Neurodegeneration and Neuropathology Group

Our research group focuses on research in Alzheimer’s disease and other related neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease, and age-related molecular degeneration. We have also been focusing on describing the natural history of Alzheimer’s disease as a necessary preparatory step for disease modifying therapies.

Research interests

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Age-related molecular degeneration
  • Neurodegeneration
Techniques

  • Mass spectrometry
  • Machine learning
  • Electron microscopy
  • Proteomics and fenomics
  • Diagnostics
  • Real-time quaking-induced conversion
  • Cell and molecular biology
  • Imaging (PET, MRI)

About our research

We aim to identify the specific conformer of the Aβ amyloid peptide which accumulates in Alzheimer’s disease brain. In both familial early onset Alzheimer’s disease (in which Aβ is over-produced) and in late onset sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (in which Aβ is poorly cleared from the brain), the same underlying process causes the synapses in the brain to degenerate. Based on this knowledge, we are able to seek imaging and other biomarkers in the CSF and blood and to discover suitable lead compounds that can target the Aβ oligomer itself.

Research team

Research team head

Headshot_Colin Masters

Professor Colin Masters

Laboratory head

Teams

Learning Team

Understanding the normal function of APP/Aβ in learning new tasks (Engram and Long-term potentiation)

Team leaders

  • Liang Jin
  • Paul Maruff
  • Brad Moffat

Key publication

Lim YY, Baker JE, Bruns L, Mills A, Fowler C, Fripp J, Rainey-Smith SR, Ames D, Masters CL, Maruff P, ‘Association of deficits in short-term learning and Aβ and hippocampal volume in cognitively normal adults’, Neurology 2020; 95: e2577-e2585 doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000010728.

Seed Amplification Assays (SAA) and Biofluid Biomarkers Team

Team leaders

  • Kevin Barnham
  • Steve Collins
  • Laura Vella

Supervisors

  • Professor Kevin Barnham
  • Professor Steve Collins
  • Associate Professor Qiao-Xin Li
  • Dr Laura Vella

Key publication

Nakamura A, Kaneko N, Villemagne VL, Kato T, Doecke J, Doré V, Fowler C, Li QX, Martins R, Rowe C, Tomita T, Matsuzaki K, Ishii K[enji], Ishii K[anzunari], Arahata Y, Iwamoto S, Ito K, Tanaka K, Masters CL, Yanagisawa K, ‘High performance plasma amyloid-β biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease’, Nature 2018; 554: 249-254.

The ApoE and Glia Team

Mechanisms of Aβ-clearance: investigating the role of ApoE, microglia, astrocytes, somatic mutations, innate/adaptative immunity, and lymphatics

Team leaders

  • Luke Miles
  • Ben Gu

Key publication

Burnham SC, Loi SM, Doecke J, Fedyashov V, Dore V, Villemagne VL, Masters CL, ‘The dawn of robust individualized risk models for dementia’, Lancet Neurol 2019; 18: 985-987.

The Aβ/tau and Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation (LLPS) Team

Understanding Aβ-tau interactions in neurodegeneration and the role of TDP43 with focus on liquid-liquid phase separations and biomolecular condensates

Team leaders

  • Victor Streltsov
  • Rebecca Nisbet

Key publication

Mukherjee S, Dubois C, Perez K, Varghese S, Birchall IE, Leckey M, Davydova N, McLean C, Nisbet RM, Roberts BR, Li Q-X, Masters CL, Streltsov VA, ‘Quantitative proteomics of tau and Aβ in detergent fractions from Alzheimer’s disease brains’, J Neurochem 2022; 164: 529-552.

Combination Therapies Team

Primary and secondary nucleation Aβ interactions; clinical trials; passive immunisation; primary and secondary prevention (A4)

Team leaders

  • Colin Masters
  • Chris Fowler

Key publication

Walia N, Eratne D, Loi SM, Farrand S, Li Q-X, Malpas CB, Varghese, Walterfang M, Evans AH, Parker S, Collins SJ, Masters CL, Velakoulis D, ‘Cerebrospinal fluid neurofilament light and cerebral atrophy in younger-onset dementia and primary psychiatric disorders’, Intern Med J 2022; doi: 10.1111/imj.15956.

