Anderson laboratory: Neural proliferation and differentiation

Research Overview

Current interests are centred on understanding how proliferation and differentiation in the nervous system is regulated. Using the mouse sympathetic ganglion as a model, we are interested in how the various signalling pathways that impinge on developing sympathetic neurons and glia regulate the rate of growth. Grow is regulated at two levels, the first the rate of cell division and the second the rate at which cycling cells withdraw from the cell cycle. Surprisingly little is known about how these two factors are regulated in the nervous system. External mitogens, such as IGF or midkine appear to play a role, as do a range of survival factors such as GDNF and artemin. Cell intrinsic programs may also be important. We are also interested in how neural crest cells make the decision to become a neuron or a glial cell. While this choice is also required in the neural progenitors of the central nervous system, there are patterns of differentiation and proliferation that are unique to sympathetic ganglia that mean that these choices may be handled differently. Finally, among all the derivatives of neural crest cells, only sympathetic ganglia and the adrenal medulla give rise to neuroblastoma, the commonest solid tumour of children. Nothing is known about which aspect of their proliferative and differentiative behaviour makes sympathetic ganglia and adrenal medulla uniquely susceptible to the factors that generate neuroblastoma.

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Projects



Faculty Research Themes

Neuroscience, Cancer

School Research Themes

Neuroscience, Cancer, Cell Signalling



Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact A/Prof Colin Anderson

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Neuroscience