Molcular biology
  • Ovarian biology
  • Reproductive Biology
  • Reproductive Science
  • Spermatogenesis

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
060802 Animal Cell and Molecular Biology 20
060803 Animal Developmental and Reproductive Biology 80

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Early Career Fellow University of Newcastle
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/12/2014 - 28/02/2015 Research Academic (full-time) Priority Research Centre in Reproductive Science
Australia
1/09/2012 - 30/11/2014 Research Assistant (casual) Priority Research Centre in Reproductive Science
Australia
1/11/2010 - 31/08/2012 Research Assistant (full-time) Priority Research Centre in Reproductive Science
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/09/2009 - 28/02/2010 Laboratory Technician Priority Research Centre in Reproductive Science
Australia

Awards

Award

Year Award
2014 Society for Reproductive Biology Early Career Researcher Travel Award
Society for Reproductive Biology
2014 Society for Reproductive Biology New Investigator Award
Society for Reproductive Biology
2010 UON Faculty of Science & IT Medal
The University of Newcastle

Distinction

Year Award
2013 Society for Reproductive Biology Ozooa Student Award - Finalist
Society for Reproductive Biology

Research Award

Year Award
2014 Faculty Award for Outstanding Postgraduate (Research) Student Achievement
The University of Newcastle

Scholarship

Year Award
2014 UON Faculty of Science & IT RHD Conference Scholarship
The University of Newcastle
2012 UON School of Environmental and Life Sciences RHD funding
The University of Newcastle
2010 UON Faculty of Science & IT Honours Scholarship
The University of Newcastle
2008 UON Faculty of Science & IT Summer Vacation Scholarship
The University of Newcastle
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Publications

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


Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2013 Sutherland JM, McLaughlin EA, Hime GR, Siddall NA, 'The Musashi family of RNA binding proteins: master regulators of multiple stem cell populations.', Transcriptional and Translational Regulation of Stem Cells, Springer, Dordrecht 233-245 (2013) [B1]
DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-6621-1_13
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 9
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin

Journal article (13 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Shapouri F, Saeidi S, de Iongh RU, Casagranda F, Western PS, McLaughlin EA, et al., 'Tob1 is expressed in developing and adult gonads and is associated with the P-body marker, Dcp2', Cell and Tissue Research, 364 443-451 (2016) [C1]

© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.Tob1 is a member of the BTG/TOB family of proteins with established antiproliferative function. In Danio rerio and Xenopus laevis, the T... [more]

© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.Tob1 is a member of the BTG/TOB family of proteins with established antiproliferative function. In Danio rerio and Xenopus laevis, the Tob1 gene is expressed from the one-cell stage through to early gastrula stages, followed in later development by discrete expression in many tissues including the notochord and somites. In both mouse and human, Tob1 is expressed in many adult tissues including the testis and ovary; however, the specific cell types are unknown. We examine Tob1 gene expression in mouse in developing germ cells and in sorted male germ cells (gonocytes, spermatogonia, pachytene spermatocytes and round spermatids) by reverse transcription and droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (RT-ddPCR) and in adult ovary and testis by immunofluorescence with anti-Tob1 protein staining. By RT-ddPCR, Tob1 expression was low in developing male germ cells but was highly expressed in round spermatids. In developing female germ cells undergoing entry into meiosis, it increased 10-fold. Tob1 was also highly expressed in round spermatids and in oocytes in all stages of folliculogenesis. Notably, a marker for P-bodies, Dcp-2, was also highly expressed in round spermatids and all oocyte stages examined. The cytoplasmic presence of Tob1 protein in round spermatids and oocytes and the association of Tob1 protein with Dcp2 in both cell types suggest that Tob1 protein plays a role in post-transcriptional mechanisms.

DOI 10.1007/s00441-015-2328-z
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin
2016 Camlin NJ, Sobinoff AP, Sutherland JM, Beckett EL, Jarnicki AG, Vanders RL, et al., 'Maternal Smoke Exposure Impairs the Long-Term Fertility of Female Offspring in a Murine Model.', Biol Reprod, 94 39 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1095/biolreprod.115.135848
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Emma Beckett, Eileen Mclaughlin, Janet Holt, Philip Hansbro
2016 Redgrove KA, Bernstein IR, Pye VJ, Mihalas BP, Sutherland JM, Nixon B, et al., 'Dynamin 2 is essential for mammalian spermatogenesis.', Sci Rep, 6 35084 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1038/srep35084
Co-authors Brett Nixon, Adam Mccluskey, Eileen Mclaughlin, Janet Holt, Kate Redgrove
2015 Sutherland JM, Sobinoff AP, Fraser BA, Redgrove KA, Davidson TL, Siddall NA, et al., 'RNA binding protein Musashi-1 directly targets Msi2 and Erh during early testis germ cell development and interacts with IPO5 upon translocation to the nucleus', FASEB Journal, 29 2759-2768 (2015) [C1]

© FASEB.Controlled gene regulation during gamete development is vital for maintaining reproductive potential. During the process of gamete development, male germ cells experience... [more]

