Profile – Dr Mai Sarraj

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Dr Mai Sarraj


Senior Research Officer/RAO
Endocrinology and Immunophysiology





Dr Mai Sarraj obtained a Master degree in Virology from the Department of Microbiology, the University of Melbourne in 1998. She then undertook a PhD at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), the University of Melbourne. In 2008, Dr Sarraj joined Monash Institute of Medical Research, Monash University as a post-doctoral researcher where she applied her expertise in foetal development to understand the role of TGF beta family of growth factors in regulating gonadal mouse development. Mai then joined Prince Henry’s Institute as the Ramsay Research Fellow in 2006. In 2009, she was granted an NHMRC New Investigator award to study the role of TGFBR3 or betaglycan in testis development.

Current Research:

Dr Sarraj is currently focused on applying her expertise in studying the role of Betaglycan during mouse gonadal development. Betaglycan is a co-receptor that acts as a modulator of members of TGF beta family. She is conducting an analysis on the role of betaglycan in the fetal mouse ovary and testis. Mai is studying the effect of the absence of betaglycan on embryonic gonadal development using a knockout mouse model. Mai’s work involves collaborations with National and International Institutions.

Current Project:

Mechanisms of foetal urogential system development


Gonad development, Sex determination, TGFβ superfamily in ovary and testis biology

Recent achievements:

  • 2010 – CASS Foundation Travel award to attend the 43rd Annual Meeting of The Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) “The Intersection Between Genetics, Genomics,& Reproductive Biology” From 30 July–3 August 2010, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and visit Professor Barry Hinton’s lab in Virginia University, Charlottesville.
  • 2009-2012 – New Investigator Award grant from NHMRC
  • 2008 – “Best Oral Presenter” award for speaking at the Royan Institute, the 9th Royan International Twin Congress Tehran Iran, in August 2008
  • 2008 – 9th Royan International Research Travel Award to speak at the Royan Institute, Tehran Iran, in August 2008
  • 2008 – Harold Mitchell Travel Fellowship 2008 (Prince Henry’s Institute), to attend the inaugural World Congress on Reproductive Biology (WCRB) and the Society for Study of Reproduction meeting (SSR) meetings in Kona, Hawaii.
  • 2008 – Ian Potter Travel Grant to visit Mike Griswold’s laboratory, Washington state University in Pullman, USA and attend the inaugural World Congress on Reproductive Biology (WCRB) and the Society for Study of Reproduction meeting (SSR) meetings in Hawaii.
  • 2007-2009 – Ramsay Postdoctoral Fellowship, Prince Henry’s Institute.
  • 2003 – Melbourne Abroad Travel award (Melbourne University) to attend the 3rd Sex Determination conference in Hawaii.


Services to the Scientific community:

  • Member of the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR), Society for Reproductive Biology (SRB), Australia and New Zealand, Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR), USA
  • Member of the Education Committee and co-organizer of technical seminars for Prince Herny’s Institute, 2009-current.
  • Appointed Deputy Health and Safety Representative for Prince Herny’s Institute, 2007-2009.
  • Member of PHI Occupational Health and Safety Committee, 2008.
  • Lectured and supervised student projects for the Graduate Diploma of Master of Reproductive Science course.
  • Co-chaired a session of talks at SRB 2007 and 2009.
  • Organised with Dr. Julia Young the Post Doctoral function at SRB for the last three years by contacting speakers to come and share their career story, 2005- 2007.



  • Sarraj MA, Escalona RM, Umbers A, Chua HK, Small C, Griswold M, Loveland K, Findlay JK, Stenvers KL. 2010. Fetal testis dysgenesis and compromised Leydig cell function in Tgfbr3 (betaglycan) knockout mice.  Biology of Reproduction. 2010 Jan; 82(1):153-62
  • Wang Y, Nicholls PK, Stanton PG, Harrison CA, Sarraj M, Gilchrist RB, Findlay JK, Farnworth PG. Extra-ovarian expression and activity of growth differentiation factor 9.  J Endocrinol. 2009 Sep;202(3):419-30.
  • Sarraj MA, Chua HK, Umbers A, Loveland KL, Findlay JK, and Stenvers KL. 2007. Differential expression of TGFBR3 (betaglycan) in mouse ovary and testis during gonadogenesis.  Growth Factors  25: 334 – 345.
  • Sarraj MA, McClive PJ, Loveland KL, Sinclair AH. 2007. Wsb2 a differentially expressed gene in the developing mouse gonad.  Reproduction
  • Sarraj MA, McClive PJ, Wilmore HP, Loveland KL, Sinclair AH. 2005. Novel scavenger receptor gene is differentially expressed in the embryonic and adult mouse testis.  Developmental Dynamics 234:1026-1033.
  • Hurley TM, McClive PJ, Sarraj MA, Sinclair AH. 2004. Eki2 is upregulated specifically in the testis during mouse sex determination. Gene Expression Patterns 4:135-140.
  • McClive PJ, Hurley TM, Sarraj MA, van den Bergen JA, Sinclair AH. 2003. Subtractive hybridisation screen identifies sexually dimorphic gene expression in the embryonic mouse gonad. Genesis 37:84-9.
  • Sarraj MA, Wilmore HP, McClive PJ, Sinclair AH. 2003. Sox15 is up regulated in the embryonic mouse testis. Gene Expression Patterns 3:413-417.