Coakley Group – Cellular mechanisms of neuroprotection

Our research focuses on how to build and maintain a nervous system for life. We use C. elegans as a model system because we can use sophisticated genetic, imaging and molecular approaches to study the cellular mechanisms of neuroprotection in exquisite detail.

Neurons are subjected to continuous strain, mostly due to body movement and their location within skin, muscles, organs, and joints. Excessive mechanical strain, or shear stress due to external or internal traumas, can trigger degeneration. Virtually every neuron, including those of the central nervous system, is susceptible to different types of strain insults and mechanical strain has been implicated in the progression of neurodegenerative disease. 

Our aim is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that protect against motion-induced injury in order to ensure that neurons maintain their correct structure and function throughout life.

To address these questions we use state-of-the-art in vivo microscopy, genome engineering, genetics and molecular and cell biology techniques. 

Positions are available at multiple levels to grow our team. If you are interested in joining our lab please contact Sean Coakley.

Maintenance of axonal integrity

Failure to maintain the integrity of the axon, the longest and most susceptible compartment of a neuron, results in compromised neuronal function, which is characteristic of both traumatic injury and neurodegenerative diseases. Virtually every neuron, including those of the central nervous system, is susceptible to different types of strain insults such as vascular accidents and trauma with excessive mechanical strain triggering axonal degeneration and the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that maintain axonal integrity is therefore essential for developing neuroprotective therapies for human disorders and injury.

Group Head

Staff

  • Mr Dat Le

    Senior Research Assistant
    School of Biomedical Sciences