Meet Our Students for 2021

Whether it be Honours, Masters or a PhD that you are interested in, The Centre for Muscle Research (CMR) offers the opportunity for you to develop your research skills while working alongside world leading researchers.  With access to state-of-the-art facilities, you can work in a vibrant communal laboratory alongside like-minded researchers to pursue your research career. We strive to create an environment where motivated self-starting students can thrive and meet their research goals.  We encourage the development of students’ own innovative and explorative ideas to answer important scientific questions with muscle as the common theme.

Students 2021

See who we have on board in 2021…………………

Francesca Alves

Fran Potrait

My name is Francesca and I am currently a 3rd year PhD student in the CMR. I completed a BIOM30003 research project with CMR in my third year of Biomedicine (undergraduate) and continued in the lab to do Honours and start my PhD. My honours focused on nutritional interventions for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which I later published in Clinical Nutrition Experimental. My current research is primarily on iron homeostasis in models of muscular dystrophy and age-related muscle atrophy and involves working with both animal and cells models. I recently published my research on iron overload in aged muscle in the high impact journal, Journal of cachexia, sarcopenia and muscle. I believe the role of muscle health, nutrition and exercise in healthy ageing is undervalued in modern medicine and I am determined to change this outlook. I am supervised by Prof Gordon Lynch, A/Prof René Koopman, Dr Scott Ayton and Prof Ashley Bush. I also demonstrate to second- and third-year undergraduate physiology students as I enjoy helping others learn about Science. Outside of work, I love fitness, being outdoors and hiking with my dog and cat.

Dylan Chung

Dylan Chung

I am currently a 1st year PhD student in the Centre for Muscle Research, supervised by Prof Gordon Lynch, A/Prof Enzo Porrello (MCRI), A/Prof René Koopman and A/Prof Paul Gregorevic. My project studies the effect of diabetes on muscle health, with a focus on regeneration and muscle stem cells. To investigate this, we are using a combination of diabetic animal models, and skeletal muscle organoids derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). I enjoy planning and executing research projects within the lab-based setting, and I am developing on existing techniques to explore and answer my research questions. Prior to undertaking my PhD, I worked as a research assistant within the CMR and completed my undergraduate and Honours degree at the University of New South Wales.

Alastair Saunders

Alastair Saunders

Hi I'm Alastair and I am about to start a PhD in the CMR next month. I joined the Centre for Muscle Research in 2019 when I embarked on a Masters of Biomedical Science under the supervision of A/Prof Paul Gregorevic and Dr Rachel Thomson. My research focused on the regulators of breast cancer metastasis, with a particular focus on the rarity of metastases to skeletal muscle. To investigate this, I used mouse models of metastatic breast cancers. My PhD project will be supervised by A/Prof Paul Gregorevic and Prof Robin Anderson (ONJCRI) and will investigate why skeletal muscle is rarely colonised by metastatic cancers. Outside of the lab my main interests are sport, cooking and buying houseplants I don't have space for.

John Nguyen


I am currently a 1st year PhD student in the Centre for Muscle Research, having previously completed a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Biomedical Science with the CMR. My interests lie in improving skeletal muscle regeneration. Increasing evidence suggests metabolism may play a key role, and I will be using C57Bl/6J mice to study the metabolic regulation of this process. In addition, I aim to isolate muscle stem cells and fibroadipogenic progenitor cells from the muscle to study them in vitro. Finally, I hope to use this knowledge to manipulate metabolism of the tissue and/or cells and improve skeletal muscle regeneration. I am supervised by Prof Gordon Lynch and A/Prof René Koopman. Outside of the lab, I can be found working on my car, or keeping fit at the gym!

Amy Bongetti

Hi, my name is Amy and this year I am commencing my PhD in the CMR with Associate Professor René Koopman and Professor Gordon Lynch. Previously, I completed a Bachelor of Science here at the University of Melbourne. My journey into the world of research came from undertaking BIOM30003 (Biomedical Research Project) during the penultimate semester of my undergraduate degree. Inspired, I then returned to complete my Honours year in the CMR supervised by Dr Marissa Caldow and Associate Professor René Koopman whereby I investigated the role of glycine decarboxylase in modulating the inflammatory response in skeletal muscle. My PhD will be based on skeletal muscle amino acid metabolism in critical illness and the amino acid sensing capacity of mTORC1. The fundamental discoveries will underpin development of muscle-specific modulators of muscle homeostasis with broad relevance to patients in intensive care.   Outside the lab, if my head is not buried in a good book, you will find me baking or either watching or playing sport.

