Jennifer Zenker




In 2018, Jennifer Zenker was appointed Group Leader at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University in Melbourne. Prior to establishing her research group, Jennifer undertook her postdoctoral studies at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology at A*STAR in Singapore and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Australia located at Monash University in Melbourne. She was the first scientist based in Singapore to receive the prestigious Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2015. In 2012, she received her PhD in Neurobiology from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

During her postdoctoral studies, Jennifer used non-invasive imaging technologies to visualize the real-time dynamics of the cytoskeletal system within single cells of the mammalian embryo. She discovered new insights into how the microtubule and actin cytoskeleton are required for the development of a healthy embryo.

Click here for full list of publications on ORCID

Research interests

The Zenker group seeks to understand how a cell’s structure and function is regulated by the continuous re-organization of the microtubule network – highly dynamic cytoskeletal filaments regulating fundamental processes including cell division, migration and differentiation. Their research interests include:

  • Live imaging
  • Microtubule cytoskeleton
  • Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
  • Neurobiology

Featured Publications

Authors Title Published In

Hawdon, A., Geoghegan, N.D., Mohenska, M., Elsenhans A., Ferguson C., Polo J.M., Parton R.G., Zenker J.

Apicobasal RNA asymmetries regulate cell fate in the early mouse embryo.

Nat Commun 14, 2909 (2023).

Liu X, Tan JP, Schröder J, Aberkane A, Ouyang JF, Mohenska M, Lim SM, Sun YBY, Chen J, Sun G, Zhou Y, Poppe D, Lister R, Clark AT, Rackham OJL, Zenker J, Polo JM.

Modelling human blastocysts by reprogramming fibroblasts into iBlastoids.

Nature. 2021 Mar;591(7851):627-632. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03372-y. Epub 2021 Mar 17. PMID: 33731926.

Stathatos GG, Dunleavy JEM, Zenker J, O’Bryan MK.

Delta and epsilon tubulin in mammalian development.

Trends Cell Biol. 2021 Apr 15:S0962-8924(21)00066-0. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2021.03.010. Epub 2021 Apr 15. PMID: 33867233.

Zenker J,* White MD*, Gasnier M*, Alvarez YD, Lim HYG, Bissiere S, Biro M, Plachta N.

Expanding Actin Rings Zipper the Mouse Embryo for Blastocyst Formation.

Cell. 2018 Apr 19;173(3):776-791.e17. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.02.035. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

Zenker J, White MD, Templin RM, Parton RG, Thorn-Seshold O, Bissiere S, Plachta N.

A microtubule-organizing center directing intracellular transport in the early mouse embryo.

Science. 2017 Sep 1;357(6354):925-928. doi: 10.1126/science.aam9335.

White MD, Zenker J, Bissiere S, Plachta N.

Instructions for Assembling the Early Mammalian Embryo.

Dev Cell. 2018 Jun 18;45(6):667-679. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2018.05.013.

Zhao ZW*, White MD*, Zenker J*, Alvarez YD, Bissiere S, Plachta N.

Quantifying transcription factor-DNA binding in single cells in vivo with photoactivatable fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.

Nat Protoc. 2017 Jul;12(7):1458-1471. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2017.051. Epub 2017 Jun 29.

Stettner M, Zenker J, Klingler F, Szepanowski F, Hartung HP, Mausberg AK, Kleinschnitz C, Chrast R, Kieseier BC.

The role of Peripheral Myelin Protein 2 in Remyelination.

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2018 Mar;38(2):487-496. doi: 10.1007/s10571-017-0494-0. Epub 2017 Apr 26.

White MD, Zenker J, Bissiere S, Plachta N.

How cells change shape and position in the early mouse embryo.

Current Opinion in Cell Biology 2017 Feb;44:7-13. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2016 Dec 26.

Barneo-Muñoz M, Juárez P, Civera-Tregón A, Yndriago L, Pla-Martin D, Zenker J, Cuevas-Martín C, Estela A, Sánchez-Aragó M, Forteza-Vila J, Cuezva JM, Chrast R, Palau F.

Lack of GDAP1 induces neuronal calcium and mitochondrial defects in a knockout mouse model of charcot-marie-tooth neuropathy.

PLoS Genet. 2015 Apr 10;11(4):e1005115. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005115. eCollection 2015 Apr.

Zenker J, Stettner M, Ruskamo S, Domènech-Estévez E, Baloui H, Médard JJ, Verheijen MH, Brouwers JF, Kursula P, Kieseier BC, Chrast R.

A role of peripheral myelin protein 2 in lipid homeostasis of myelinating Schwann cells.

Glia. 2014 Sep;62(9):1502-12. doi: 10.1002/glia.22696. Epub 2014 May 21.

Ngo L, Haas M, Qu Z, Li SS, Zenker J, Teng KS, Gunnersen JM, Breuss M, Habgood M, Keays DA, Heng JI.

TUBB5 and its disease-associated mutations influence the terminal differentiation and dendritic spine densities of cerebral cortical neurons.

Hum Mol Genet. 2014 Oct 1;23(19):5147-58. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddu238. Epub 2014 May 15.

Zenker J, Ziegler D, Chrast R.

Novel pathogenic pathways in diabetic neuropathy.

Trends Neurosci. 2013 Aug;36(8):439-49. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2013.04.008. Epub 2013 May 29.

Azzedine H, Zavadakova P, Planté-Bordeneuve V, Vaz Pato M, Pinto N, Bartesaghi L, Zenker J, Poirot O, Bernard-Marissal N, Arnaud Gouttenoire E, Cartoni R, Title A, Venturini G, Médard JJ, Makowski E, Schöls L, Claeys KG, Stendel C, Roos A, Weis J, Dubourg O, Leal Loureiro J, Stevanin G, Said G, Amato A, Baraban J, LeGuern E, Senderek J, Rivolta C, Chrast R.

PLEKHG5 deficiency leads to an intermediate form of autosomal-recessive Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Hum Mol Genet. 2013 Oct 15;22(20):4224-32. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddt274. Epub 2013 Jun 17.

Zenker J, Poirot O, de Preux Charles AS, Arnaud E, Médard JJ, Lacroix C, Kuntzer T, Chrast R.

Altered distribution of juxtaparanodal kv1.2 subunits mediates peripheral nerve hyperexcitability in type 2 diabetes mellitus.

J Neurosci. 2012 May 30;32(22):7493-8. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0719-12.2012.

Stendel C, Roos A, Kleine H, Arnaud E, Ozçelik M, Sidiropoulos PN, Zenker J, Schüpfer F, Lehmann U, Sobota RM, Litchfield DW, Lüscher B, Chrast R, Suter U, Senderek J.

SH3TC2, a protein mutant in Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy, links peripheral nerve myelination to endosomal recycling.

Brain. 2010 Aug;133(Pt 8):2462-74. doi: 10.1093/brain/awq168.

de Preux Charles AS, Verdier V, Zenker J, Peter B, Médard JJ, Kuntzer T, Beckmann JS, Bergmann S, Chrast R.

Global transcriptional programs in peripheral nerve endoneurium and DRG are resistant to the onset of type 1 diabetic neuropathy in Ins2 mice.

PLoS One. 2010 May 26;5(5):e10832. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010832.

Arnaud E, Zenker J, de Preux Charles AS, Stendel C, Roos A, Médard JJ, Tricaud N, Kleine H, Luscher B, Weis J, Suter U, Senderek J, Chrast R.

SH3TC2/KIAA1985 protein is required for proper myelination and the integrity of the node of Ranvier in the peripheral nervous system.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Oct 13;106(41):17528-33. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0905523106. Epub 2009 Sep 29.