Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience

Within: Brain and Mind Research Institute

Head of laboratory

Lab profile

The main area of research in this lab is aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the overexpression of a pivotal Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-related protein, BACE1. Elevated levels of BACE1 in AD brain leads to the generation of a small protein species that accumulate and destroys neurons. Understanding why BACE1 expression is increased in AD will help researchers focus their efforts on targeting the enzyme as a therapeutic avenue for treating AD.

Molecular Neuroscience Laboratory

Dr Holsinger’s lab is also investigating novel mechanisms to regulate disease causing genes and gene products. RNA interference (RNAi) is a recently identified phenomenon by which genes are regulated (down-regulated) within the human body (Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to the discoverers of RNAi in 2006). This lab utilises this RNAi method to investigate possible therapeutic avenues by regulating disease causing genes. Dr Holsinger’s team have recently achieved great success in downregulating the BACE1 gene using RNAi and are currently pursuing a clinical application of this target.

The lab is also investigating molecular interactions between various proteins that may contribute to disease pathways and/or prevent the occurance of pathological events. The identification and characterisation of these protein interactions will provide therapeutic leads for further investigation and application.

Research project opportunities

Supervised by Dr Damian Holsinger