Murray & Xiao laboratory: Neurotrophin and myelin
Joint Heads of LaboratoryDr Simon Murray & Dr Junhua Xiao
T: +61 3 8344 5813, +61 3 9035 9759 (JX)
Location: E716, E641 (JX)
Myelin is the insulating sheath wrapping around many axons in both the peripheral (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS). Schwann cells in the PNS and oligodendrocytes in the CNS produce myelin, which provides not only electrical insulation to axons, but also metabolic support to neurons.
Human demyelinating diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), have a devastating impact on quality of life. It is the failure of the nervous system to repair myelin after a demyelinating insult that leads to disease progression and increasing disability. In addition, myelin damage is a common pathological feature of many neurodegenerateive diseases. However, there is currently an incomplete understanding of the molecular and cellular events that initiate, promote and maintain the interactions between neurons and glial cells that are vital for myelination in both the PNS and CNS. Our laboratory is particularly interested in understanding the molecular cues that are vital for myelination during development, and myelin repair after injury as well as developing new therapeutics for promoting repair after myelin injury. We use a variety of molecular, cellular, biochemical, genetic and confocal imaging techniques in combination with behavioural analyses and animal models of demyelinating disease to investigate these events.
Simon Murray is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, and jointly heads the Neurotrophin and Myelin Laboratory with Dr Junhua Xiao. Dr. Murray graduated as a Physiotherapist in 1992, worked for several years before returning to study and graduating with his PhD in 2000. He spent 3 years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Skirball Institute at the New York School of Medicine, before returning to Australia to work at the Florey Neuroscience Institutes in the Multiple Sclerosis Research Division. He moved his laboratory to the Centre for Neuroscience in 2005, and joined the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience in 2010. His scientific training is in the molecular and cellular biology of neurotrophin signalling, and is applying this to the analysis of myelination, and how neurotrophin-based strategies could be developed to promote remyelination in the context of demyelinating disease such as Multiple Sclerosis. Find an Expert.
Dr Junhua Xiao is a Lecturer in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience and jointly heads the Laboratory of Neurotrophin and Myelin with Dr Simon Murray. Dr Xiao graduated with Bachelor of Medicine from Nanjing Medical University (China) in 2000, undertook postgraduate studies in the field of autonomic nervous system function at The University of Melbourne, and was awarded her Doctor of Philosophy in 2005. She undertook her postdoctoral training investigating myelin biology at the Centre for Neuroscience. In 2013, she joined the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience as a Lecturer and laboratory head. Dr Xiao has been the recipient of NH&MRC/MS Research Australia Betty Cuthbert Fellowship (2007), Society for Neuroscience (USA) Postdoctoral Chapter Travel Award (2009), Asia Pacific Society of Neuroscience Young Investigator Award (2010) and ARC Discovery Early Career Research award (2012). Her research primarily focuses on understanding how myelination is orchestrated in health and how myelin repair is perturbed in diseases. Find an Expert. Email Junhua Xiao.
Current Staff and Students
Dr Simon Murray, Senior Lecturer and joint head of Laboratory
Dr Junhua Xiao, Lecturer and joint head of Laboratory
David Gonsalves, NHMRC Early Career Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr Jessica Fletcher, MSRA Postdoctoral Fellow
Rhiannon Wood, Research Assistant
Melissa Biemond, Research Assistant
Alistair Cole, PhD student
Fatemeh Daemi, PhD student
Madeline Nicolson, PhD student
Huynh Nguyen, Master student
Sangwon Yoo, Honours student
Georgina Craig, Honours student
Emma Hoffmann, MD project student
Christine Jun, BIOM30003 year research student
Melanie Willingham, PhD student (2006-2010)
Agnes Wong, PhD student (2009-2013)
Anita Ferner, PhD student (2011-2015)
Haley Peckham, PhD student (2012-2016)
Laura Kirby, Honours student (2010)
Alexa Prawdiuk, Honours student (2016)
Jonathan Vu, Honours student (2016)
Hillary White, BIOM30003 research student (2014)
David Homewood, BIOM30003 research student (2015)
Jacqueline Nguyen, BIOM30003 research student (2015)
Sangwon Yoo, BIOM30003 research student (2016)
Georgina Craig, BIOM30003 research student (2016)
Eleanor Norman, BIOM30003 research student (2017)
Mithraka De Silva, MD project student (2016)
Past Honours students co-supervised with collaborators
Phillip Barnard (2012, Dept. Pharmacology & Therapeutics/UoM)
Wee Vien Seah (2013, Dept. Pharmacology & Therapeutics/UoM)
Richard Cassar (2015, Dept. Pharmacology & Therapeutics/UoM)
Daniel Marie (2016, The School of BioSciences/UoM)
Istafa Raza (2016, Monash University)
NHMRC Project Grant: 'Novel strategies to promote myelin repair in the brain'
NHMRC Project Grant: 'Developing a new strategy for treating peripheral demyelinating neuropathy'
MS Research Australia Project Grant: 'Novel neurotrophin-based strategies to promote remyelination in the brain'
CASS Foundation Research Project: Targeting nerve cells to restore brain function in multiple sclerosis
National Multiple Sclerosis Society (USA) Project Grant: 'BDNF signalling and its impact upon oligodendrocyte myelination in vivo'
ARC DECRA: 'The phosphorylation by transcription factors upon the myelinating process'
MS Research Australia Project Grant: 'Analysis of myelination'
NHMRC Project Grant: 'The role of BDNF in central nervous system myelination'
NHMRC Project Grant: 'Modulation of Neurotrophin Receptor signaling'
This research project is available to PhD, Masters, Honours students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.
