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

Inflammation is increasingly implicated in the progression of neurodegenerative disease. The complement cascade and the inflammasomes are powerful innate immune systems that are key drivers of inflammation. Our laboratory is investigating the effects of complement and inflammasomes in several models of neurodegenerative disease, including motor neuron disease (MND or ALS), Huntington's disease, and Parkinson's disease, by using specific therapeutics developed by our team. We work closely with clinicians at Brisbane-based hospitals, who focus these conditions, to help translate our knowledge into the clinic for the benefit of patients. We are currently progressing one of our complement targeting drugs, PMX205, towards clinical trials for MND, in partnership with Alsonex Pharmaceuticals.

Complement anaphylatoxin agonists and antagonists as pharmacological modulators of immunopathology

We are collaborating with local and international medicinal chemists and immunologists to develop and test novel drugs which target the inflammatory process induced by innate immune activation. Our goal is to identify new clinical drugs targeting key effectors of complement activation, to treat a wide range of immunological diseases.

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

We have discovered that components of the innate immune system are essential for aspects of neural development. Specific inhibition of the complement system leads to neurodevelopmental 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.