Sox transcription factors are the Swiss army knives of embryonic development, with an astonishing array of functions in a small, elegant package. Notably, Sox2 as a “Yamanaka” stem cell reprogramming factor has propelled Sox factors to international stardom. This lecture will explore Sox functions in sex determination, skeletal development and formation of the lymphatic system. The involvement of several Sox factors in human developmental disease raises the prospect of targeted therapies based on modulating Sox activity.


Peter Koopman was part of the team who discovered the first Sox gene - the Y-chromosomal sex-determining gene Sry in 1990, recognised as one of the most important breakthroughs in 20th century genetics. He has published more than 240 papers on the molecular genetics of sex development, fertility, gonadal cancers and intersex disorders. He is a Senior Principal Research Fellow of the NHMRC and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

About Toshiya Yamada Memorial Lecture

The Toshiya Yamada Memorial lecture was established in memory of Dr Toshi Yamada, an internationally renowned research scientist from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. Dr Yamada's discovery of the molecules essential for regulating the correct wiring of the spinal cord and parts of the brain form much of the basis of modern neurobiology and was instrumental in the resurgence of Australia as a world leader in this field.

This free public lecture is held annually and is an opportunity to honour Dr Yamada's memory and to celebrate his scientific achievements. The Institute for Molecular Bioscience and the Queensland Brain Institute, both at The University of Queensland, jointly host this prestigious lecture.