Neurogenesis and Neural Transplantation Laboratory

Our laboratory is interested in the idea that stem cells can repair the damaged brain.

There are two broad strategies we are pursuing.

The first is neural transplantation. It is an approach that has had some success clinically for Parkinson’s disease and involves the transplantation of new neurons directly into the patient’s brain in order to functionally compensate for those lost to the disease. We are continuing to explore and optimise this as a therapeutic option not only for Parkinson’s disease but also for other neurological conditions such as stroke and motor neuron disease.

The second strategy is based on the idea that the brain retains some capacity for ‘self-repair’ through neurogenesis. Part of our research program seeks to characterise the brain’s own capacity to generate new neurons in response to injury and to manipulate this response in favour of therapeutic outcomes.

Neurogenesis

For a long time it was thought the adult brain lacked the capacity to generate new neurons. We now know that adult neurogeneis occurs in very restricted regions in the mammalian brain throughout life and may become comprimised in age-related neurological conditions. This has lead to the idea that neurogenesis can be manipulated to facilitate 'brain repair' after injury or stimulated to offset age-related cognitive decline.

 

Neural Transplantation

Our laboratory is pursuing a number of projects that seek to understand the capacity for neurons generated from human stem cells to structurally and functionally replace neuronal circuitry after intra-cerebral transplantation. This may lead to theapies that restore function to patients with neurological conditions arising from injury or brain disease.

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