Dr Nefzger is currently a group leader in the Division of Cell Biology and and Molecular Medicine at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. He has published in numerous academic journals including 10 first and 6 corresponding author publications in renowned journals like Nature Methods, Cell Reports, Cell Stem Cells, Stem Cell Reports, Stem Cells and Stem Cell Research. Middle author publications in journals include Cell, Nature Immunology, Nature Genetics, Cell Stem Cells, Molecular Cell, Nature Communications, Immunity, EMBO Journal, eLIFE and Stem Cells.

While essentially all cells in our bodies share the same genome, different gene sets are active in each cell type. A breakthrough for regenerative medicine was the discovery that somatic cells can be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs, 2016). iPSCs can give rise to any cell type of the body and as such hold tremendous potential for drug screening and personalised cell replacement therapies. However, a lack of basic knowledge about reprogramming and its differentiation process have hampered clinical translation for patients. Dr Nefzger’s research helped shape the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms underpinning cellular reprogramming, thereby revealing strategies that make the process more efficient (Nefzger et al. Cell Reports, 2017, Liu and Nefzger et al. Nat Methods 2017, Knaupp et al, CSC 2017, Polo et al., Cell 2012). Furthermore, he established novel guided cell fate transitions using transcription factors (Liu and Nefzger et al. Nat Methods 2017, Rackham et al., Nat Genetics 2016, Nefzger et al. Stem Cells 2011, Nefzger et al. Stem Cells, 2012). He has received research funding from the NHMRC, Monash University (e.g. in the form of strategic grant scheme awards: ECP009, ECD0200, SGS17-0696) and the University of Queensland.

Significance, innovation and international reach of his work is evidenced by 30 papers with >1440 citations cross 51 countries and 6 subject fields. Media uptake, nationally and internationally (e.g. Scimex, ScienceDaily, EurekaAlert for Nefzger et al., Cell Reports, 2017 & Liu and Nefzger et al., Nature Methods, 2017), demonstrates broad public outreach of his work. Recognition is reflected by presentations at prestigious conferences, including the leading national & international stem cell meetings, ASSCR and ISSCR, respectively, precipitating award for best ERC presentation at the 2016 ASSCR meeting. Dr Nefzger has also presented at renowned field-spanning conferences like ComBio 2016 and the Cell Press Symposium on Aging and Metabolism 2018. 

Dr Nefzger is very passionate and actively involvement in setting-up and maintaining state of the art technology platforms. As such he is co-director of the Queensland Facility of Advanced Genome Editing (QFAGE - formerly affiliated with the Genome Innovation Hub), offering CRISPR/Cas9-based services for the generation of genetically modified mice and cell lines. His past work was leveraged to help establish the Fluidigm Single Cell Centre of Excellence at the Monash Health Translational Precinct as a service hub for the local scientific community. Dr Nefzger was part of Monash University’s FlowCore (cell sorting facility) review panel to instigate new user policies and help decide on the procurement of new equipment. Furthermore, he is supporting an initiative lead by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Infrastructure (UQ) with the aim of establishing a centralised flow cytometry facility at the St Lucia campus.

Dr Nefzger has mentored 29 students and is currently main supervisor of two Master’s students at UQ (Ying Yang, Quijie Zhu) and co-supervisor of 3 PhD students (Ming Tran, UQ; Xiaodong Liu, Monash University; Eva Chan, Monash University). His students and former staff have received awards, including the Carmela and Carmelo Ridolfo Prize in Stem Cell Research (Jaber Firas and Xiadong Liu), and have orally presented their work at numerous conferences including the 2018 and 2019 ISSCR meetings (Joseph Chen; Xiaodong Liu). Dr Nefzger is a frequent member of Research High Degree (RHD) Student Confirmation Committees to assess progression of RHD students (e.g. Ziyi Huang, Monash University; Enakshi Sinnia, UQ). He is also actively engaged in communications with the general public. In 2013, 2015 and 2017 he provided five-day supervised lab experience for groups of three year-11 students (Sir John Monash high school). In 2015 he mentored a year-12 student (Gregory Goldstein, Sir John Monash high school) as part of a support program for high achieving students.

Dr Nefzger has lectured as part of the Monash University's BMS3031 Masterclass (Stem Cells, Development and Commercialization) and covered cell fate conversion at the Monash Medical Centre (MCR 5100 course) 2016-2019. To help promote ageing research he organised and chaired the successful UQ Biology of Ageing symposium (2019), showcasing prominent international speaker and local researchers.