Myelin in Health and Disease Group

Neurodegenerative diseases cause a gradual loss of neurons from the nervous system. Since neurons rely on myelin for proper function, could myelin play a key role in neurodegeneration? To investigate, our group uses stem cell and mouse models to study myelin changes during development and in other diseases.

Research interests

  • Myelin
  • Motor neurone disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

  • iPSC-derived disease modelling
  • 2D and 3D iPSC-derived cultures

About our research

Our group is primarily focused on understanding the role of myelin and myelin-producing cells, called oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells, in motor neurone disease (MND). We’re also interested in myelination in development in other diseases like multiple sclerosis.

We use induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to model myelin in health and disease using a combination of 2D and 3D cultures. We also use mouse models and human post-mortem tissue. Collectively, we use these models to assay myelin at a cell, and subcellular, level using a range of molecular and biochemical assays. Our goal is to identify the precise role that myelin plays in motor neurone disease. Our expertise with iPSC, and particularly our ability to differentiate them into complex organoid structures, also allows us to study myelin in development and in other disease contexts.

Research team

Research team head

Headshot_Samantha Barton

Dr Samantha Barton

Group Head

Team members

Research fellows

Research and technical staff

  • Aaron Andres
  • Joel Mason

PhD students

  • Stephanie Chua
  • Katherine Lewis
  • Lijun Loh
  • Francois-Xavier Beau
  • Sarah White



Selected publications

  • Sadler GL, Lewis KJ, Narayana VK, De DP, Mason JB, McLean C, Gonsalvez DG, Turner BJ and Barton S (2022), ‘Lipid metabolism is dysregulated in the motor cortex white matter in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Metabolites, 12(6):554–554,  doi:10.3390/metabo12060554
  • Barton S, Gregory JM, Selvaraj BT, McDade K, Henstridge CM, Spires-Jones TL, James OG, Mehta AR, Story DA, Burr K, Magnani D, Isaacs AM, Smith C and Chandran S (2021), ‘Dysregulation in subcellular localization of myelin basic protein mRNA does not result in altered myelination in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis’, Frontiers in Neuroscience, 15, doi:10.3389/fnins.2021.705306
  • Barton SK, Magnani D, James OG, Livesey MR, Selvaraj BT, James OT, Perkins EM, Gregory JM, Cleary E, Ausems CRM, Carter R, Vasistha NA, Zhao C, Burr K, Story D, Cardinali A, Morton NM, Hardingham GE, Wyllie DJA and Chandran S (2021), ‘TDP-43 proteinopathy in oligodendrocytes revealed using an induced pluripotent stem cell model’, Brain Communications, doi:10.1093/braincomms/fcab255

Contact us

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