Comorbidities Team

Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Vascular dementia (VaD)

Team leader

  • Steve Collins
  • Qiao-Xin Li
  • Yijun Pan

Supervisor

Professor Brad Turner

Key publication

Walia N, Eratne D, Loi SM, Farrand S, Li Q-X, Malpas CB, Varghese, Walterfang M, Evans AH, Parker S, Collins SJ, Masters CL, Velakoulis D, ‘Cerebrospinal fluid neurofilament light and cerebral atrophy in younger-onset dementia and primary psychiatric disorders’, Intern Med J 2022; doi: 10.1111/imj.15956.

Analytics Team

The role of machine-learning and artificial intelligence in neurodegeneration

Team leaders

  • Dr Benjamin Goudey
  • Rodrigo Canovas

Supervisor

Dr Benjamin Goudey

Key publication

Bashyam VM, Doshi J, Erus G, Srinivasan D, Abdulkadir A, Singh A, Habes M, Fan Y, Masters CL, Maruff P, Zhuo C, Völzke H, Johnson SC, Fripp J, Koutsouleris N, Satterthwaite TD, Wolf DH, Gur RE, Gur RC, Morris JC, Albert MS, Grabe HJ, Resnick SM, Bryan RN, Wittfeld K, Bülow R, Wolk DA, Shou H, Nasrallah IM, Davatzikos C, ‘The iSTAGING and PHENOM consortia. Deep generative medical image harmonization for improving cross-site generalization in deep learning predictors’, J Magn Reson Imaging 2022; 55: 908-916.

Clinical Trials Team

AIBL study

Supervisor: Professor Colin Masters

DIAN study

Supervisor: Professor Colin Masters

Key publication

Fowler C, Rainey-Smith SR, Bird S, Bomke J, Bourgeat P, Brown BM, Burnham SC, Bush AI, Chadunow C, Collins S, Doecke J, Doré V, Ellis KA, Evered L, Fazlollashi A, Fripp J, Gardener SL, Gibson S, Grenfell R, Harrison E, Head R, Jin L, Kamer A, Lamb F, Lautenschlager NT, Laws SM, Li QX,Lim L, Lim YY, Louey A, Macaulay SL, Mackintosh L, Martins RN, Maruff P, Masters CL, McBride S, Milicic L, Peretti M, Pertile K, Porter T, Radler M, Rembach A, Robertson J, Rodrigues M, Rowe CC, Rumble R, Salvado O, Savage G, Silbert B, Soh M, Sohrabi HR, Taddei K, Taddei T, Thai C, Trounson B, Tyrrell R, Vacher M, Varghese S, Villemagne VL, Weinborn M, Woodward M, Xia Y, Ames D, and the AIBL investigators, ‘Fifteen years of the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) study: progress and observations from 2359 older adults spanning the spectrum from cognitive normality to Alzheimer’s disease’, J Alzheimers Dis Rep 2021; 5: 443-468.

Team leaders

  • Professor Kevin Barnham (Head of the Neurotherapeutic Group)
  • Dr Rodrigo Canovas (Research Scientist)
  • Dr Benjamin Goudey (Research Fellow)
  • Dr Ben Gu (Head of the Innate Phagocytosis Group)
  • Dr Liang Jin (Senior Research Officer)
  • Professor Paul Maruff (Honorary Principal Fellow)
  • Professor Colin Masters (Head of the Neurodegeneration and Neuropathology Group)
  • Dr Bradford Moffat (Senior Research Fellow)
  • Dr Luke Miles (Senior Research Fellow)
  • Dr Rebecca Nisbet (Head of the Antibody Therapeutics Group)
  • Dr Yijun Pan (Senior Research Officer)
  • Dr Victor Streltsov (Senior Research Fellow)
  • Dr Laura Vella (Head of the Extracellular Vesicle Group)

Research fellows

  • Dr Laura Ellett (Research Officer)
  • Dr Xin Huang (Research Officer)
  • Dr Liang Jin (Senior Research Officer)
  • Dr Vijaya Kenche (Senior Research Fellow)
  • Dr Luke Miles (Senior Research Fellow)
  • Dr Yijun Pan (Senior Research Officer)
  • Dr Victor Streltsov (Senior Research Fellow)

Students

PhD students

  • Shu Liu
  • Martin Saint Jalmes
  • Xiyuan Zhang
  • Daniel Barber

Masters students

  • Hojoon Lim
  • Wenjie Peng
  • Chenyin Chu

Honours students

  • Clare Yiling Low

Contact us

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