Professor George Muscat

Professorial Research Fellow - GL

Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Affiliate Professor

School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
+61 7 334 62039


Research Interests

  • Nuclear hormone receptors and metabolic disease
    Nuclear hormone receptors (NRs) are proteins that translate endocrine, metabolic and pathophysiological signals into gene regulation. Our research utilises transgenic mouse models and focuses on understanding the molecular role of NRs (coregulators) and how they control metabolism in muscle, fat and the liver in the context of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Epidemiological evidence points to associations between metabolic disease and cancer. Along these lines, we collaboratively examine the molecular role of NRs in breast cancer. We also use mouse models and human cohort studies to gain insights into obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer, which we can then use to better understand human health and disease. In our breast cancer studies, we examined normal human breast tissue, estrogen receptor-positive and negative breast cancer cohorts and tissue adjacent to breast tumors. From this work, we identified NR targets for therapeutic exploitation, classification, and prognosis, and discovered epigenetic markers that could lead to metastasis-free survival for patients. We also investigated the role of NRs in obesity and type 2 diabetes. In these studies, we produced transgenic mouse lines with muscle-specific expression of an activated form of the nuclear receptor NOR1. We then demonstrated that NOR1 signalling controls skeletal muscle reprogramming, metabolic capacity, glucose tolerance, physical endurance, and resistance to diet-induced obesity and hepatic triglyceride accumulation. These findings were the first of their kind and were published as a cover article in the leading international journal, Molecular Endocrinology. Our future research will identify novel muscle-specific agonists targeting these NRs for therapeutic uses in obesity, type 2 diabetes and improving exercise capacity.


  • PhD, The University of Sydney
  • BSc(Hons), The University of Sydney


View all Publications


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Kee, A., Lucas, C., Szokolai, R., Yang, L., Martel, N., Leong, G., Muscat, G., Hughes, W., James, D., Gunning, P. and Hardeman, E. (2011). A novel actin filament class that regulates glucose uptake and GLUT4 trafficking. In: 2011 ASCB Annual Meeting abstracts. Annual Meeting of the American-Society-for-Cell-Biology (ASCB), Denver, CO, United States, (205.1-205.1). 3-7 December 2011.

  • Diaz, M, Martel, N, Fitzsimmons, R, Pearen, M, Muscat, GE and Leong, GM (2010). c-Ski Transgenic Mice Are Resistant to Diet-Induced Obesity.. In: ENDOCRINE REVIEWS. 92nd Meeting and Expo of the Endocrine Society (ENDO 2010), San Diego CA, (). JUN 19-22, 2010.

  • Fidalgo, J., Ovchinnikov, D., Fletcher, B., Muscat, G. and Cassady, A. I. (2008). Isoform-Specific Expression of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors (PPARs) and Gene Regulation during Osteoclastogenesis in RAW/C4 Cells.. In: Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 30th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-for-Bone-and-Mineral-Research, Montreal Canada, (S403-S403). Sep 12-16, 2008.

  • Waters, M. J., Rowlinson, S. W., Clarkson, R. W., Chen, C. -M., Lobie, P. E., Norstedt, G., Mertani, H., Morel, G.,, Brinkworth, R., Wells, C. A., Bastiras, S., Robins, A. R., Muscat, G. E. and Barnard, R. T. (1994). Signal transduction by the growth hormone receptor. In: Workshop on the Superfamily of Receptors for Growth Hormone, Prolactin, Erythropoietin, and Cytokines, Haifa, Israel, (216-220). 7-11 November 1993.

  • Waters, MJ, Lobie, PE, Garciaaragon, J, Rowlinson, SW, Gobius, KS, Bastiras, S, Robbins, AR, Zhang, CV, Young, WG, Muscat, GE and Barnard, R (1993). Structure, Location and Role of the Growth Hormone Receptor. In: Cowell, CT, Ho, KKY and Werther, GA, Growth and Sexual Development. Novo Nordisk International Conference on Growth, South Pacific Region, Sydney Australia, (3-28). Oct 25-27, 1992.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Completed Supervision