Sir Richard Lewis Maxwell Faull


Research | Current

  • Neuroscience
  • Human neurodegenerative diseases
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Neurogenesis

We have a broadly-based, multidisciplinary HRC Research Programme on "Neurodegeneration in the Human Brain - Mechanisms and Therapeutic Targets" in collaboration with Dr Henry Waldvogel and Dr Maurice Curtis (Department of Anatomy with Radiology), Professor Mike Dragunow and Dr Michelle Glass in the Department of Pharmacology, and Dr Lynette Tippett (Department of Psychology) , which uses the human tissue stored in our Human Brain Bank and the molecular, cellular biological and imaging resources in the Centre for Brain Research. Research in the group is focused on the following major project areas:

  1. Molecular biological and anatomical studies on the chemical changes in the following major neurodegenerative diseases of the human brain – Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and Motor Neuron disease.
  2. Correlation of the clinical profile with the chemical anatomical pathology and genotype in Huntington’s disease, in order to determine whether variations in clinical symptomatology are reflected by variations in the chemical pathology and HD gene.
  3. The establishment of a transgenic sheep model of Huntington's disease in collaboration with Dr Russell Snell (School of Biological Sciences), Dr Simon Bawden (South Australian Research Development Institute), and Dr Marcy Macdonald and Professor Jim Gusella (Harvard University). This will be the first large animal model of a human brain disease in the world and will provide for studies on the pathogenesis and molecular mechanisms of Huntington's disease and, most importantly, will provide an animal model (whose brain is very similar to the human brain) for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for treating this tragic inherited human brain disease. This project has receceived major funding from The Freemasons of New Zealand. 
  4. Molecular mechanisms and patterns of nerve cell death and repair in these neurodegenerative diseases focusing on the role of transcription factors and growth factors, and using in vitro cell culture models, and transgenic animal models.
  5. Investigations on the potential of various novel methods to treat neurodegenerative diseases including gene therapy techniques (decoy DNA, antisense DNA, peptide nucleic acids), and neurotrophins to prevent neuronal death in neurodegenerative diseases.
  6. In collaboration with Dr Bronwen Connor and Professor Mike Dragunow in Pharmacology, and Dr Maurice Curtis (University of Goteborg, Sweden) we are also studying neurogenesis in the human brain. The specific areas of interest are: (i) whether stem cells in the adult human brain and spinal cord have the ability to proliferate and form new neurons in response to brain injury and disease (Huntington's disease, Parkinson's Disease, Epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, Motor Neuron Disease, Stroke); (ii) the pathways of neurogenesis in the human brain; (iii) the mechanisms involved in the induction of neurogenesis in the injured or diseased adult brain; and (iii) do stem cells have the potential to ‘repair’ the injured or diseased adult brain and spinal cord.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Neueder, A., Landles, C., Ghosh, R., Howland, D., Myers, R. H., Faull, R. L. M., ... Bates, G. P. (2017). The pathogenic exon 1 HTT protein is produced by incomplete splicing in Huntington's disease patients. Scientific Reports, 7 (1).10.1038/s41598-017-01510-z
  • Waldvogel, H. J., Munkle, M., van Roon-Mom, W., Mohler, H., & Faull, R. L. M. (2017). The immunohistochemical distribution of the GABAA receptor α1, α2, α3, β2/3 and γ2 subunits in the human thalamus. Journal of chemical neuroanatomy, 82, 39-55. 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2017.04.006
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Henry Waldvogel
  • Xu, J., Church, S. J., Patassini, S., Begley, P., Waldvogel, H. J., Curtis, M. A., ... Cooper, G. J. S. (2017). Evidence for widespread, severe brain copper deficiency in Alzheimer's dementia. Metallomics : integrated biometal science10.1039/c7mt00074j
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Henry Waldvogel, Maurice Curtis
  • Reid, S. J., Mckean, N. E., Henty, K., Portelius, E., Blennow, K., Rudiger, S. R., ... Faull, R. L. M. (2017). Alzheimer's disease markers in the aged sheep (Ovis aries). Neurobiology of aging, 58, 112-119. 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.06.020
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Suzanne Reid, Renee Handley, Henry Waldvogel, Russell Snell
  • Fuhrer, T. E., Palpagama, T. H., Waldvogel, H. J., Synek, B. J. L., Turner, C., Faull, R. L., & Kwakowsky, A. (2017). Impaired expression of GABA transporters in the human Alzheimer's disease hippocampus, subiculum, entorhinal cortex and superior temporal gyrus. Neuroscience, 351, 108-118. 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.03.041
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Henry Waldvogel, Andrea Kwakowsky
  • Monzo, H. J., Coppieters, N., Park, T. I. H., Dieriks, B. V., Faull, R. L. M., Dragunow, M., & Curtis, M. A. (2017). Insulin promotes cell migration by regulating PSA-NCAM. Experimental cell research10.1016/j.yexcr.2017.03.029
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Maurice Curtis, Thomas Park, Victor Dieriks, Michael Dragunow, Natacha Coppieters 't Wallant
  • Dieriks, B. V., Park, T. I.-H., Fourie, C., Faull, R. L. M., Dragunow, M., & Curtis, M. A. (2017). α-synuclein transfer through tunneling nanotubes occurs in SH-SY5Y cells and primary brain pericytes from Parkinson's disease patients. Scientific reports, 710.1038/srep42984
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Maurice Curtis, Victor Dieriks, Michael Dragunow, Thomas Park
  • Tippett, L. J., Waldvogel, H. J., Snell, R. G., Vonsattel, J.-P., Young, A. B., & Faull, R. L. M. (2017). The Complexity of Clinical Huntington's Disease: Developments in Molecular Genetics, Neuropathology and Neuroimaging Biomarkers. Advances in neurobiology, 15, 129-161. 10.1007/978-3-319-57193-5_5
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lynette Tippett, Henry Waldvogel, Russell Snell


Contact details

Primary location

M&HS BUILDING 503 - Bldg 503
Level 5, Room 501C
New Zealand

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