Dr Stephen Frankenberg





My research focuses on mammalian early development and stem cells, especially in the light of evolution. Current research areas include:

  • Marsupial stem cells and germ cells
  • Evolution of reproduction and development in vertebrates
  • Gene editing technologies with application to conservation
  • Genomics

For more information visit the Frankenberg Lab








  • S Frankenberg (2018). Pre-gastrula Development of Non-eutherian Mammals. Current topics in Developmental Biology 128, 237-266
  • S Frankenberg, MB Renfree (2018). Conceptus Coats of Marsupials and Monotremes. Current topics in Developmental Biology 130, 357-377
  • SR Frankenberg, FRO de Barros, J Rossant, MB Renfree (2016). The mammalian blastocyst. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology 5 (2), 210-232
  • SR Frankenberg, D Frank, R Harland, AD Johnson, J Nichols, H Niwa, HR Schöler, E Tanaka, C Wylie, JM Brickman (2014). The POU-er of gene nomenclature. Development 141 (15), 2921-2923
  • A Piliszek, JB Grabarek, SR Frankenberg, B Plusa (2016). Cell fate in animal and human blastocysts and the determination of viability. MHR: Basic Science of Reproductive Medicine 22 (10), 681-690
  • SR Frankenberg (2015). Different species choose their own paths to pluripotency. Developmental Cell 35 (3), 267-268
  • N Schrode, P Xenopoulos, A Piliszek, S Frankenberg, B Plusa, AK Hadjantonakis (2013). Anatomy of a blastocyst: cell behaviors driving cell fate choice and morphogenesis in the early mouse embryo. Genesis 51 (4), 219-233
  • D Hickford, S Frankenberg, MB Renfree (2009). The tammar wallaby, Macropus eugenii: a model kangaroo for the study of developmental and reproductive biology. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 2009 (12), pdb. emo137
  • S Frankenberg, M Zernicka-Goetz (2004). “Breaking radial symmetry—amniote type.” Gastrulation, ed Stern C (Cold Spring Harbor Lab Press, New York).
  • L Selwood, S Frankenberg, N Casey (1998). An overview of the importance of the egg coats for embryonic survival in the common brushtail possum: normal development and targets for contraception. The Royal Society of New Zealand, Miscellaneous Series, Wellington, New Zealand

