Research directions

We use the cortex, cerebellum and spinal cord of the developing and adult mouse as model systems to elucidate the biology of neural stem cells within the brain. Ultimately, we hope to define the genes that drive the differentiation of neural progenitor cells into either neurons or glia, work that will provide insights into neurodevelopmental disorders, ageing and cancer. Dr. Piper currently has funding from the  ARC (Discovery Project grant; 2016-2018) to investigate how neural stem cell quiescence in the adult brain is co-ordinated. This work will provide pivotal insights into how ongoing neurogenesis in the adult brain is regulated, and the behavioural consequences of deficits to this process. Dr. Piper also holds another grant from the ARC (Discovery Project grant; 2018-2020) to study the molecular determinants governing how neural stem cells proliferate sufficiently to generate a brain of the correct size. In addition to this, he holds a CIB grant from the NHMRC in association with A/Prof Helen Cooper (QBI) to study how abnormal ependymal cell development contributes to hydrocephalus, as well as seed funding from the Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre to study the malignant invasion of certain types of brain cancer. Finally, Dr. Piper is studying how abnormal neural stem cell differentiation may contribute to autism, work that is funded by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (USA).  Collectively, we envisage that this research will provide important insights into both the control of neural stem cell differentiation within the developing brain, and the consequences of aberrant neural stem cell biology with regards to disease progression.


Current collaborations

  • Professor Linda Richards - Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland
  • Assoc. Prof. Thomas Burne - Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland
  • Professor Richard Gronostajski - Department of Biochemistry, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Professor Francois Guillemot - Division of Molecular Neurobiology, National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, UK
  • Assoc Prof. Mikael Boden - School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
  • Dr Aaron Smith, QUT


Dr Michael Piper
NHMRC Research Fellow
Queensland Brain Institute and the School of Biomedical Sciences
The University of Queensland
Brisbane Qld 4072
Tel: (+61 7) 3365 4484