Samantha Barton

Email: 3 9035 6783

Research Overview

Dr Samantha Barton is a research fellow In the Motor Neuron Disease Laboratory at the Florey Institute. Her research interests are in white matter dysfunction and after completing her PhD at the Ritchie Centre (Hudson Institute) on neonatal white matter injury, she shifted her focus to white matter injury related to neurodegeneration and the dementias. Her particular interest is in the role of oligodendrocytes in white matter disease. Given their critical role in myelination as well as metabolic support to neurons, a cell-autonomous deficit in oligodendrocytes could have a profound detrimental role on neuronal function in a huge number of brain diseases. In disease models ranging from preterm birth all the way through to neurodegeneration in the form of Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Neuron Disease and other associated dementias, to name a few, the cells surrounding neurons (including oligodendrocytes as well as astrocytes and microglia) are being implicated in disease pathogenesis.

She commenced her fellowship at the University of Edinburgh, UK in a leading stem cell lab where she learnt to culture oligodendrocytes, derived from human patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Taking iPSC from patients with motor neuron disease, Dr Barton can differentiate these cells into oligodendrocytes and investigate critical disease-causing pathways and can then validate findings in post-mortem brain and spinal cord samples donated by patients with motor neuron disease or investigate these processes further in small animal models. Ultimately, her research aims to elucidate the role of oligodendrocytes in motor neuron disease


NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowship (1110040) – 2016 - 2020

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation Project Grant (PG3715) – 2015

Supervisor and Collaborators

A/Prof Bradley Turner – Supervisor

Prof Siddharthan Chandran – Collaborator

Available for Supervision


Research Publications

Stojanovska V.*, Barton S.K.*, Tolcos M., Gill A.W., Kluckow M., Miller S.L., Zahra V., Galinsky R., Hooper S.B. & Polglase G.R. (2018) The Effect of Antenatal Betamethasone on White Matter Inflammation and Injury in Fetal and Ventilated Preterm Lambs Developmental Neuroscience Accepted 30 Dec * Equal Contributions

Chan Y.Y., LaRosa D., Tolcos M., Li A., Zahra V., Polglase G.R* & Barton S.K.* (2017) Optimising the Dose of Erythropoietin Required to Prevent Ventilation-Induced Brain Injury in Preterm Lambs J Physiol39(1-4):298-309     * Equal Contributions

Barton S.K., McDougall A.R.A., Melville J.M., Moss T.J.M., Zahra V.A., Lim T., Crossley K.J., Polglase G.R.*, Tolcos M.* (2016) Differential Short-Term Regional Effects of Early High Dose Erythropoietin on White Matter in Preterm Lambs after Mechanical Ventilation Journal of Physiology 594(5):1437-1449.

Barton S.K., Melville, J.M., Tolcos M., Polglase G.R., McDougall A.R.A., Azhan A., Crossley K.J., Jenkin G., Moss T.J.M. (2015) Human Amnion Epithelial Cells Modulate Ventilation-Induced White Matter Pathology in Preterm Lambs Developmental Neuroscience37:338-348

Barton S.K., Tolcos M., Miller S.L., Roehr C.C., Schmölzer G.M., Davis P.G., Moss T.J.M., LaRosa D.A., Hooper S.B. & Polglase G.R. (2015) Unravelling the Links between the Initiation of Ventilation and Brain Injury in Preterm Infants Frontiers in Pediatrics: Neonatology 3:97