Head of Laboratory

Marc J. Ruitenberg, PhD GCHEd


Office: Otto Hirschfeld building (81), room 526 

Laboratory: Otto Hirschfeld building (81), room 528

Current Members of the Laboratory

  • Faith Brennan (PhD student)
  • Patrick Biggins (PhD student)
  • Adam Scott (Honours student)
  • Wong Jung (Honours student)
  • Michael Morton (Honours student)
  • William Scalia (Honours student)
  • Marietta Uys (Laboratory Manager; casual)


Dr. Marc Ruitenberg received his research training at The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and was awarded a PhD from the VU University Amsterdam in 2003. Following the completion of his PhD, he moved to Australia to join the Neurotrauma Research Program at The University of Western Australia. He was then recruited to The University of Queensland in 2009 where he is now a Senior Lecturer in Neuroanatomy & Neuroscience within the School of Biomedical Sciences, and also heads the Laboratory for Neural Injury and Repair here.

A key focus of Dr. Ruitenberg's research is to better understand the inflammatory pathology that is associated with acquired central nervous system (CNS) injury, in particular traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). The ultimate goal of his research is to develop new and effective immune-modulatory treatments to improve recovery of neurotrauma patients. Dr. Ruitenberg's laboratory has also been instrumental in the implementation of in vivo imaging techniques to non-invasively study SCI pathology and the efficacy of therapeutic interventions in a clinically relevant way. He was awarded a Career Development Fellowship from SpinalCure Australia in 2012 to support his work. 

Publications 2009 to 2014


Low PC, Manzanero S, Mohannak N, Narayana VK, Nguyen TH, Kvaskoff D, Brennan FH, Ruitenberg MJ, Gelderblom M, Magnus T, Kim HA, Broughton BR, Sobey CG, Vanhaesebroeck B, Stow JL, Arumugam TV, Meunier FA (2014). PI3Kδ inhibition reduces TNF secretion and neuroinflammation in a mouse cerebral stroke model. Nature Communications 5: 3450.

Mohammad MG, Tsai VW, Ruitenberg MJ, Hassanpour M, Li H, Hart PH, Breit SN, Sawchenko PE, Brown DA (2014). Immune cell trafficking from the brain maintains CNS immune tolerance. Journal of Clinical Investigation 124: 1228-41.


Schmid AB, Coppieters MW, Ruitenberg MJ, McLachlan EM (2013). Local and remote immune-mediated inflammation after mild peripheral nerve compression in rats. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 72: 662-80.

Brennan FH, Cowin GJ, Kurniawan ND, Ruitenberg MJ (2013). Longitudinal assessment of white matter pathology in the injured mouse spinal cord through ultra-high field (16.4 T) in vivo diffusion tensor imaging. NeuroImage 82: 574-85.

Wu MC, Brennan FH, Lynch JP, Mantovani S, Phipps S, Wetsel RA, Ruitenberg MJ, Taylor SM, Woodruff TM (2013). The receptor for complement component C3a mediates protection from intestinal ischemia-reperfusion injuries by inhibiting neutrophil mobilization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110: 9439-44.

Blomster LV, Brennan FH, Lao HW, Harle DW, Harvey AR, Ruitenberg MJ (2013). Mobilisation of the splenic monocyte reservoir and peripheral CX₃CR1 deficiency adversely affects recovery from spinal cord injury. Experimental Neurology 247: 226-40

Vukovic J, Borlikova GG, Ruitenberg MJ, Robinson GJ, Sullivan RK, Walker TL, Bartlett PF (2013). Immature doublecortin-positive hippocampal neurons are important for learning but not for remembering. The Journal of Neuroscience 33: 6603-13.

Spanevello MD, Tajouri SI, Mirciov C, Kurniawan N, Pearse MJ, Fabri LJ, Owczarek CM, Hardy MP, Bradford RA, Ramunno ML, Turnley AM, Ruitenberg MJ, Boyd AW, Bartlett PF (2013). Acute delivery of EphA4-Fc improves functional recovery after contusive spinal cord injury in rats. Journal of Neurotrauma 30:1023-34.

