Microvascular pathology in Alzheimer's disease

The major focus of the laboratory is on the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). AD is the most common form of dementia, and its prevalence is increasing as the population ages. The key lesion in the disease is breakdown of the cerebral microvasculature.

Our work studies normal and diseased microvasculature and the relationship of damaged vessels to neurodegeneration. We also examine the processes of inflammation around damaged vessels.

An example of the types of projects we work on: Immunohistochemical study of the microvasculature and inflammation in AD brain tissue. This project involves the mapping of capillary damage and the sequence of inflammatory events from fresh microhaemorrhage to scar formation.

Pathogenesis of motor neuron disease

Motor neuron disease is a fatal neuromuscular disease for which there is no cure. Our laboratory is currently looking at the mechanisms involved in motor neuron degeneration. Some aspects of this research involve the use of human tissue and various mouse models of the disease.

We are specifically interested in inflammation, cytoskeletal abnormalities and certain stress-induced proteins (such as metallothionein) that are involved in the pathogenesis of the disease.

Research techniques involved include immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, morphometric analysis, confocal imaging, laser capture microdissection and transmission electron microscopy.

Chronological development of cytoskeletal abnormalities in Alzheimer's disease

This project investigates the development of cytoskeletal lesions in the Alzheimer's Disease brain. Postmortem brain tissue from well-characterised Alzheimer's Disease cases with very early stage to late stage degeneration will be used to determine the progression of cytoskeletal abnormalities from early to late-stage disease.

Results will be validated using a primary neuronal cell culture model. Techniques will include immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy and electron microscopy.