© FASEB.Controlled gene regulation during gamete development is vital for maintaining reproductive potential. During the process of gamete development, male germ cells experience extended periods of inactive transcription despite requirements for continued growth and differentiation. Spermatogenesis therefore provides an ideal model to study the effects of posttranscriptional control on gene regulation. During spermatogenesis posttranscriptional regulation is orchestrated by abundantly expressed RNA-binding proteins. One such group of RNA-binding proteins is the Musashi family, previously identified as a critical regulator of testis germ cell development and meiosis in Drosophila and also shown to be vital to sperm development and reproductive potential in the mouse. We focus in depth on the role and function of the vertebrate Musashi ortholog Musashi-1 (MSI1). Through detailed expression studies and utilizing our novel transgenic Msi1 testis-specific overexpression model, we have identified 2 unique RNA-binding targets of MSI1 in spermatogonia,Msi2 and Erh, and have demonstrated a role for MSI1 in translational regulation. We have also provided evidence to suggest that nuclear import protein, IPO5, facilitates the nuclear translocation of MSI1 to the transcriptionally silenced XY chromatin domain in meiotic pachytene spermatocytes, resulting in the release of MSI1 RNA-binding targets. This firmly establishes MSI1 as a master regulator of posttranscriptional control during early spermatogenesis and highlights the significance of the subcellular localization of RNA binding proteins in relation to their function.

DOI 10.1096/fj.14-265868
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin, Kate Redgrove
2015 Sobinoff AP, Dando SJ, Redgrove KA, Sutherland JM, Stanger SJ, Armitage CW, et al., 'Chlamydia muridarum infection-induced destruction of male germ cells and sertoli cells is partially prevented by Chlamydia major outer membrane protein-specific immune CD4 cells.', Biol Reprod, 92 27 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.1095/biolreprod.114.124180
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin, Kate Redgrove
2015 Sutherland JM, Sobinoff AP, Gunter KM, Fraser BA, Pye V, Bernstein IR, et al., 'Knockout of RNA Binding Protein MSI2 Impairs Follicle Development in the Mouse Ovary: Characterization of MSI1 and MSI2 during Folliculogenesis.', Biomolecules, 5 1228-1244 (2015) [C1]
Co-authors Janet Holt, Eileen Mclaughlin
2014 Sutherland JM, Fraser BA, Sobinoff AP, Pye VJ, Davidson T-L, Siddall NA, et al., 'Developmental expression of Musashi-1 and Musashi-2 RNA-binding proteins during spermatogenesis: analysis of the deleterious effects of dysregulated expression.', Biol Reprod, 90 92 (2014) [C1]
DOI 10.1095/biolreprod.113.115261
Citations Scopus - 10Web of Science - 10
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin
2014 Sobinoff AP, Sutherland JM, Beckett EL, Stanger SJ, Johnson R, Jarnicki AG, et al., 'Damaging legacy: maternal cigarette smoking has long-term consequences for male offspring fertility.', Hum Reprod, 29 2719-2735 (2014) [C1]
DOI 10.1093/humrep/deu235
Citations Scopus - 17Web of Science - 17
Co-authors Emma Beckett, Philip Hansbro, Adam Mccluskey, Eileen Mclaughlin
2013 Sobinoff AP, Beckett EL, Jarnicki AG, Sutherland JM, McCluskey A, Hansbro PM, McLaughlin EA, 'Scrambled and fried: Cigarette smoke exposure causes antral follicle destruction and oocyte dysfunction through oxidative stress', TOXICOLOGY AND APPLIED PHARMACOLOGY, 271 156-167 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.taap.2013.05.009
Citations Scopus - 17Web of Science - 15
Co-authors Emma Beckett, Eileen Mclaughlin, Adam Mccluskey, Philip Hansbro
2013 Sutherland JM, McLaughlin EA, Hime GR, Siddall NA, 'The Musashi family of RNA binding proteins: Master regulators of multiple stem cell populations', Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 786 233-245 (2013)

In order to maintain their unlimited capacity to divide, stem cells require controlled temporal and spatial protein expression. The Musashi family of RNA-binding proteins have bee... [more]

In order to maintain their unlimited capacity to divide, stem cells require controlled temporal and spatial protein expression. The Musashi family of RNA-binding proteins have been shown to exhibit this necessary translational control through both repression and activation in order to regulate multiple stem cell populations. This chapter looks in depth at the initial discovery and characterisation of Musashi in the model organism Drosophila, and its subsequent emergence as a master regulator in a number of stem cell populations. Furthermore the unique roles for mammalian Musashi-1 and Musashi-2 in different stem cell types are correlated with the perceived diagnostic power of Musashi expression in specific stem cell derived oncologies. In particular the potential role for Musashi in the identification and treatment of human cancer is considered, with a focus on the role of Musashi-2 in leukaemia. Finally, the manipulation of Musashi expression is proposed as a potential avenue towards the targeted treatment of specific aggressive stem cell cancers. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

