Presynaptic Physiology Group

Our group research the role of pre-synaptic proteins in neuronal communication in the healthy and diseased state, with a particular focus on neurodevelopmental disorders like intellectual disability, and neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

Research interests

  • Neurodevelopmental disorders – intellectual disability, epilepsy, autism
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Genetic variants
  • Synapses, neurotransmission, protein function

  • Live-cell fluorescence imaging
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Primary neuronal cell culture
  • Biochemistry and molecular biology – cloning, site-directed mutagenesis, proteomics

About our research

The reliable and efficient release of neurotransmitters is essential to neuronal communication. Tight regulation of this process is achieved by an intricate and complex array of protein machinery at synapses.

Malfunction of this machinery results in defective neurotransmission and is implicated in the pathogenesis of a variety of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.

Our lab focuses on exploring the proteins that regulate synaptic function, and how dysfunction of these proteins (eg. through genetic variants) lead to a spectrum of distinct neurological disorders.

Research team

Research team head

Headshot_Sarah Gordon

Dr Sarah Gordon

Group Head

Team members

PhD students

  • Elyas Arvell
  • Holly Melland
  • Paul Park

Masters students

  • James Carroll
  • Joshua Saito

Honours students

  • Nadia Saraya

Selected publications

  • Melland H, Bumbak F, Kolesnik-Taylor A, Ng-Cordell E, John A, Constantinou P, Joss S, Larsen M, Fagerberg C, Laulund LW, Thies J, Emslie F, Willemsen M, Kleefstra T, Pfundt R, Barrick R, Chang R, Loong L, Alfadhel M and Smagt J van der (2022), ‘Expanding the genotype and phenotype spectrum of SYT1-associated neurodevelopmental disorder’, Genetics in Medicine, 24(4):880–893, doi:10.1016/j.gim.2021.12.002
  • ‌Luo JK, Melland H, Nithianantharajah J and Gordon SL (2021), ‘Postsynaptic neuroligin-1 mediates presynaptic endocytosis during neuronal activity’, Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 14:744845, doi:10.3389/fnmol.2021.744845
  • Melland H, Carr EM and Gordon SL (2020), ‘Disorders of synaptic vesicle fusion machinery’, Journal of Neurochemistry, 157(2):130–164, doi:10.1111/jnc.15181

Contact us

For more information about our group’s research you can contact us by submitting this form.

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please enter a valid phone number
Please enter a correct email address
Please provide information regarding your enquiry