Neurodegenerative diseases

Led by Dr Ross O'Shea, the mechanisms underlying neuronal death in neurodegenerative diseases (such as Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease) and the role of non-neuronal cells in protecting against this neuronal death. Astrocytes, the most abundant cell type in the brain, have the capacity to alter neuronal behaviour and survival, but the signals regulating this "cytototrophic" activity is not yet known.

 Key projects include:

  1. Bioengineering 3D astrocytes to reveal neurotherapeutic targets (collaboration with Prof Phil Beart, Florey Institute)
  2. Effects of stress on astrocytic morphology and function (collaboration with Dr Matthew Hale, Department of Psychology, La Trobe University and Dr Rohan Walker, Hunter Medical Research Institute, University of Newcastle)