Understanding the molecular basis of canvas-a novel neurological disorder caused by an expanded repeat

Research Opportunity
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Associate Professor Paul Lockhart paul.lockhart@mcri.edu.au +61383416322 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Martin Delatycki martin.delatycki@vcgs.org.au Personal web page

Summary Repeat expansions in genomic DNA are a major cause of neurodevelopmental disorders. This project utilises genetic and functional approaches to identify and understand the pathogenesis of this class of disease.

Project Details

Repeat expansions cause over twenty neurogenetic disorders of major clinical significance which can present with heterogenous, overlapping clinical phenotypes. Discovery of novel expansions and diagnostic testing of known loci has proven extremely challenging due to the repeat sequences being refractory to standard molecular techniques. We recently determined that a novel intronic pentanucleotide repeat expansion on chromosome 4 causes the neurogenetic disorder termed cerebellar ataxia with neuropathy and vestibular areflexia syndrome (CANVAS). Our preliminary studies suggest the expansion is the most common genetic cause of ataxia in humans.

This project will characterise the causal expansion repeat using short read and long read gene Next Generation sequencing technologies. It will investigate pathogenic mechanisms underlying disease utilising molecular and cell biology techniques, including primary cell and induced pluripotent stem cell generation and characterisation. The candidate will also contribute to the gene discovery component of an ongoing trial testing the diagnostic utility of expansion repeat detection in next generation sequencing data.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Research Opportunities

Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

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



Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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