Nigel is part of the Thor group which studies control of cell fate and proliferation in the developing brain.

Researcher biography

Dr Nigel Kee's research combines classic developmental biology approaches with in vitro human stem cell technologies to model and test how stem cells can be instructed to build the different tissues of our bodies. These stem-cell based models can be used to (a) understand and model basic principles of how stem cells make lineage specification decisions, and to (b) serve as in vitro platforms for the modelling of human diseases. Dr Kee completed his doctorate from the department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Karolinska Institutet in 2017. Here, he trained in the then-emerging technology of single-cell RNA-sequencing to guide the refinement of stem cell protocols targeting Parkinson's Disease. Following this, Dr Kee secured two back-to-back Fellowships from the Swedish Brain Foundation and the Swedish Society for Medical Research, which funded a 5-year post-doctoral appointment at both Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University. During this period, Dr Kee also secured project funds of 152.5k AUD to support his development of human stem cell 2.5D assembloid models of posterior body axis development. These human assembloid models are comprised of a complex mix of nerve and muscle cell types, that will allow future modelling of the motor neuron disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Dr Kee returned to Australia in 2022, where he has been appointed to SBMS as a Research Fellow in the laboratory of Professor Stefan Thor, to develop in vitro models of the human hypothalamus. The hypothalamus influences many aspects of human behaviour including growth, circadian rhythms, fight or flight, appetite and sleep. In vitro models of the neural circuits that control these processes will be crucial to understanding how they operate, and how to try and modulate them when they go awry. Towards this goal, Dr Kee was successful in securing a 2022 NHMRC Ideas Grant (CIB), and with this support he will apply his expertise in developmental biology, single-cell omics, and 3D assembloid biology to development complex in vitro stem cell models of the human hypothalamus.