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Dr Peter Nicholls

Assistant Professor

Faculty/Dept/School School of Chemistry and Bioscience
(Faculty of Life Sciences)
Telephone +441274 238565


Dr Nicholls graduated with a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Hons) in 2007, and received his PhD from the Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Monash University (2012, Australia) on the development and endocrine regulation of the reproductive tract. Dr Nicholls then undertook postdoctoral research at the Whitehead Institute, based within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). In this research, Dr Nicholls described how embryonic cells of the germline – the precursors of both eggs and sperm – become committed to produce gametes in adulthood, and no other cell type. When this commitment fails to occur, these embryonic cells may instead form germ cell tumours of the gonads, one of the most common cancers of young children, and the most common cancer in men under 45 years of age.

Dr Nicholls has been awarded several honours, including the New Investigator Award from the Society for Reproductive Biology (Australia), and postdoctoral research fellowships awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) and the Hope Funds for Cancer Research (USA).

In 2020, Dr Nicholls joined the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics.  In ongoing studies, Dr Nicholls uses a number of model organisms to explore how genetic and environmental factors influence the development of gonadal tumours from embryonic cells, and the  molecular pathways that govern the sensitivity of tumours to chemotherapy.

Professional activities

  • 01-JAN-12: Monash University - PhD
  • 01-JAN-07: Monash University (Australia) - Bachelor of Biomedical Science Honours
  • 01-JAN-06: Monash University (Australia) - Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences

  • 28-JAN-13: Whitehead Institute (USA) - Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • 01-DEC-20: University of Bradford - Lecturer in Molecular Biology

  • 01-JAN-15: Hope Funds for Cancer Research Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
  • 01-JAN-12: NH&MRC CJ Martin Early Career Fellowship
  • 01-JAN-08: Australian Postgraduate Award
  • 01-JAN-10: SRB New Investigator Award


