Dr Georgia Kafer | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Dr Georgia Kafer

PhD(Physiology) UQ, GradCert(Higher Education) UQ

  • Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences
  • School of Health
+61 7 5456 3146
Office location
Moreton Bay
Georgia Kafer

Dr. Georgia Kafer is a reproductive physiologist and leads the Fetal and Reproductive Health Laboratory based at UniSC Moreton bay. Her cumulative research experience spans many fields including physiology, fetal and reproductive health, stem cell biology, cancer biology, DNA damage and epigenetics. Georgia maintains active membership in the Society for Reproductive Biology (SRB) and the Australian and New Zealand Placental Research Association (ANZPRA).

Georgia very much enjoys collaborative research and is always on the hunt for new productive and creative research partnerships. Her research encompasses basic, clinical and public health projects in the field of fetal and reproductive health. Georgia’s basic science projects, undertaken in collaboration with researchers across Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Canada, focus on using stem cells to generate in vitro 3-dimensional models of difficult to access human organs such as the human placenta. Her clinical research, performed in collaboration with researchers at Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service investigates the effects of exposure to environmental stress on human placental development.

Georgia is a core member of the Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research (ACPIR) and is part of a multidisciplinary team of UniSC researchers interested in understanding the incidence and preventability of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes in the Western Pacific. Through this work, Georgia also strives to help support and enable indigenous researchers in the Western Pacific develop and undertake impactful health research.

Georgia has a genuine passion for tertiary education and is a core member of the teaching team for Cell Biology and Physiology courses taught across all undergraduate levels at UniSC

Professional Memberships 

  • Australian and New Zealand Placental Research Association (ANZPRA)
  • The Society for Reproductive Biology (SRB) Australia
  • Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Society (AMMS)
  • Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology (ANZSCDB)


  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellowship (2012 – 2014)
  • Y.W. Charlie Loke New Investigator Travel Award, International Federation of Placenta Associations (IFPA) (2012)
  • Australia and New Zealand Placental Research Association (ANZPRA) New Investigator Award (2011)
  • RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology (CDB) Travel Fellowship (2011)
  • Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) (2007 – 2010)
  • CSIRO PhD Scholarship (2007 – 2010)

Professional Social Media

Research Grants

Project name Investigators Funding body Amount ($) Years of operation
Elucidating the impact of oxidative stress on the early development of human placental villi using human stem cell derived placentoids G Kafer (lead), M Dean and J James (AI)

NHMRC Ideas Grant

393,481 2022 - 2024
The MaMi Project: Investigating maternal micronutrient availability and impacts in Vanuatu.

G Kafer (lead), B Dixson and R. Thurecht

Partners: The Vanuatu Ministry of Health (J Stephens, R Turi, M Cornish and N Hinge).

UniSC Launch Partnership Grant

50,000 2023 - 2024
Seeing is achieving: Bolstering research capacity at UniSC through the acquisition of laser-scanning confocal and live-cell imaging microscopes G Kafer (lead), T Perkins, R Harvey, F Russell, M Dean, H Faddy, M Maugham-Macan and R Sekine

UniSC Grow Grant

280,000 2023
A blood vessel like no other: How does blood flow across the placental surface impact function? J James, A Clark, G Kafer (AI) and C Moares

Marsden Fund Award (New Zealand)

936,000 2023 - 2025

Potential Research Projects for HDR & Honours Students

  • 3D Human Placentoids 
  • The effects of nicotine and cannabis exposure on human placentation
  • The MaMi Project: Investigating maternal micronutrient availability and impacts in the Western Pacific

Research areas

  • stem cell biology
  • placental biology
  • regenerative medicine

Teaching areas

  • Human physiology
  • Molecular cell biology
  • Reproductive biology
  • Embryology and developmental biology
  • Stem cell biology

Key Research Publications

  • Ruis P, Van Ly D, Borel V, Kafer GR, McCarthy A, Howell S, Blassberg R, Snijders AP, Briscoe J, Niakan KK, Marzec P, Cesare AJ, Boulton SJ. TRF2-independent chromosome end protection during pluripotency. Nature. 2021 Jan;589(7840):103-109. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2960-y. Epub 2020 Nov 25. PMID: 33239783. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33239783/
  • Kafer GR, Tanaka Y, Rillo-Bohn R, Shimizu E, Hasegawa K, Carlton PM. Sequential peripheral enrichment of H2A.Zac and H3K9me2 during trophoblast differentiation in human embryonic stem cells. J Cell Sci. 2020 Nov 16;133(24):jcs245282. doi: 10.1242/jcs.245282. PMID: 33199519. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33199519/
  • Kafer GR, Cesare AJ. A Survey of Essential Genome Stability Genes Reveals That Replication Stress Mitigation Is Critical for Peri-Implantation Embryogenesis. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 May 29;8:416. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2020.00416. PMID: 32548123; PMCID: PMC7274024. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32548123/
  • Van Ly D, Jie Low R, Frölich S, Bartolec T, Kafer G, Pickett H, Gaus K, Cesare A. Telomere Loop Dynamics in Chromosome End Protection. Molecular Cell. 2018 Aug 16;71(4):510-525.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2018.06.025. Epub 2018 Jul 19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30033372/
  • Kafer GR, Li X, Horii T, Suetake I, Tajima S, Hatada I, Carlton PM. 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine Marks Sites of DNA Damage and Promotes Genome Stability. Cell Rep. 2016 Feb 16;14(6):1283-1292. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.01.035. Epub 2016 Feb 4. PMID: 26854228. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26854228/
  • Kafer GR, Lehnert SA, Pantaleon M, Kaye PL, Moser RJ. Expression of genes coding for histone variants and histone-associated proteins in pluripotent stem cells and mouse preimplantation embryos. Gene Expr Patterns. 2010 Sep;10(6):299-305. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2010.06.003. Epub 2010 Jun 19. PMID: 20601166. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20601166/

Dr. Georgia Kafer’s specialist areas of knowledge include human physiology, molecular cell biology, reproductive biology, embryology and developmental biology and her special passion - stem cell biology.

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