We use the simplified and exceptionally well-characterised nervous system of the nematode C. elegans as a model system to address questions in neurobiology. We have three main research areas:
1. Nervous system repair after traumatic injury.
Using UV-laser axotomy, we are able to sever individual axons in C. elegans to study their responses to injury. We study a highly efficient mechanism of axonal regeneration known as axonal fusion, whereby a regenerating axon is able to reconnect and fuse with its detached segment to restore the original axonal tract and re-establish connection with its target tissue.
2. Molecular mechanisms behind Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
We model CMT in C. elegans in order to uncover novel information about how the disease develops and to identify both genetic and pharmaceutical targets for the future generation of treatments.
3. Maintenance of nervous system structure over an organism’s lifetime.
We aim to identify and characterise the cellular mechanisms necessary for preventing axonal degeneration over an animal’s lifetime using candidate gene approaches and forward genetic screening techniques.
“Science provides the joy of discovery, the opportunity to understand ourselves and the world around us like never before. My favorite aspects of science are the unexpected outcomes as these provide the greatest mental stimulation and excitement.” – Brent Neumann on his favorite part about science
How has being a member of GSA helped you advance in your career? Why do you think societies like GSA are important?
GSA has played an important role in my career since changing fields after my PhD. Being a member of GSA has kept me informed about, and provided the opportunity to attend, numerous relevant meetings, as well as provided me with information about awards and new scientific breakthroughs. More recently, I have been able to advertise a postdoctoral position to a wide audience through the GeneticCareers.org website. One of the most important roles for scientific associations like GSA is the promotion of research in the community, allowing our research findings to be accessible and understandable for others.
Previous training experiences:
BSc – University of South Australia, 2003 (Research Advisor: Allan Bretag)
PhD – The University of Queensland, 2008 (Research Advisor: Tom Gonda)
Postdoc – Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland (Research Advisor: Massimo Hilliard)