DOI 10.1007/978-94-7-6621-1_13
Citations Scopus - 4
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin
2013 Sobinoff AP, Sutherland JM, Mclaughlin EA, 'Intracellular signalling during female gametogenesis', Molecular Human Reproduction, 19 265-278 (2013) [C1]

Female reproductive potential is dictated by the size of the primordial follicle pool and the correct regulation of oocyte maturation and activation-events essential for productio... [more]

Female reproductive potential is dictated by the size of the primordial follicle pool and the correct regulation of oocyte maturation and activation-events essential for production of viable offspring. Although a substantial body of work underpins our understanding of these processes, the molecular mechanisms of follicular and oocyte development are not fully understood. This review summarizes recent findings which have improved our conception of how folliculogenesis and oocyte competence are regulated, and discusses their implications for assisted reproductive techniques. We highlight evidence provided by genetically modified mouse models and in vitro studies which have refined our understanding of Pi3k/Akt and mTOR signalling in the oocyte and have discovered a role for Jak/Stat/Socs signalling in granulosa cells during primordial follicle activation. We also appraise a novel role for the metal ion zinc in the regulation of meiosis I and meiosis II progression through early meiosis inhibitor (Emi2) and Mos-Mapk signalling, and examine studies which expand our understanding of intracellular calcium signalling and extrinsic Plc¿ in stimulating oocyte activation. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1093/molehr/gas065
Citations Scopus - 17Web of Science - 16
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin
2013 O'Bryan MK, Clark BJ, McLaughlin EA, D'Sylva RJ, O'Donnell L, Wilce JA, et al., 'RBM5 Is a Male Germ Cell Splicing Factor and Is Required for Spermatid Differentiation and Male Fertility', PLOS GENETICS, 9 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003628
Citations Scopus - 14Web of Science - 10
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin
2012 Sutherland JM, Keightley RA, Nixon B, Roman SD, Robker RL, Russell DL, McLaughlin EA, 'Suppressor of cytokine signaling 4 (SOCS4): Moderator of ovarian primordial follicle activation', Journal of Cellular Physiology, 227 1188-1198 (2012) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 12Web of Science - 11
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin, Brett Nixon, Shaun Roman
Show 10 more journal articles

Review (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Sutherland JM, Siddall NA, Hime GR, McLaughlin EA, 'RNA binding proteins in spermatogenesis: an in depth focus on the Musashi family', ASIAN JOURNAL OF ANDROLOGY (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.4103/1008-682X.151397
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin

Conference (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Saeidi SS, Shapouri F, De Iongh R, Casagranda F, Western P, McLaughlin E, et al., 'The role of ESRP1 during gametogenesis', CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY (2016)
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin
2016 Shapouri F, Saeidi SS, De Iongh R, Casagranda F, Western PS, McLaughlin E, et al., 'Tob1 protein is a novel regulator of gonadal function', CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY (2016)
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin
2012 Sutherland JM, Fraser BA, Siddall NA, Hime GR, Davidson T-L, Koopman P, McLaughlin EA, 'Musashi-2: an essential regulator of DNA recombination and repair', Abstracts. The Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2012 (2012) [E3]
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin
2010 Sutherland JM, Keightley RA, Robker RL, Russell DL, McLaughlin EA, 'JAK/STAT Signalling in Folliculogenesis', Reproduction, Fertility and Development (2010) [E3]
Co-authors Eileen Mclaughlin
Show 1 more conference
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 5
Total funding $155,808

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


20171 grants / $20,000

DVCRI Research Support for Early Career Fellow (ECF17)$20,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Jessie Sutherland
Scheme NHMRC ECF Support
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2020
GNo G1700312
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20162 grants / $43,934

BECKMAN COULTER OPTIMA MAX-TL BENCHTOP ULTRA CENTRIFUGE, TLA-110 FIXED-ANGLE ROTOR PACKAGE, TLS-55 SWINGING BUCKET ROTOR PACKAGE$40,934

Funding body: NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)

Funding body NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)
Project Team Professor Brett Nixon, Laureate Professor John Aitken, Professor Eileen McLaughlin, Associate Professor Mark Baker, Doctor Jessie Sutherland, Doctor Elizabeth Bromfield
Scheme Equipment Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1601314
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

2016 Equal Futures Award$3,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Doctor Jessie Sutherland
Scheme Equal Futures Award
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2017
GNo G1601263
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

20151 grants / $20,200

Understanding female fertility: The importance of cytokine signalling in premature menopause$20,200

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Doctor Jessie Sutherland
Scheme Project Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1501433
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

20141 grants / $71,674

JuLI Stage $71,674

Funding body: NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council)

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News

UON awarded over $5.6 million in NHMRC funding

October 27, 2016

The University of Newcastle (UON) is delighted to announce the following successful researchers in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council funding. With the help of this funding, our researchers aim to tackle a range of health-related issues that impact our communities.

Dr Jessie Sutherland

Position

Early Career Fellow
School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Contact Details

Email jessie.sutherland@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4913 8735

Office

Room LS2.35
Building Life Science Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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