Northcott Neuroscience Laboratory

Lab head: A/Prof Marina Kennerson
Location: ANZAC Research Institute


Modelling inherited peripheral neuropathies in worms

Primary supervisor: Megan Brewer

The dying back of axons starting from their distal ends, a process known as axonal degeneration, is a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases. Patients with inherited peripheral neuropathy carry genetic mutations that cause their longest neurons to undergo axonal degeneration. The Northcott Neuroscience Laboratory is internationally recognised for its successful gene discovery program, which uses the latest methodologies to identify genetic mutations causing inherited peripheral neuropathy. Modelling these mutations is an important step for both understanding how these mutations cause disease and for finding ways to treat the disease.

Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is a popular model organism for studying axonal degeneration. C. elegans is a small (about 1 mm in length), transparent worm with a well-characterised nervous system (302 neurons in total). Since their bodies are transparent, we can easily visualise their internal organs, including the neuronal cell bodies and processes, by using fluorescent labels. This project will look at generating and analysing C. elegans strains carrying mutations that cause inherited peripheral neuropathy.

Discipline: Pathology
Co-supervisors: Marina Kennerson
Keywords: Animal Models of disease, Molecular biology, Neurodegenerative Diseases