Wayne Du

Wayne Du

My name is Wayne, and I am currently completing my Masters of Biomedical Science in the CMR. After completing my Bachelor of Science, majoring in Physiology, at The University of Melbourne, I am now in the 2nd year of my Masters, and will be graduating mid-year, 2022. Supervised by A/Prof Paul Gregorevic and Dr Craig Goodman, my project aims to understand the roles of deubiquitinases (DUBs) in skeletal muscle. Using multiple molecular techniques and animal models, we hope to further our understanding of the ubiquitin system and try to manipulate this in skeletal muscle of rodents.  I enjoy Science, in particular Physiology and it is my hope to carry out a PhD after I complete my Masters.  Outside of the lab, I enjoy catching up with friends, going to the beach and watching movies.

Chloe Li


My name is Chloe, and I am currently a 2nd year Masters student in the CMR. I completed my Science Undergraduate degree at The University of Melbourne, and plan to submit my Master’s thesis mid-year 2021. My research investigates the potential of a nutritional anti-inflammatory compound to attenuate cancer-induced muscle wasting in a cell culture model where Colon-26 cancer cells are co-cultured with C2C12 muscle cells. I am supervised by Prof Gordon Lynch, Dr Kristy Swiderski and Dr Kate Murphy who I had previously completed the BIOM30003 subject within the 3rd year of my undergraduate degree. I enjoy being in the lab and the support I have from the other students.

Scarlett Parker

Scarlett Parker

My name is Scarlett, and I am currently a Masters student in the CMR. After completing an undergraduate degree at Monash University, I took a year out to travel and decide my next steps. On returning in 2019, I applied for a postgraduate position at the Centre for Muscle Research. I am currently in my 2nd year and plan to submit my thesis at the end of 2021. My research is based around regulators of the neuromuscular junction. To investigate this, I am using adeno-associated vector technology in both cell culture and in vivo mouse models with the aim to improve neuromuscular contact and reduce the loss of muscle mass in challenging settings. I am supervised by A/Prof Paul Gregorevic and Dr Craig Goodman. Outside of university, my interests mainly revolve around travel and food, so with COVID restricting travel I spend most of my down time gardening, cooking and dining out with friends.

Matteo Pitteri


Oh hey… didn’t see you there. My name is Matteo and I am completing the 2nd year of a Masters of Biomedical Science, here in the Centre for Muscle Research. My love affair with the CMR began in my final year of my Bachelor of Biomedicine, in which I undertook the semester-long research experience subject BIOM30003. Having been exposed to this welcoming and motivated group, I was inspired to extend my brief undergraduate experience into a Masters and to continue my research into Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD), a devastating neuromuscular disorder with no cure or treatments. My research project is centered on how we can modulate specific intracellular signalling networks to improve disease outcomes. By dissecting elements of this pathway with various drugs and genetic manipulation techniques, we are aiming to identify an actionable therapeutic strategy to treat FSHD – or at least contribute to this goal. To guide me on this mission are my supervisors Dr Kevin Watt and A/Prof Paul Gregorevic. If you can’t find me in the lab, you can bet I’m doing my own ‘muscle research’ at the gym, also affectionately known as the ‘house of gains’.

Raushaan Seychell


My name is Raushaan. I'm in my 2nd year of my Masters of Biomedicine at the CMR, having completed my Bachelor of Science Majoring in Physiology in 2019. I completed a third year BIOM30003 subject within the CMR in semester 1 of 2019 and came back for more in 2020!!  My research is mostly on the Hippo Pathway, and the modulation of its key effectors YAP and TAZ in myoblast proliferation and differentiation. Currently, this involves using statins to modulate the pathway. My supervisors are Dr Kevin Watt and A/Prof Paul Gregorevic. Outside of university, I enjoy running, and have been umpiring football at the VFL for 3 years.

Tom Chadwick

Tom Chadwick

Hello! My name is Tom and I am a 1st year Masters student in the CMR. I completed my undergraduate degree of Biomedical Science in the U.K. at King's College London before moving back to Australia in March 2020. My experience doing my dissertation at the CHAPS (Centre for Human & Applied Physiological Sciences) in London led me to an interest in muscle physiology and I applied to do my project in the CMR late last year. My research will be primarily on different strategies to combat muscle wasting in disease, such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and muscular dystrophy. To do this, I will be testing strategies that target different cell signalling processes associated with muscle wasting in rodent models. Hopefully, this research can lead to vast improvements in the quality of life for people suffering diseases that result in muscle weakness and wastage. My supervisor will be A/Prof Paul Gregorevic. In my spare time I love to watch and play basketball, and I am a huge supporter of the New York Knicks.

To find out  more or apply for a position for 2021/2022 please contact us on

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