Microglial activation and neurological disease

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Project Status
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Mastura Monif mmonif@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page
Professor Terry O'Brien obrientj@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page

Project Details

Microglia are immunocompetent cells of the central nervous system. In a healthy brain microglia exhibit a quiescent morphology but are capable of sampling their microenvironment for pathogens or other bio-active factors. In response of injury or in the setting of neurological disease (such as multiple sclerosis, autoimmune encephalitis, autoimmune epilepsy, and brain trauma) microglia becomes activated capable of releasing a variety of cytokines and chemokines. The transition of quiescent to activated microglia is largely unknown. Uncontrolled or ‘over-activation’ of microglia can lead to neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration.

This project will look at the various factors that contribute to microglial activation, with a particular focus on a purinergic microglial receptor, P2X7R. The project is a translational project involving bed-to-bench clinical and scientific approach, where patients with a number of neurological conditions (multiple sclerosis, autoimmune encephalitis, traumatic brain injury) will be recruited for this study.

In the laboratory we will focus on microglial activation, chemokine and cytokine profile analysis, study of exocytosis of various cytokines and chemokines as well as understanding the interaction of microglia with surrounding neurons and astrocytes. By examining microglial activation and proliferation and the implication of that for neuroinflammation, we hope to find a number of therapies that combat neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, autoimmune encephalitis autoimmune epilepsy and the neurodegeneration associated with traumatic brain injury.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Graduate Research Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other Graduate Research requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

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Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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