Dr Sarah Withey specialises in human development and stem cell biology

Dr Sarah Withey is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), at The University of Queensland. Her research is focused on developmental biology and understanding the mechanisms underpinning the differentiation of stem cells towards a mature, differentiated cell-type. Her work is currently aimed towards endoderm derivatives, including the liver.

Dr Sarah Withey obtained her PhD in 2016 from the University of Manchester, UK supervised by Prof. Neil Hanley (expert endocrinologist and Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow). Her research aimed at understanding the development of the human liver and developing methods for characterising and improving the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells towards hepatocyte-like cells (HLC). 

Her first postdoctoral position was based at the University of Nottingham, UK. Here she led a collaborative project with Professor Azim Surani (The Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge) investigating gastrulation and the specification of germ cells in early mammalian embryos. Given that many aspects of early pig development are similar to humans, she used pig embryos as a model to uncover fundamental, human-relevant developmental mechanisms.

Key Publications

Phenotypic and functional analyses show stem cell-derived hepatocyte-like cells better mimic fetal rather than adult hepatocytes ; Melissa Baxter, Sarah Withey, Sean Harrison, Charis-Patricia Segeritz, Fang Zhang, Rebecca Atkinson-Dell, Cliff Rowe, Dave T Gerrard, Rowena Sison-Young, Roz Jenkins, Joanne Henry, Andrew A Berry, Lisa Mohamet, Marie Best, Stephen W Fenwick, Hassan Malik, Neil R Kitteringham, Chris E Goldring, Karen Piper Hanley, Ludovic Vallier, Neil A Hanley. Journal of hepatology 62 (3), 581-589

Principles of early human development and germ cell program from conserved model systems ; Toshihiro Kobayashi, Haixin Zhang, Walfred WC Tang, Naoko Irie, Sarah Withey, Doris Klisch, Anastasiya Sybirna, Sabine Dietmann, David A Contreras, Robert Webb, Cinzia Allegrucci, Ramiro Alberio, M Azim Surani. Nature 546 (7658), 416

Laser capture and deep sequencing reveals the transcriptomic programmes regulating the onset of pancreas and liver differentiation in human embryos ; Rachel E Jennings, Andrew A Berry, David T Gerrard, Stephen J Wearne, James Strutt, Sarah Withey, Mariya Chhatriwala, Karen Piper Hanley, Ludovic Vallier, Nicoletta Bobola, Neil A Hanley. Stem cell reports 9 (5), 1387-1394

Pluripotency and X chromosome dynamics revealed in pig pre-gastrulating embryos by single cell analysis; P Ramos-Ibeas, F Sang, Q Zhu, WWC Tang, S Withey, D Klisch, L Wood, Matt Loose, M Azim Surani, Ramiro Alberio. Nature communications 10, 2019.