Dr O’Bryan graduated from The University of Melbourne in 1994 with a BSc(hon) then PhD in the area of immunology and reproductive biology. Subsequently, she was awarded an Andrew Mellon Foundation Fellowship to work at The Population Council in New York in the field of contraceptive development. She returned to Australia in 1996 as a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Peter Doherty Fellowship to work at Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development (now the Hudson Institute), Monash University, where she established a lab focused on male fertility. In 2009 she moved to the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology at Monash University as Deputy Head of Department. She was appointed Program Lead (Development and Stem Cells) within the Monash Biomedical Discovery Institute in 2015, and Deputy Director in 2016. In 2017 she assumed the role of the Head of the School of Biological Sciences within the Faculty of Science at Monash University, and in 2020 she was appointed Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science at The University of Melbourne. The focus of Dr O’Bryan’s research encompasses sperm development and function, genetic causes of human infertility, and the implications for ‘reproductive’ proteins on health broadly. She directs a multidisciplinary and highly collaborative research program covering fundamental research, and clinical medicine. In her role as Dean, she directs a large faculty spanning physics, chemistry, life and ecological sciences, mathematics, geosciences and human geography.
Dr O’Bryan has received research-based fellowships and awards from numerous agencies including the NHMRC, the Australian Academy of Science, the Fertility Society of Australia, the Endocrine Society of Australia, and the Society for Reproductive Biology (SRB). She was the 2008 American Society of Andrology (ASA) “Young Andrologist of the Year”, the 2015 Anne McLaren Memorial Lecturer (Society for Reproduction and Fertility, UK) and the 2015 SRB President’s Lecturer. In 2011 she was inducted as an SRB Fellow.
She is an active member of several professional societies and has held committee positions within the SRB, the ASA, and the International Society of Andrology. Within SSR she has been a member of the nominations committee (2018-9), a member of the future meetings committee (2013-6) and a co-chair of the program organising committee (with Bo Rueda, 2018 meeting). She was a member of the ‘Biology of Reproduction’ board of reviewers between 2004-12. She has additionally served on the editorial board of journals including, Molecular Human Reproduction, Fertility and Sterility, PLoS Genetics and eLife. Between 2108-20 she was the President of SSR’s sister society, the Society for Reproductive Biology and a member of the World Congress of Reproductive Biology advisory committee.
In addition to roles related to reproductive biology and education, Dr O’Bryan has played a notable part in the promotion of sciences broadly including via positions as a national director of The Australian Society for Medical Research (2003-5), and as a member (and chair) of the Australian Academy of Science National Committee for Cell and Developmental Biology (2013-7). She is a past member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts (2017-20) and has served in numerous roles within the NHMRC. She has made significant contributions to the infrastructure of Australian research through the establishment of The Australian Phenome Bank and the Australian Centre for Vertebrate Mutation Detection, the Monash Male Infertility Repository and the Australian Phenomics Network.