Professor Rowe has worked clinically as a neurologist and academic whose research focuses on Parkinson’s disease and Motor Neurone Disease. He was the chairman of the Research Committee of Motor Neurone Disease Australia and is the co-author of four textbooks and more than thirty five original articles. Macquarie Neurology is the home of the Motor Neurone Disease Service at Macquarie University (MNDS@MU). This service manages the integrated care of approximately 10% of the MND patients in Australia, and provides expert diagnosis and management of all stages of MND.
Garth took up a position as Neurology Registrar at Concord and Prince Alfred Hospitals. In the early 1980s he established a molecular neurogenetic research laboratory as a NHMRC research fellow in the University of Sydney. Garth focused his research on hereditary diseases of nerves (the most common cause of neuropathy, and the most common group of disorders presenting to genetics clinics).
As a result of our innovative research we can now define and treat diseases which were previously undefined and untreatable.
Of his work, Garth says: I take pride in the fact that my research opened up the area of hereditary disorders of peripheral nerve leading to a rewriting of medical texts. My original use of molecular methods to locate gene mutations causing peripheral nerve diseases catalysed interest in the area and advances which have already lead to new treatments, and has now given rise to the possibility of drug therapies.
Professor Gilles Guillemin is internationally recognised as a leader in the fields of tryptophan, neuroinflammation and neurotoxicity research. Gilles is currently leading a team of 12 researchers studying the involvement of tryptophan (an essential amino acid) in MND such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Spinal muscular atrophy - (SMA). Gilles has a large network of national and international collaborations. Gilles’ team is focusing on identifying and developing new therapeutic targets for neuroinflammatory diseases.
Professor Roger Chung is an Australian Research Council Research Fellow and leads a research program that aims to understand why particular proteins are prone to aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases. These aggregated proteins interfere with the normal function of neurons, and the goal of this research is to identify treatments that prevent this process. This involves biochemical mapping of abnormal protein interactions, and evaluating how subtle changes in protein structure can trigger a disastrous series of events in neurons leading to their dysfunction and death. His team is also interested in understanding the role of non-neuronal cells in disease progression – these cells normally provide support for motor neurons, but appear to become toxic to neurons in MND.
Julie is internationally recognised as a leader in the role of cellular stress responses in MND. She is interested in the basic molecular and cellular mechanisms that trigger neurodegeneration in MND, particularly the disruption of cellular trafficking processes and the role of protein aggregation. Her research has opened up promising novel therapeutic targets which she is investigating further.
Associate Professor Ian Blair’s research career has focused on determining the molecular and cellular basis of a variety of neurological disorders including Motor Neurone Disease, ALS, hereditary sensory neuropathy (HSN), Charcot Marie Tooth disorder (CMT), the spinal cerebellar ataxias (SCA), Joubert syndrome, and bipolar disorder. At Macquarie University, Ian conceives, instigates and leads studies to unravel the molecular genetic and cellular basis of ALS/MND. In the past 5 years, his group has played a key role in several ALS gene discoveries worldwide. These discoveries have opened new chapters in ALS/MND research and produced publications in high-impact journals. His work has also led to the development of effective diagnostic tests for ALS, CMT1A and HSN1.
Dr Cole's research team is focused upon understanding and curing MND by generating zebrafish models of the disease. The fish models are created to understand how motor neurons die in MND patients. Zebrafish are an established research model organism that offers several advantages. In particular, zebrafish are transparent, allowing us to watch motor neurons degenerate in a living fish, providing a unique opportunity to visualise and understand MND as it actually happens. Several MND causing genes that produce incorrect proteins have been identified from MND patients. Incredibly, Nick is able to insert these human genes into zebrafish which makes them produce the same proteins. His team can then try to understand the mechanism that results in motor neurone degeneration in MND/ALS. The hope is to make a breakthrough that will lead to an effective treatment or cure.