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)

  • Dong, X., Liao, Z., Gritsch, D., Hadzhiev, Y., Bai, Y., Locascio, J. J., ... Wang, T. (2018). Enhancers active in dopamine neurons are a primary link between genetic variation and neuropsychiatric disease. Nature neuroscience, 21 (10), 1482-1492. 10.1038/s41593-018-0223-0
  • Smyth, L. C. D., Rustenhoven, J., Scotter, E. L., Schweder, P., Faull, R. L. M., Park, T. I. H., & Dragunow, M. (2018). Markers for human brain pericytes and smooth muscle cells. Journal of chemical neuroanatomy, 92, 48-60. 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2018.06.001
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Emma Scotter, Michael Dragunow, Thomas Park, Patrick Schweder, Leon Smyth
  • Hunter, M., Demarais, N. J., Faull, R. L. M., Grey, A. C., & Curtis, M. A. (2018). Subventricular zone lipidomic architecture loss in Huntington's disease. Journal of neurochemistry, 146 (5), 613-630. 10.1111/jnc.14468
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Maurice Curtis, Nicholas Demarais, Gus Grey
  • Calvo-Flores Guzmán B, Vinnakota, C., Govindpani, K., Waldvogel, H. J., Faull, R. L. M., & Kwakowsky, A. (2018). The GABAergic system as a therapeutic target for Alzheimer's disease. Journal of neurochemistry, 146 (6), 649-669. 10.1111/jnc.14345
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Andrea Kwakowsky, Henry Waldvogel, Karan Govindpani
  • Rustenhoven, J., Smith, A. M., Smyth, L. C., Jansson, D., Scotter, E. L., Swanson, M. E. V., ... Handley, R. (2018). PU.1 regulates Alzheimer's disease-associated genes in primary human microglia. MOLECULAR NEURODEGENERATION, 1310.1186/s13024-018-0277-1
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Emma Scotter, Pritika Narayan, Maurice Curtis, Thomas Park, Leon Smyth, Deidre Jansson, Molly Swanson, Patrick Schweder
  • Kwakowsky, A., Calvo-Flores Guzmán B, Govindpani, K., Waldvogel, H. J., & Faull, R. L. (2018). Gamma-aminobutyric acid A receptors in Alzheimer's disease: highly localized remodeling of a complex and diverse signaling pathway. Neural regeneration research, 13 (8), 1362-1363. 10.4103/1673-5374.235240
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Andrea Kwakowsky, Henry Waldvogel, Karan Govindpani
  • Subramaniam, N. S., Bawden, C. S., Waldvogel, H., Faull, R. M. L., Howarth, G. S., & Snell, R. G. (2018). Emergence of breath testing as a new non-invasive diagnostic modality for neurodegenerative diseases. Brain research, 1691, 75-86. 10.1016/j.brainres.2018.04.017
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Henry Waldvogel, Russell Snell
  • Kwakowsky, A., Calvo-Flores Guzmán B, Pandya, M., Turner, C., Waldvogel, H. J., & Faull, R. L. (2018). GABAA receptor subunit expression changes in the human Alzheimer's disease hippocampus, subiculum, entorhinal cortex and superior temporal gyrus. Journal of neurochemistry, 145 (5), 374-392. 10.1111/jnc.14325
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Andrea Kwakowsky, Henry Waldvogel


Contact details

Primary office location

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

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