TitleAdvancing clinical and translational research in germ cell tumours (GCT): recommendations from the Malignant Germ Cell International Consortium. (2022)
AuthorsFonseca A;Lobo J;Hazard FK;Gell J;Nicholls PK;Weiss RS;Klosterkemper L;Volchenboum SL;Nicholson JC;Frazier AL;Amatruda JF;Bagrodia A;Lockley M;Murray MJ;
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
TitleA gene deriving from the ancestral sex chromosomes was lost from the X and retained on the Y chromosome in eutherian mammals. (2022)
AuthorsHughes JF;Skaletsky H;Nicholls PK;Drake A;Pyntikova T;Cho TJ;Bellott DW;Page DC;
JournalBMC Biology
TitleGerm cell determination and the developmental origin of germ cell tumors. (2021)
AuthorsNicholls PK;Page DC;
JournalDevelopment - Company of Biologists
TitleDAZL mediates a broad translational program regulating expansion and differentiation of spermatogonial progenitors. (2020)
AuthorsMikedis MM;Fan Y;Nicholls PK;Endo T;Jackson EK;Cobb SA;de Rooij DG;Page DC;
TitleGCNA Interacts with Spartan and Topoisomerase II to Regulate Genome Stability. (2020)
AuthorsDokshin GA;Davis GM;Sawle AD;Eldridge MD;Nicholls PK;Gourley TE;Romer KA;Molesworth LW;Tatnell HR;Ozturk AR;de Rooij DG;Hannon GJ;Page DC;Mello CC;Carmell MA;
JournalDevelopmental Cell
TitleRetinoic Acid and Germ Cell Development in the Ovary and Testis. (2019)
AuthorsEndo T;Mikedis MM;Nicholls PK;Page DC;de Rooij DG;
TitleMammalian germ cells are determined after PGC colonization of the nascent gonad. (2019)
AuthorsNicholls PK;Schorle H;Naqvi S;Hu YC;Fan Y;Carmell MA;Dobrinski I;Watson AL;Carlson DF;Fahrenkrug SC;Page DC;
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
TitleLocating and Characterizing a Transgene Integration Site by Nanopore Sequencing. (2019)
AuthorsNicholls PK;Bellott DW;Cho TJ;Pyntikova T;Page DC;
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
TitleSuppression of Sertoli cell tumour development during the first wave of spermatogenesis in inhibin α-deficient mice. (2017)
AuthorsHaverfield JT;Stanton PG;Loveland KL;Zahid H;Nicholls PK;Olcorn JS;Makanji Y;Itman CM;Simpson ER;Meachem SJ;
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
TitleA mitotic SKAP isoform regulates spindle positioning at astral microtubule plus ends. (2016)
AuthorsKern DM;Nicholls PK;Page DC;Cheeseman IM;
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
TitleLicensing of primordial germ cells for gametogenesis depends on genital ridge signaling. (2015)
AuthorsHu YC;Nicholls PK;Soh YQ;Daniele JR;Junker JP;van Oudenaarden A;Page DC;
JournalPLoS Genetics
TitleThe E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UBE2J1 is required for spermiogenesis in mice. (2014)
AuthorsKoenig PA;Nicholls PK;Schmidt FI;Hagiwara M;Maruyama T;Frydman GH;Watson N;Page DC;Ploegh HL;
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
TitleDifferential permeability of the blood-testis barrier during reinitiation of spermatogenesis in adult male rats. (2014)
AuthorsHaverfield JT;Meachem SJ;Nicholls PK;Rainczuk KE;Simpson ER;Stanton PG;
TitleA novel subcellular machine contributes to basal junction remodeling in the seminiferous epithelium. (2013)
AuthorsDu M;Young J;De Asis M;Cipollone J;Roskelley C;Takai Y;Nicholls PK;Stanton PG;Deng W;Finlay BB;Vogl AW;
JournalBiology of Reproduction
TitleRetinoic acid promotes Sertoli cell differentiation and antagonises activin-induced proliferation. (2013)
AuthorsNicholls PK;Harrison CA;Rainczuk KE;Wayne Vogl A;Stanton PG;
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
TitleAndrogen initiates Sertoli cell tight junction formation in the hypogonadal (hpg) mouse. (2012)
AuthorsMcCabe MJ;Allan CM;Foo CF;Nicholls PK;McTavish KJ;Stanton PG;
JournalBiology of Reproduction
TitleLentiviral transduction of rat Sertoli cells as a means to modify gene expression. (2012)
AuthorsNicholls PK;Stanton PG;Rainczuk KE;Qian H;Gregorevic P;Harrison CA;
TitleProprotein convertases in post-menopausal endometrial cancer: distinctive regulation and non-invasive diagnosis. (2012)
AuthorsSingh H;Heng S;Nicholls PK;Li Y;Tai LT;Jobling T;Salamonsen LA;Nie G;
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
TitleActivin signaling regulates Sertoli cell differentiation and function. (2012)
AuthorsNicholls PK;Stanton PG;Chen JL;Olcorn JS;Haverfield JT;Qian H;Walton KL;Gregorevic P;Harrison CA;
TitleEmbryo implantation is closely associated with dynamic expression of proprotein convertase 5/6 in the rabbit uterus. (2011)
AuthorsNicholls PK;Sun Z;Heng S;Li Y;Wang J;Nie G;
JournalReproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E
TitleSpermiation: The process of sperm release. (2011)
AuthorsO'Donnell L;Nicholls PK;O'Bryan MK;McLachlan RI;Stanton PG;
TitleHormonal regulation of sertoli cell micro-RNAs at spermiation. (2011)
AuthorsNicholls PK;Harrison CA;Walton KL;McLachlan RI;O'Donnell L;Stanton PG;
TitleInterleukin 11 is upregulated in uterine lavage and endometrial cancer cells in women with endometrial carcinoma. (2010)
AuthorsYap J;Salamonsen LA;Jobling T;Nicholls PK;Dimitriadis E;
JournalReproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E
TitlePost-translational modifications and protein-specific isoforms in endometriosis revealed by 2D DIGE. (2010)
AuthorsStephens AN;Hannan NJ;Rainczuk A;Meehan KL;Chen J;Nicholls PK;Rombauts LJ;Stanton PG;Robertson DM;Salamonsen LA;
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
TitleExpression of nodal signalling components in cycling human endometrium and in endometrial cancer. (2009)
AuthorsPapageorgiou I;Nicholls PK;Wang F;Lackmann M;Makanji Y;Salamonsen LA;Robertson DM;Harrison CA;
JournalReproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E
TitleLoss of betaglycan contributes to the malignant properties of human granulosa tumor cells. (2009)
AuthorsBilandzic M;Chu S;Farnworth PG;Harrison C;Nicholls P;Wang Y;Escalona RM;Fuller PJ;Findlay JK;Stenvers KL;
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
TitleGrowth differentiation factor 9 is a germ cell regulator of Sertoli cell function. (2009)
AuthorsNicholls PK;Harrison CA;Gilchrist RB;Farnworth PG;Stanton PG;
TitleProteomic characterization of midproliferative and midsecretory human endometrium. (2009)
AuthorsChen JI;Hannan NJ;Mak Y;Nicholls PK;Zhang J;Rainczuk A;Stanton PG;Robertson DM;Salamonsen LA;Stephens AN;
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
TitleExtra-ovarian expression and activity of growth differentiation factor 9. (2009)
AuthorsWang Y;Nicholls PK;Stanton PG;Harrison CA;Sarraj M;Gilchrist RB;Findlay JK;Farnworth PG;
JournalJournal of Endocrinology