- Gonsalvez DG, De Silva M, Wood RJ, Giuffrida L, Kilpatrick TJ, Murray SS, Xiao J. A Functional and Neuropathological Testing Paradigm Reveals New Disability Based Parameters and Histological Features for P0180-199 Induced EAN in C57BL/6 Mice. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2017; 76 (2): 89-100.
- Akkermann R, Perera AA, Bujalka H, Xiao J, Cole A, Kilpatrick TJ, Binder MD. The TAM receptor Tyro3 is a regulator of central nervous system myelination. GLIA 2017; 65(4): 581-591.
- Peckham H, Giuffrida L, Wood R, Gonsalvez DG, Ferner AH, Kilpatrick TJ, Murray SS, Xiao J. Fyn is an intermediate kinase that BDNF utilises to promote oligodendrocyte myelination. GLIA 2016; 64(2): 255-269.
- Gonsalvez DG, Ferner AH, Peckham H, Murray SS, Xiao J. The roles of Erk1/2 signalling in CNS myelination and remyelination. Neuropharmacology 2016; 110: 586-593.
- Cole A, Murray SS, Xiao J. Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4 Signalling in Neural Stem and Progenitor Cells during Development and after Injury. Stem Cell International 2016; (DOI: 10.1155/2016/9260592, in press)
- Murphy M, Wilson YM, Vargas E, Munro KM, Smith B, Li QX, Xiao J, Masters CL, Reid CA, Barrett GL. Reduction of p75 neurotrophin receptor ameliorates the cognitive deficits in a model of Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging 2015; 36 (2):740-752.
- Gresle M, Butzkueven H, Perreau V, Jonas A, XIAO J, Thiem S, Holmes F, Doherty W, Soo PY, Binder M, Akkermann R, Jokubaitis V, Cate HS, Marriott M, Gundlach A, Wynick D, Kilpatrick TJ. Galanin is an autocrine myelin and oligodendrocyte trophic signal induced by Leukemia inhibitory Factor. GLIA 2015; 63(6):1005-1020.
- Peckham HM, Ferner AH, Giuffrida L, Murray SS, Xiao J. Production and use of Lentivirus to selectively transduce primary oligodendrocyte precursor cells for in vitro myelination assays. Journal of Visualised Experiments 2015; 95: e52179.
- Wong AW, Giuffrida L, Wood R, Peckham H, Gonsalvez D, Murray SS, Hughes RA, Xiao J. TDP6, a brain-derived neurotrophic factor-based trkB peptide mimetic, promotes oligodendrocyte myelination. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 2014; 63C: 132-140.
- Mitew S, Hay CM, Peckham H, Xiao J, Koenning M, Emery B. Mechanisms regulating the development of oligodendrocytes and central nervous system myelin. Neuroscience 2014; 276:29-47.
- Xiao J, Hughes RA, Lim JY, Ivanusic JJ, Ferner A, Wong AW, Kilpatrick TJ, Murray SS, A small peptide mimetic of BDNF promotes peripheral myelination. #Corresponding author. Journal of Neurochemistry 2013; 125(3): 386-98.
- Wong AW, Xiao J, Kemper D, Kilpatrick TJ, Murray, SS. Oligodendroglial expression of TrkB independently regulates myelination and progenitor cell proliferation. The Journal of Neuroscience 2013; 33(11): 4947-4957.
- Xiao J, Ferner AH, Wong AW, Denham M, Kilpatrick T, Murray SS. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 signalling promotes oligodendrocyte myelination in vitro. #Corresponding author Journal of Neurochemistry 2012; 122(6): 1167-80.
- Binder MD, Xiao J, Kemper D, Ma GZM, Murray SS., Kilpatrick TJ, Gas6 increases myelination by oligodendrocytes and its deficiency delays recovery following cuprizone-induced demyelination. Plos One 6(3): e17727 (2011)
- XIAO J, Wong AW, Willingham M, van den Buuse M, Kilpatrick T, Murray S. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Promotes Central Nervous System Myelination via a Direct Effect upon Oligodendrocytes. NeuroSignals 18(3):186-202 (2010).
- Xiao J, Wong AW, Willingham M, Kaasinen S, Hendry I, Howitt J, Putz U, Barrett G, Kilpatrick T, Murray S. BDNF exerts contrasting influence on peripheral myelination of NGF and BDNF-dependent DRG neurons. The Journal of Neuroscience 2009; 29: 4016-4022.
- Xiao J, Kilpatrick, TJ, Murray SS. The role of Neurotrophins in the regulation of myelin developmentt. NeuroSignals 2009; 17: 265–276.
- Wong AW, Wellington M, Xiao J, Kilpatrick TJ, Murray SS, The Neurotrophin Receptor Homolog-2 regulates Nerve Growth Factor signalling. Journal of Neurochemistry 2008; 106(4): 1964-76.
- How BDNF signalling controls myelination?
- Understanding the molecular basis of myelin repair
- Can drug-like mimetics of BDNF promote remyelination after injury?
- Mechanisms of growth factor signalling
- The influence of neurotrophin signalling upon the generation of myelin
Faculty Research Themes
School Research Themes
For further information about this research, please contact Dr Simon Murray & Dr Junhua Xiao