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Theme Director, Cell Biology, Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Professor Melissa Little is the Theme Director of Cell Biology at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne and is both the Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia and a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is also the President of The Australian Society of Stem Cell Research.

For more than 20 years her research has focussed on the molecular basis of kidney development, renal disease and repair. She is internationally recognised for her work on the systems biology of kidney development and also her pioneering studies into potential regenerative therapies in the kidney. Her work on the developing kidney has driven studies into the recreation of nephron stem cell populations via transcriptional reprogramming and directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells. As a result, her research now focuses on the generation of mini-kidneys from stem cells for use in drug screening and disease modelling and bioengineering. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, Professor Little’s work has been recognised by many awards, including the GlaxoSmithKline Award for Research Excellence (2005), AAS Gottschalk Medal in Medical Sciences (2004), Eisenhower Fellowship (2006), ANZSCDB Presidents Medal (2015) and a Boerhaave Professorship, Leiden University (2015). A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, she founded Nephrogenix Pty Ltd and from 2007-2008, she served as the Chief Scientific Officer at the Australian Stem Cell Centre.

Melissa currently serves as a Special Editor for Development and on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Society for Nephrology, Kidney International and Developmental Biology.


  • –present
    Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia, University of Melbourne


  • 1989 
    University of Queensland , Doctorate of Philosophy, Biochemistry