Professor Clare Parish
BBiomed Sci, PhD
Professor Clare Parish heads the Stem Cells and Neural Development Group. She is an interdisciplinary researcher recognised for her contributions to the fields of stem cell biology, neural engineering and brain repair. She continues to identify novel genes in human neural development, establish advanced protocols for controlling the fate of human pluripotent stem cells into restricted neuronal populations, model development and disease using stem cells and identify strategies to improve the safety and functionality of neural transplants targeted for brain repair. While her research career has focused on Parkinson’s disease, in more recent years her skills and knowledge have provided parallel insight into examining the potential of stem cells to model and treat other neurological conditions including stroke, MND and Huntington’s Disease. Adopting interdisciplinary approaches, Clare’s work leads the way in engineering and utilising biomaterials to support neural-derived grafts to enhance brain repair.
Clare obtained her PhD from Monash and subsequently spent five years training in human stem cell biology at the Karolinska Institute (Sweden). She joined The Florey in 2007, establishing an independent research group in 2009. She has been the recipient of numerous fellowships inclusive of the NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship, Human Frontiers Fellowship, NHMRC Career Development Fellowship, Viertel Senior Medical Fellowship and currently holds an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship. Her lab is presently nationally funded by the NHMRC and ARC and receives international support from the Michael J Fox Foundation and Aligning Science Across Parkinsons as well as a number of philanthropic grants.
The Stem Cells and Neural Development Group has a broad interest in repairing the injured brain and places a strong emphasis on understanding neural development, with the idea that repairing the injured brain will require a recapitulation of these early developmental events. The team additionally adopts patient stem cells to develop advanced models of human neurodegenerative diseases. These models will aid in drug screening and development for the treatment of neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and MND.
There are a number of major research themes running within the laboratory, including:
- Improving our understanding of human neural development.
- Establishing new protocols to generate defined neural populations from human pluripotent stem cells.
- Advancing stem cell transplantation for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and stroke.
- Bioengineering scaffolds to support neural transplant in brain repair.
- Modelling human neurodegenerative diseases (including Parkinson’s disease, motor neuron disease and Huntington’s disease) using patient-derived stem cells.
Research within the group primarily focuses on the development of midbrain dopamine neurons and their transplantation into models of Parkinson’s disease to study disease mechanisms and repair, yet also branches into the generation of other neuronal populations for grafting into various disease models including stroke, motor neuron disease and Huntington’s Disease.
- Professor Lachlan Thompson
- Professor David Nisbet – University of Melbourne
- Glenda Halliday –University of Sydney
- Professor Colin Pouton – Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Melbourne
- Professor Andras Nagy – Lunenfeldt Institute, University of Toronto, Canada
- Professor Deniz Kirik –Lund University, Sweden
- Deputy Director of Science, The Florey
- Executive Lead, Neuro Protect and Repair Mission, The Florey
- Head, Stem Cells and Neural Development Group, The Florey
- Editor, British Journal of Pharmacology
- Editor of Cell Death & Disease
- Co-president of the Asia-Pacific Association for Neural Transplantation and Repair
- Lead, Stem Cells working group for ‘Aligning Science Across Parkinsonism (ASAP/Michael J Fox Foundation)
- Treasurer for the Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research
- Regenerative Medicine theme leader for Stem Cells Australia
- Several of Professor Clare Parish’s publications appear in field-leading journals including Cell Stem Cell, Cell Reports, Nature Communications, Journal of Neuroscience and Stem Cell Reports, and Advanced Functional Materials
Awards and achievements
- 2011 – Viertal Foundation Senior Research Fellowship
- 2017 – Bulbring Award (British Pharmacological Society)
- 2019 – NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship
- 2021 – Lawrie Austin Award (Australasian Society for Neuroscience)
- 2022 – Nina Kondolos Award for the top female neuroscientist (Australasian Society for Neuroscience)