Associate Professor Robin Hobbs is Head of the Germline Stem Cell Biology Group within the Centre for Reproductive Health at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research. His laboratory is focused on defining the molecular mechanisms regulating spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) function and male fertility.

A/Prof Hobbs first established his group at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University in 2012 before joining the Hudson Institute in 2020. His interest in the stem cell field was developed during PhD studies in the United Kingdom with Prof Fiona Watt, an internationally recognised expert in the epidermal stem cell field. During postdoctoral studies with Prof Pier Paolo Pandolfi at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the United States, A/Prof Hobbs characterised a key and unexpected role for the transcription factor and tumour suppressor PLZF in SSC self-renewal and fertility.

More recently, his research group has characterised cellular heterogeneity and dynamics within the undifferentiated spermatogonial population and defined multiple regulatory pathways essential for SSC function. He was recipient of an ARC Future Fellowship in 2014 and also an Investigator within the Stem Cells Australia research program. Current studies from his group are focused on understanding regulatory mechanisms of SSCs and regenerative capabilities of SSCs following germline damage.

Selected publications

  • Legrand JMD, Chan AL, La HM, Rossello FJ, Änkö ML, Fuller-Pace FV, Hobbs RM (2019) DDX5 plays essential transcriptional and post-transcriptional roles in the maintenance and function of spermatogonia. Nature Communications 10: 2278.

  • Liao J, Ng SH, Luk AC, Suen HC, Qian Y, Lee AWT, Tu J, Fung JCL, Tang NLS, Feng B, Chan WY, Fouchet P, Hobbs RM, Lee TL (2019) Revealing cellular and molecular transitions in neonatal germ cell differentiation using single cell RNA sequencing. Development 146 (6). pii: dev174953.

  • Mäkelä JA, Hobbs RM (2019) Molecular regulation of spermatogonial stem cell renewal and differentiation. Reproduction 158(5): R169-R187.

  • La HM, Chan AL, Legrand JMD, Rossello FJ, Gangemi CG, Papa A, Cheng Q, Morand EF, Hobbs RM (2018) GILZ-dependent modulation of mTORC1 regulates spermatogonial maintenance. Development 145 (18) pii: dev165324.

  • La HM, Mäkelä JA, Chan AL, Rossello FJ, Nefzger CM, Legrand JMD, De Seram M, Polo JM, Hobbs RM (2018) Identification of dynamic undifferentiated cell states within the male germline. Nature Communications 9: 2819.

  • Legrand JMD, Hobbs RM (2018) RNA processing in the male germline: Mechanisms and implications for fertility. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 79: 80-91.

  • Chan AL, La HM, Legrand JMD, Makela JA, Eichenlaub M, De Seram M, Ramialison M, Hobbs RM (2017) Germline Stem Cell Activity Is Sustained by SALL4-Dependent Silencing of Distinct Tumor Suppressor Genes. Stem Cell Reports 9: 956-971.

  • Hobbs RM, La HM, Makela JA, Kobayashi T, Noda T, Pandolfi PP (2015) Distinct germline progenitor subsets defined through Tsc2-mTORC1 signaling. EMBO Reports 16: 467-480.

  • Hobbs RM, Fagoonee S, Papa A, Webster K, Altruda F, Nishinakamura R, Chai L, Pandolfi PP (2012) Functional Antagonism between Sall4 and Plzf Defines Germline Progenitors. Cell Stem Cell 10: 284-298.

  • Hobbs RM, Seandel M, Falciatori I, Rafii S, Pandolfi PP (2010) Plzf regulates germline progenitor self-renewal by opposing mTORC1. Cell 142: 468-479.