Harrison M, O'Brien A, Adams L, Cowin G, Ruitenberg MJ, Sengul G, Watson C (2013). Vertebral landmarks for the identification of spinal cord segments in the mouse. NeuroImage 68: 22-9.

Blomster LV, Cowin GJ, Kurniawan ND, Ruitenberg MJ (2013). Detection of endogenous iron deposits in the injured mouse spinal cord through high-resolution ex vivo and in vivo MRI. NMR in Biomedicine 26: 141-50.


Mohammad MG, Hassanpour M, Tsai VW, Li H, Ruitenberg MJ, Booth DW, Serrats J, Hart PH, Symonds GP, Sawchenko PE, Breit SN, Brown DA (2012). Dendritic cells and multiple sclerosis: disease, tolerance and therapy. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 14: 547-62.

Brennan FH, Anderson AJ, Taylor SM, Woodruff TM, Ruitenberg MJ (2012) Complement activation in the injured central nervous system: another dual-edged sword? Journal of Neuroinflammation 9: 137.

Etemad S, Zamin RM, Ruitenberg MJ, Filgueira L (2012). A novel in vitro human microglia model: characterization of human monocyte-derived microglia. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 209: 79-89.

Rupasinghe DB, Knapp O, Blomster LV, Schmid AB, Adams DJ, King GF, Ruitenberg MJ (2012). Localization of Nav 1.7 in the normal and injured rodent olfactory system indicates a critical role in olfaction, pheromone sensing and immune function. Channels 6: 103-10.

Vukovic J, Colditz MJ, Blackmore DG, Ruitenberg MJ, Bartlett PF (2012). Microglia modulate hippocampal neural precursor activity in response to exercise and aging. The Journal of Neuroscience 32: 6435-43.

Chinnery HR, McLenachan S, Humphries T, Kezic JM, Chen X, Ruitenberg MJ, McMenamin PG (2012). Accumulation of murine subretinal macrophages: effects of age, pigmentation and CX3CR1. Neurobiology of Aging 33: 1769-76.


Blomster LV, Vukovic J, Hendrickx DA, Jung S, Harvey AR, Filgueira L, Ruitenberg MJ (2011). CX₃CR1 deficiency exacerbates neuronal loss and impairs early regenerative responses in the target-ablated olfactory epithelium. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 48: 236-45.

Belavy D, Ruitenberg MJ, Brijball RB (2011). Feasibility study of real-time three-/four-dimensional ultrasound for epidural catheter insertion. British Journal of Anaesthesia 107: 438-45.

Roet KC, Bossers K, Franssen EH, Ruitenberg MJ, Verhaagen J (2011).

A meta-analysis of microarray-based gene expression studies of olfactory bulb-derived olfactory ensheathing cells. Experimental Neurology 229: 10-45.


Chinnery HR, Ruitenberg MJ, McMenamin PG. Novel characterization of monocyte-derived cell populations in the meninges and choroid plexus and their rates of replenishment in bone marrow chimeric mice. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 69: 896-909.

Vukovic J, Blomster LV, Chinnery HR, Weninger W, Jung S, McMenamin PG, Ruitenberg MJ (2010). Bone marrow chimeric mice reveal a role for CX₃CR1 in maintenance of the monocyte-derived cell population in the olfactory neuroepithelium. Journal of Leukocyte Biology 88: 645-54.


Vukovic J, Marmorstein LY, McLaughlin PJ, Sasaki T, Plant GW, Harvey AR, Ruitenberg MJ (2009). Lack of fibulin-3 alters regenerative tissue responses in the primary olfactory pathway. Matrix Biology 28: 406-15.

Hellström M, Ruitenberg MJ, Pollett MA, Ehlert EM, Twisk J, Verhaagen J, Harvey AR (2009). Cellular tropism and transduction properties of seven adeno-associated viral vector serotypes in adult retina after intravitreal injection. Gene Therapy 16: 521-32.

Research Support

SpinalCure Australia

National Health & Medical Research Council (Project Grant)


Queensland Brain Institute (http://www.qbi.uq.edu.au)

Diamantina Health Partners, Integrated Trauma and Recovery (http://www.diamantina.org.au/our-themes/integrated-trauma-and-recovery


SpinalCure Australia