David Skerrett-Byrne

David Skerrett-Byrne


Dr David Skerrett-Byrne is an early career postdoctoral researcher in the fields of reproductive biology and multiomic analyses and bioinformatics at The University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute.

His research projects aim to investigate the role of the epididymis, a highly specialised region of the male reproductive tract, critical to the functional maturation of sperm, as well as transmission of environmental stress signatures to sperm cargo and the subsequent transgenerational effects.

With a strong academic and research background in protein biochemistry, he was successful in obtaining a competitive scholarship to undertake a PhD in applied proteomics at the University of Newcastle Australia (2014), under the mentorship of A/Professor Matthew Dun, international leading cancer biologist. During this time, he was trained in cancer and immune biology and gained high sought-after skills in mass spectrometry-based proteomics, bioinformatics, and in-vivo mouse experiments alongside a variety of molecular biochemistry techniques.

Ultimately, his productivity as a PhD candidate led to my postdoctoral recruitment to the Infertility and Reproduction Research Program by Professor Brett Nixon, where he has gained specialised training in reproductive and epididymal biology.

He is an emerging, internationally recognised research leader in reproductive proteomics. In the early stages of his research career, he published 30 research articles in leading journals such Cell Reports and Molecular & Cellular Proteomics.

His strong credentials in reproductive proteomics is evidenced by publications characterising sperm development, the most in-depth epididymal sperm proteome characterisation to date (>6,000 proteins), and the first multiomic assessment of the critically important male reproductive tissue, seminal vesicle, shedding light on its protein composition, and the pathological impact of the reproductive toxicant acrylamide.

His research has led to presentations at the prestigious international Human Proteome Organization World Congress (Ireland '17 & Australia '19) and invited talks at the NSW Reproduction Forum ('19) and Epididymis 8th (Germany '22). As of 2022, he has been recognised by the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs as a Global Talent in the Health Industries; a highly skilled researcher at the cutting edge of innovation.

Research Interests 

  • Infertility
  • Reproductive health
  • Epididymal biology
  • Reproductive multiomic analyses
  • Sperm
  • In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
  • Transgenerational effects
  • Cancer

Why did you get into research?

I fell in love with research very early on in life, influenced heavily by my mum, shaping my enthusiasm for the challenge of science and the drive to make discoveries that hopefully have a truly meaningful impact on our community; a genuine privilege.

From there my fascination in reproductive health comes from an opportunistic collaboration with the truly remarkable Professor Brett Nixon introducing me to this enthralling field with real vast and impactful outcomes on our community.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

Put simply, the ultimate goal of my research is transforming fundamental reproductive discoveries in the lab to clinically meaningful health impacts for our community.

I firmly believe by better understanding our reproductive health, at an unprecedented molecular level, we can make these impacts for both the person themselves (e.g. infertility and systemic health) and subsequently the next generation.

Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to be able to contribute back to the young researchers of the future, being able to continue that support in their research careers and beyond is of utmost importance to me.

Future Focus

My research focus and future aspirations are:

  • Investigating the role of the epididymis in transmission of environmental stress signatures to offspring (e.g. heat, stress, stress, diet and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances; PFAS) to maturing sperm.
  • How the epididymis confers functional maturation to sperm; constructing a blueprint of proteins, and their modifications, that underpin sperm competency for fertilisation.

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Epididymal biology
  • Proteomic workflows, analysis and interpretation
  • Phosphoproteomics workflows, analysis and interpretation
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Transcriptomics workflows, analysis and interpretation
  • Bioinformatics
  • Male germ cell isolation


  • HMRI Infertility and Reproduction Research Program
  • Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science, The University of Newcastle