Our group conducts research into innate immune system in the brain, in both health and disease, spanning embryonic neurodevelopment to adult neurodegeneration.

Therapeutic Modulation of Inflammation in Neurodegenerative Disease

The complement factors C3a and C5a are a potent inflammatory molecules. Inflammation is increasingly implicated in the progression of neurodegenerative disease. Our laboratory is investigating the effects of C3a and C5a in several models of neurodegenerative disease, including Huntington's disease, motor neuron disease, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease, by using specific C3a and C5a receptor therapeutics, and novel transgenic mice and tools developed by our group. Our goal is to develop new clinical drugs to treat these diseases.

Complement anaphylatoxin agonists and antagonists as pharmacological modulators of immunopathology

We are collaborating with local and international groups to develop and test novel drugs which target the inflammatory process induced by innate immune activation. We are also working closely with clinicians at the Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital, Brisbane, who focus on neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases, to help translate our knowledge into the clinic, for the benefit of patients.

Role of the innate immune complement system in the development of the brain

We have found for the first time that components of the innate immune system are essential for aspects of neural development. Specific inhibition of the complement system, combined with folate deficiency leads to drastic neural tube defects in mice. We are exploring the roles this system plays in the development of the brain, which will provide clues to what happens when things go wrong - and potential ways to combat this.

Lab head


Students interested in undertaking research higher degrees are encouraged to contact Dr Woodruff.

The following projects are available:

1. Therapeutic potential of targeting innate immune molecules in neurodegenerative disease.
2. Discovery and development of novel therapeutics targeting inflammatory diseases.

To donate to neuroinflammation research, click on the button below.

When choosing a giving destination, please select "Other", then specify: Neuroinflammation Research.


Find out more about our research environment and how to apply to do a short or long-term research project with us.