Neurobiology > About The Laboratory
The Northcott Neuroscience Laboratory, headed by Professor Garth Nicholson is internationally renowned in the field of molecular genetics of human hereditary neuropathies. Under the research leadership of Associate Professor Marina Kennerson, the group has continued to make important contributions to finding gene mutations causing neurodegeneration of peripheral nerve and motor neurons. The identification and characterisation of these genes is furthering our understanding of the mechanisms causing degenerative nerve disease.
Our overall research aims to discover new genes and to understand the underlying pathogenic biology causing inherited peripheral neuropathies such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. Our research has an exemplary international record in the discovery of CMT genes and continues to identify genes responsible for several neuromuscular disorders. Our group has expertise in genetic linkage mapping, bioinformatics, next generation sequencing (NGS) and has expanded to translational genomics in which the use of patient derived induced pluripotent stem cell motor neurons (iPSC-MN) and animal models (C. elegans and mice) have been integrated into the research program.
Our understanding of the genetics behind CMT will enable us to develop treatments and therapeutic intervention to stop the progression of such neurodegenerative disorders. Our research program aims to promote new knowledge for diagnosis and treatment of degenerative nerve disease in an engaging training/mentorship environment for students and career scientists.
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Micrograph of an adult day 1 C. elegans imaged under bright field light (left) and fluorescent light (right). C. elegans are small, round, transparent nematodes. The strain we use expresses a green fluorescent protein in their motor neurons than enables us to visualise their motor neuron cell bodies and axons (shown in green).