Murray & Xiao laboratory: Neurotrophin and myelin

Researcher

Research Overview

View Dr Murray's latest PubMed publications listing here and Find an Expert profile here

View Dr Xiao's latest PubMed publications listing here and Find an Expert profile here

Myelin is the insulating sheath wrapping around many axons in the peripheral (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS). It is essential for the rapid and efficient transmission of neural signals along the axons, and provides metabolic and trophic support to the axons that it surrounds. 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.

Dr Simon Murray

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. View Dr Murry's Find an Expert.

Dr Junhua Xiao

Dr Junhua Xiao is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience and jointly heads the Laboratory of Neurotrophin and Myelin with Dr. Simon Murray.   She graduated with Bachelor of Medicine from Nanjing Medical University (China) in 2000 and obtained her PhD on neurobiology from the University of Melbourne in 2005, followed by her postdoctoral training investigating myelin biology at the Centre for Neuroscience.  In 2013,  Dr Xiao was appointed as a Tenured Academic by the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience and established her laboratory.  Dr Xiao has been the recipient of the prestigious NH&MRC Peter Doherty Fellowship (2007) and the ARC DECRA Award (2012). She currently serves as the President of US Society for Neuroscience Australia Melbourne Chapter, Panel member of US Society for Neuroscience Council TPDA Selection Committee, and Executive Committee Member of Australian-Chinese Association for Biomedical Sciences Inc.  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.

Staff

Dr Junhua Xiao, Lab Head, http://www.findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/display/person20942

Dr Simon Murray, Lab Head, http://www.findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/display/person98754

Dr David Gonsalvez, Postdoctoral Fellow, https://www.findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/display/person178895

Dr Jessica Fletcher, Postdoctoral Fellow, https://www.findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/display/person726946

Rhiannon Wood, Research Assistant Ophelia Ehrlich, Research Assistant

Fatemeh Daemi, PhD student

Madeline Nicolson, PhD student

Sangwon Yoo, PhD student

Georgina Craig, PhD student

Zuoheng (Jack)Qin, Masters student

Ryan O'Rafferty, MD research student

David Homewood, MD research student

Collaborators

National

Associate Professor Tony Hughes, Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, The University of Melbourne
Professor Trevor Kilpatrick, Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience, The University of Melbourne
Professor Erica Fletcher, Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience, The University of Melbourne
Professor Anthony Hannan, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health Research
Dr Tim Auman, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health Research
Professor David Gardner, The School of BioSciences, The University of Melbourne
Dr Suzanne Hodgkinson, South Western Sydney Clinical School, University of NSW
Associate Professor Matthias Klugmann, Translational Neuroscience Facility, University of NSW

International

Dr Ben Emery, Oregon Health& Science University (USA)
Professor Rashmi Bansal, University of Connecticut (USA)
Professor Fang Wu, Shanghai JiaoTong University (China)

Funding

Current:

ARC Discovery Project Grant #DP180102397 (CIs Junhua Xiao, Tony Hannan and Simon Murray) (2018-2021)

US Department of Defense Investigator-Initiated Research Award #MS170031 (PI Junhua Xiao) (2018-2021)

MS Research Australia Project Grant #18-455 (CIs Simon Murray and Jessica Fletcher) (2019-2020)

MS Research Australia Project Grant #18-395 (CIs Junhua Xiao and Tim Aumann) (2019-2021)

Past:

NHMRC Project Grant: 'Novel strategies to promote myelin repair in the brain' (2016-2018)

NHMRC Project Grant: 'Developing a new strategy for treating peripheral demyelinating neuropathy' (2014-2017)

MS Research Australia Project Grant: 'Novel neurotrophin-based strategies to promote remyelination in the brain' (2014-2015) CASS Foundation Research Project: Targeting nerve cells to restore brain function in multiple sclerosis (2015-2016)

National Multiple Sclerosis Society (USA) Project Grant: 'BDNF signalling and its impact upon oligodendrocyte myelination in vivo' (2011-2014)

ARC DECRA: 'The phosphorylation by transcription factors upon the myelinating process'

MS Research Australia Project Grant: 'Analysis of myelination' (2013-2015, declined)

NHMRC Project Grant: 'The role of BDNF in central nervous system myelination' (2010-2012)

NHMRC Project Grant: 'Modulation of Neurotrophin Receptor signaling' (2006-2008)

Research Opportunities

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

Research Outcomes

"Mimicking a cure", Australian Life Scientist, 14 August, 2013

“Kiss Goodbye to Multiple Sclerosis” - to support “World MS Day”. The Age, edited by Ms. Kate Hagan, 26 May 2010.

Research Publications