Cerebral Microvasculature and Inflammation Laboratory

Lab head: Karen Cullen
Location: Anderson Stuart Building, Camperdown Campus

The central hypothesis of the studies conducted by this laboratory is that capillary microhaemorrhages result in the classic neuropathology of Alzheimer's Disease. These microhaemorrhages (>200 µm) around capillaries coincide with ß-A plaques. They occur chronically and result in both acute neuronal death and slowly developing neurofibrillary degeneration. This hypothesis can account for the key disease features, including late age onset cardiovascular risk factors, progression of cognitive changes, cortical shrinkage, the inflammatory profile and the anatomy of neurodegeneration. Understanding the causes of microvascular breakdown and inflammatory sequelae are important in the early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Lab members: Karen M Cullen

Pathogenesis of motor neuron disease

Primary supervisor: Karen Cullen

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.

Discipline: Anatomy & Histology
Co-supervisors: Roger Stankovic
Keywords: Nervous system, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Neuroimmunology