Prof 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)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Swanson, M., Scotter, E., Smyth, L., Murray, H., Ryan, B., Turner, C., ... Curtis, M. (2020). Identification of a dysfunctional microglial population in human Alzheimer’s disease cortex using novel single-cell histology image analysis. Acta Neuropathologica Communications10.1186/s40478-020-01047-9
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Molly Swanson, Emma Scotter, Helen Murray, Brigid Ryan, Maurice Curtis
  • Yeung, J. H. Y., Calvo-Flores Guzmán B, Palpagama, T. H., Ethiraj, J., Zhai, Y., Tate, W. P., ... Kwakowsky, A. (2020). Amyloid-beta1-42 induced glutamatergic receptor and transporter expression changes in the mouse hippocampus. Journal of neurochemistry, 155 (1), 62-80. 10.1111/jnc.15099
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Henry Waldvogel, Andrea Kwakowsky
  • Narayan, P., Reid, S., Scotter, E. L., McGregor, A. L., Mehrabi, N. F., Singh-Bains, M. K., ... Dragunow, M. (2020). Inconsistencies in histone acetylation patterns among different HD model systems and HD post-mortem brains. Neurobiology of disease, 14610.1016/j.nbd.2020.105092
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Malvindar Singh-Bains, Pritika Narayan, Suzanne Reid, Emma Scotter, Russell Snell
  • Fernandez-Klett, F., Brandt, L., Fernández-Zapata C, Abuelnor, B., Middeldorp, J., Sluijs, J. A., ... Bahn, S. (2020). Denser brain capillary network with preserved pericytes in Alzheimer's disease. Brain pathology (Zurich, Switzerland)10.1111/bpa.12897
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Maurice Curtis
  • Hegde, R. N., Chiki, A., Petricca, L., Martufi, P., Arbez, N., Mouchiroud, L., ... Singh-Bains, M. K. (2020). TBK1 phosphorylates mutant Huntingtin and suppresses its aggregation and toxicity in Huntington's disease models. The EMBO journal, 39 (17)10.15252/embj.2020104671
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Maurice Curtis, Malvindar Singh-Bains
  • Highet, B., Dieriks, B. V., Murray, H. C., Faull, R. L. M., & Curtis, M. A. (2020). Huntingtin Aggregates in the Olfactory Bulb in Huntington's Disease. FRONTIERS IN AGING NEUROSCIENCE, 1210.3389/fnagi.2020.00261
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Victor Dieriks, Helen Murray, Maurice Curtis
  • Swanson, M. E. V., Murray, H. C., Ryan, B., Faull, R. L. M., Dragunow, M., & Curtis, M. A. (2020). Quantitative immunohistochemical analysis of myeloid cell marker expression in human cortex captures microglia heterogeneity with anatomical context. Scientific reports, 10 (1)10.1038/s41598-020-68086-z
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Brigid Ryan, Molly Swanson, Helen Murray, Maurice Curtis
  • Murray, H. C., Dieriks, B. V., Swanson, M. E. V., Anekal, P. V., Turner, C., Faull, R. L. M., ... Curtis, M. A. (2020). The unfolded protein response is activated in the olfactory system in Alzheimer's disease. Acta neuropathologica communications, 8 (1)10.1186/s40478-020-00986-7
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Victor Dieriks, Helen Murray, Molly Swanson, Maurice Curtis


Contact details

Primary office location

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

Web links