Associate Professor Orly Lacham Kaplan

Deputy Institute Director
Senior Scientist, Exercise and Nutrition Research Program

Areas of expertise: Regulation of muscle stem cells differentiation and regeneration capacity in vitro

HDR Supervisor accreditation status: Full

ORCID ID: 0000-0001-7152-4774

Phone: +61(03) 9953 8233


Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

Associate Professor Lacham-Kaplan is the current Deputy Director of the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research and a senior scientist at the Exercise and Nutrition Research Program.

Associate Professor Lacham-Kaplan is a pioneer and internationally renown for developing state-of-the-art technologies to overcome human infertility and to preserve endangered species for which she has been awarded the BrainLink Women of Achievement Award; a testament to her dedication to help couples parent children and to the environment. In later years, she specialised in applied research in human regenerative medicine utilising nuclear transfer procedures she has developed. Lacham-Kaplan has had a break from academia where she took positions in research management. When joined the Australian Catholic University in 2015 as a Senior Laboratory Manager she established the tissue culture laboratory and initiated basic research in muscle stem cells before being appointed as Associate Professor in 2021.

Associate Professor Lacham-Kaplan mentored 15-post graduate MSc and PhD students to completion of which many continued to work in assisted reproduction clinics and/or developed their academic career in local and international research institutes. She has published over 45 scientific articles and book chapters and is acting editor on several scientific journals such as Stem Cells and Cells.

The primary focus of her research nowadays, is in vitro regenerative capacity of healthy and metabolically compromised muscle primary cells. Using mouse and human cells, she investigates the effects of nutritional supplements and other stimuli on myogenesis through exploring global and targeted gene and protein expression. She is also researching the intrinsic circadian rhythm of muscle stem cells through growth and differentiation when exposed to changing epigenetic milieus with the aim to improve the cells’ regenerative capacity.

Select publications

  • Divergent Regulation of Myotube Formation and Gene Expression by E2 and EPA during In-Vitro Differentiation of C2C12 Myoblasts (2020) O Lacham Kaplan, J A Hawley, D M Camera
  • Potential Roles of n-3 PUFAs during Skeletal Muscle Growth and Regeneration (2018) B Tachtsis, D M Camera, O Lacham Kaplan
  • Protein coingestion with alcohol following strenuous exercise attenuates alcohol – induced intramyocelluar apoptosis and inhibition of autophagy (2016) W J Smiles, E B Parr, V G Coffey, O Lacham Kaplan, J A Hawley, D M Camera
  • Reprograming of DNA Replication Timing (2010) Y Shufaro, O Lacham Kaplan, B Z Tzuberi, J McLaughlin, A Trounson, H Cedar, B E Reubinoff
  • Differentiation of germ cells and gametes from stem cells (2009) A I Marques-Mari, O Lacham Kaplan, J V Medrano, A Pellicer, C Simon
  • Density gradients for the isolation of germ cells from embryoid bodies (2008) D Saiti, O Lacham Kaplan
  • Gene expression profiling of human oocytes following in vivo or in vitro maturation (2008) G M Jones, D S Cram, B Song, M C Magli, L Gianaroli, O Lacham Kaplan, J K Findlay, G Jenkin, A O Trounson
  • Reduced developmental competence of immature, in vitro matured and postovulatory aged mouse oocytes following IVF and ICSI (2008) O Lacham Kaplan, A Trounson
  • Shedding New Light on the Molecular Architecture of Oocytes Using a Combination of Synchrotron Fourier Transform Infrared and Raman Spectroscopic Mapping (2008) B R Wood, T Chernenko, C Matthaus, M Diem, C Chong, U Bernhard, C Jene, A A Brindle, D McNaughton, M J Tobin, A Trounson, O Lacham Kaplan
  • Comparison of mice born after intracytoplasmic sperm injection with in vitro fertilization and natural mating (2006) T J Wilson, O Lacham Kaplan, J Gould, A Holloway, I Bertoncello, P J Hertzog, A Trounson 

Accolades and awards

  • Winner, BrainLink Women of Achievement Aware (2007)
  • Monash University Alumni Member

Appointments and affiliations

  • Deputy Director, Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research (Jan 2021 – Present)
  • Senior Laboratory Manager, Exercise and Nutrition Research Program Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research (August 2015 – December 2020)
  • Research Program Manager, Baker Institute (May 2011 – July 2015)
  • Affiliated Senior Research Fellow, Monash University (March 2010 – June 2012)
  • Senior Research Fellow, Monash University (January 2005– March 2010)
  • Senior Research Officer, Australian Cancer Council (2008-2009)

Editorial roles

  • Guest Editor, Germ Cells and Stem Cells in Regeneration and Repair

Public engagement

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