Staff profile

Dr Greg Somers


College of Science, Health and Engineering
School of Molecular Sciences
La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science

BSC1, rm 213, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BSc (Waikato), MSc (First Class Hons) (Waikato), PhD (Adelaide)

Membership of professional associations

Genetics Society of AustralAsia

Area of study

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Biomedical Science

Brief profile

Dr Somers' is a geneticist, who uses the model organism Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) to investigate the genetic and molecular mechanisms regulating development. Dr Somers' has developed an interest in the molecular mechanisms of stem cell development, conducting a postdoctoral research at King' College London (supported by a Wellcome Trust Fellowship), Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, Singapore and The University of Melbourne (supported by an NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship). Establishing his own research laboratory at La Trobe University in 2010, Dr Somers' in collaboration with colleagues in the US, Singapore, China and the UK, continues his research on stem cell development as well as teaches both second and third year Genetics units, co-ordinates the departmental Honours program, as well as the fortnightly departmental seminar program. In addition to Dr Somers' contributing to the organising of conferences and meetings, he has been invited to present his research at numerous national and international conferences and research institutes. 

Dr Somers' research interests centre around investigating the molecular mechanisms regulating cellular diversity and cancer development. Using the powerful genetic tools available in Drosophila , conserved factors important for the regulation of stem cell populations can easily be identified. Determining the biological mechanisms of these factors and how they influence proliferation, self-renewal and differentiation, will provide novel insights into stem cell therapies and drug design for the treatment of cancer.

Research interests

Cell biology and molecular pathogenesis

- Stem cell development

Molecular genetics

- Signal transduction and gene regulation

Teaching units

GEN2MHG Molecular and Human Genetics

GEN3HMG Human and Molecular Genetics

GEN3EEG Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics

MED2BMS Introduction to Biomedical Science

Recent publications

Chang KC, Garcia-Alvarez G, Somers G, Sousa-Nunes R, Rossi F, Lee YY, Soon SB, Gonzalez C, Chia W, Wang H. (2010) Interplay between the transcription factor Zif and aPKC regulates neuroblast polarity and self-renewal. Dev Cell.;19(5):778-85.  

Wang C, Chang KC, Toh TB, Somers G, Virshup D, Ang BT, Tang C Yu F, Wang H. (2009) Protein Phosphatase 2A promotes Polo expression to inhibit excess self-renewal of neural stem cells. Development.136(13): 2287-2296.  

Sousa-Nunes R, Chia W, Somers WG (2009) Protein phosphates 4 mediates localization of the Miranda complex during Drosophila neuroblast asymmetric divisions. Genes and Development. 23(3): 359-72  

Wang H, Ouyang Y, Somers WG, Chia W, Lu B (2007) Polo inhibits progenitor self-renewal and regulates Numb asymmetry by phosphorylating Pon. Nature 449, 96-100  

Wang H, Somers WG, Bashirullah A, Heberlein U, Thummel CS,Yu F, Chia W.(2006) Aurora-A acts as a tumor suppressor and regulates self-renewal of Drosophila neuroblasts. Genes and Development. 20: 3453-63  

Slack C, Somers WG, Sousa-Nunes R, Chia W, Overton P (2006) A mosaic genetic screen for novel mutations affecting Drosophila neuroblast divisions. BMC Genetics. 7: 33  

Somers WG, Saint R (2003) A RhoGEF and Rho family GTPase-activating protein complex links the contractile ring to cortical microtubules at the onset of cytokinesis. Dev Cell. 4, 29-39  

Nicholas G, Thomas M, Langley B, Somers W, Patel K, Sharma M, Kamadur R (2002) Titin-cap associates with, and regulates secretion of, Myostatin. J Cell Physiol. 193, 120-31  

O’Keefe L, Somers WG, Harley A, Saint R (2001) The pebble GTP exchange factor and the control of cytokinesis. Cell Struct Funct. 26, 619-26  

Jeanplong F, Sharma M, Somers WG, Bass JJ, Kambadur R (2001) Genomic organization and neonatal expression of the bovine myostatin gene. Mol Cell Biochem. 220, 31-7  

Older publications

Sharma M, Kambadur R, Matthews KG, Somers WG, Devlin GP, Conaglen JV, Fowke PJ, Bass JJ (1999) Myostatin, a transforming growth factor-beta superfamily member, is expressed in heart muscle and is upregulated in cardiomyocytes after infarct. J Cell Physiol. 180, 1-9