Oxidation Biology Group

Our group is focused on studying the pathways that cause different neurodegenerative diseases, especially those pathways where metal ions like zinc, copper, and iron interact with important proteins. We’ve discovered many ways in which these metals contribute to the oxidative stress that can lead to these diseases. Our studies have given us new ideas for potential drugs that could be used to treat conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

Research interests

  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Niemann Pick disease type C
  • mRNA gene therapy

  • Elementomic mass spectrometry

Metals are essential for the chemistry of life. Our group has generated many pioneering insights on the impact that metals have in health and in diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Niemann-Pick Disease Type C, schizophrenia and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Professor Ashley Bush, Head of Oxidation Biology Group

About our research

Our research is currently focused on three main areas:

  1. Blood testing to predict and distinguish between different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. We are working with the Australian Imaging Biomarker and Lifestyle Study and Scott Ayton’s Centre of Research Excellence for Extending Dementia Diagnostics to get this test approved for clinical use in Australia.
  2. Understanding why metals like iron and copper become unbalanced in the brain during neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. We hope to use this knowledge to find new treatments for these conditions.
  3. Developing mRNA therapy for genetic childhood dementias, starting with Niemann-Pick Disease Type C, a form of incurable childhood dementia.

Research team

Research team head

Team members

Dr Ya Hui Hung

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Carlos Opazo Martinez

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Zhiguang Xiao

Senior Research Fellow

Research and technical staff

  • Emilio Werden
  • Celeste Mawal
  • Wenjing Sun

PhD students

  • Andrew Gleason
  • Liouba Le Roux
  • Mahi Mhatre

Masters students

  • Kaida Wu
  • Manroshan Dhillon
  • Jessica Zhang

Selected publications

  • Ayton S, Portbury S, Kalinowski P, Agarwal P, Diouf I, Schneider JA, Morris MC and Bush AI (2021), ‘Regional brain iron associated with deterioration in Alzheimer’s disease: a large cohort study and theoretical significance’ Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 17(7):1244–1256, doi:10.1002/alz.12282
  • Greenough MA, Lane DJR, Balez R, Anastacio HTD, Zeng Z, Ganio K, McDevitt CA, Acevedo K, Belaidi AA, Koistinaho J, Ooi L, Ayton S and Bush AI (2022), ‘Selective ferroptosis vulnerability due to familial Alzheimer’s disease presenilin mutations’, Cell Death & Differentiation, (11):2123–2136, doi:10.1038/s41418-022-01003-1
  • Furtado D, Cortez-Jugo C, Hung YH, Bush AI and Caruso F (2022), ‘mRNA treatment rescues Niemann–Pick disease type C1 in patient fibroblasts’, Molecular Pharmaceutics, 19(11):3987–3999, doi:10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.2c00463
  • Ayton S, Janelidze S, Kalinowski P, Palmqvist S, Belaidi AA, Stomrud E, Roberts A, Roberts B, Hansson O and Bush AI (2022), ‘CSF ferritin in the clinicopathological progression of Alzheimer’s disease and associations with APOE and inflammation biomarkers’, Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 94(3):211–219, doi:10.1136/jnnp-2022-330052
  • Lotan A, Luza S, Opazo CM, Ayton S, Lane DJR, Mancuso S, Pereira A, Sundram S, Weickert CS, Bousman CA, Pantelis C, Everall IP and Bush AI (2023), ‘Perturbed iron biology in the prefrontal cortex of people with schizophrenia’, Molecular Psychiatry, 28(5):2058–2070, doi:10.1038/s41380-023-01979-3

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