Research Articles

  • AH Royall, S Frankenberg, AJ Pask, PWH Holland (2019). Of eyes and embryos: subfunctionalization of the CRX homeobox gene in mammalian evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286 (1907), 20190830
  • JC Fenelon, G Shaw, SR Frankenberg, BD Murphy, MB Renfree (2017). Embryo arrest and reactivation: potential candidates controlling embryonic diapause in the tammar wallaby and mink. Biology of reproduction 96 (4), 877-894
  • DE Hickford, SFL Wong, SR Frankenberg, G Shaw, H Yu, KY Chew, MB Renfee (2017). Expression of STRA8 is conserved in therian mammals but expression of CYP26B1 differs between marsupials and mice. Biology of Reproduction 97 (2), 217-229
  • I Buentjen, B Drews, SR Frankenberg, TB Hildebrandt, MB Renfree, … (2015). Characterisation of major histocompatibility complex class I genes at the fetal-maternal interface of marsupials. Immunogenetics 67 (7), 385-393
  • JC Fenelon, G Shaw, C O’Neill, S Frankenberg, MB Renfree (2014). Paf receptor expression in the marsupial embryo and endometrium during embryonic diapause. Reproduction 147 (1), 21-31
  • S Frankenberg, G Shaw, C Freyer, AJ Pask, MB Renfree (2013). Early cell lineage specification in a marsupial: a case for diverse mechanisms among mammals. Development, dev. 091629
  • S Frankenberg, MB Renfree (2013). On the origin of POU5F1. BMC biology 11 (1), 56
  • H Yu, J Lindsay, ZP Feng, S Frankenberg, Y Hu, D Carone, G Shaw, … (2012). Evolution of coding and non-coding genes in HOX clusters of a marsupial  BMC genomics 13 (1), 1
  • D Hickford, S Frankenberg, G Shaw, MB Renfree (2012) Evolution of vertebrate interferon inducible transmembrane proteins. BMC genomics 13 (1), 155
  • JB Grabarek, K Żyżyńska, N Saiz, A Piliszek, S Frankenberg, J Nichols, … (2012). Differential plasticity of epiblast and primitive endoderm precursors within the ICM of the early mouse embryo. Development 139 (1), 129-139
  • S Frankenberg, F Gerbe, S Bessonnard, C Belville, P Pouchin, O Bardot, … (2011). Primitive endoderm differentiates via a three-step mechanism involving Nanog and RTK signaling. Developmental cell 21 (6), 1005-1013
  • DE Hickford, S Frankenberg, AJ Pask, G Shaw, MB Renfree( 2011). DDX4 (VASA) is conserved in germ cell development in marsupials and monotremes. Biology of reproduction 85 (4), 733-743
  • S Frankenberg, NY Schneider, TP Fletcher, G Shaw, MB Renfree (2011). Identification of two distinct genes at the vertebrate TRPC2 locus and their characterisation in a marsupial and a monotreme. BMC molecular biology 12 (1), 39
  • S Frankenberg, J Fenelon, B Dopheide, G Shaw, MB Renfree (2011). A novel MSMB-related microprotein in the postovulatory egg coats of marsupials BMC evolutionary biology. 11 (1), 373
  • MB Renfree, AT Papenfuss, JE Deakin, … SR Frankenberg,… (2011) Genome sequence of an Australian kangaroo, Macropus eugenii, provides insight into the evolution of mammalian reproduction and development. Genome biology 12 (8), R81
  • P Tang, S Frankenberg, A Argentaro, JM Graves, M Familari (2011). Comparative analysis of the ATRX promoter and 5’regulatory region reveals conserved regulatory elements which are linked to roles in neurodevelopment, alpha-globin regulation. BMC research notes 4 (1), 200
  • PCK Au, S Frankenberg, L Selwood, M Familari (2011). A novel marsupial pri-miRNA transcript has a putative role in gamete maintenance and defines a vertebrate miRNA cluster paralogous to the miR-15a/miR-16-1 cluster. Reproduction, REP-11-0208
  • S Frankenberg, A Pask, MB Renfree (2010). The evolution of class V POU domain transcription factors in vertebrates and their characterisation in a marsupial. Developmental biology 337 (1), 162-170
  • D Hickford, S Frankenberg, MB Renfree (2009). Working with tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii). Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 2009 (12), pdb. prot5332
  • B Plusa, A Piliszek, S Frankenberg, J Artus, AK Hadjantonakis (2008) Distinct sequential cell behaviours direct primitive endoderm formation in the mouse blastocyst. Development 135 (18), 3081-3091
  • S Frankenberg, L Smith, A Greenfield, M Zernicka-Goetz (2007) Novel gene expression patterns along the proximo-distal axis of the mouse embryo before gastrulation. BMC developmental biology 7 (1), 8
  • B Plusa, S Frankenberg, A Chalmers, AK Hadjantonakis, CA Moore, … (2005) Downregulation of Par3 and aPKC function directs cells towards the ICM in the preimplantation mouse embryo. Journal of cell science 118 (3), 505-515
  • S Frankenberg, D Tisdall, L Selwood (2001). Identification of a homologue of POU5F1 (OCT3/4) in a marsupial, the brushtail possum. Molecular Reproduction and Development: Incorporating Gamete Research 58 (3 …
  • S Frankenberg, L Selwood (2001) Ultrastructure of oogenesis in the brushtail possum. Molecular Reproduction and Development: Incorporating Gamete Research 58 (3 …
  • S Frankenberg, L Selwood (1998). An ultrastructural study of the role of an extracellular matrix during normal cleavage in a marsupial, the brushtail possum. Molecular Reproduction and Development 50 (4 …
  • S Frankenberg, G Newell, L Selwood (1996). A light microscopic study of oogenesis in the brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula. Reproduction, fertility and development 8 (4), 541-546