Professor Maurice Anthony Curtis
BHSc (MI), MSc (Hons), PhD
Maurice Curtis is Professor of Neuroscience and Head of the Department of Anatomy and Medical Imaging, Director of Human Anatomy, Co-director of the Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank, and a Principle Investigator in the Centre for Brain Research. After beginning his career as a radiographer, he completed a Masters degree and then PhD in Anatomy and Pharmacology.
The focus of his research is the early neurological events that lead to neurodegenerative disease with a focus on Parkinson and Alzheimer’s disease; the anatomical area of focus in these studies is the olfactory system. Maurice also has a strong focus on biomarker discovery for early detection of neurological disease and is a lead investigator in the New Zealand Frontotemporal dementia study FTDGeNZ.
Also an area of focus is the plasticity protein Polysialic Acid Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule (PSA-NCAM), which is responsible for regulating a cells interactions with other cells and is deficient in Alzheimer’s disease. Maurice collaborates widely within in the faculty and internationally and has been actively growing links between his research group and medicinal chemists.
Maurice is cofounder of a commercial research platform called NeuroValida which provides neuroresearch services to industry.
Maurice is actively engaged with a number of community organizations that work with those who have neurological diseases. In addition, he is an active teacher at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and supervises a high number of postgraduate research students.
Research | Current
Anatomical studies on the structure of the human olfactory system.
Olfactory changes in Parkinson’s disease.
Brain region differences in Alpha Synuclein structure in Parkinson’s disease.
Mechanisms of pathology spread in the brain.
Drug discovery for Parkinson’s disease.
Studies of what regulates PSA-NCAM expression.
Improving brain banking techniques.
Improving cell culture models of Parkinson’s disease.
Identifying the first events in the brain that lead to neurodegeneration.
Highet B, Vikas Anekal P, Ryan B, Murray H, Coppieters N, Dieriks BV, Singh-Bains MK, Mehrabi MB, Faull RLM, Dragunow M, Curtis MA (2020) fISHing with immunohistochemistry for housekeeping gene changes in Alzheimer’s disease using an automated quantitative analysis workflow. Journal of Neurochemistry (In press)
Swanson MEV, Scotter EL, Smyth LCD, Murray HC, Ryan B, Turner C, Faull RLM, Dragunow M, Curtis MA. (2020) Identification of a dysfunctional microglial population in human Alzheimer’s disease cortex using novel single-cell histology image analysis. Acta Neuropathologica Communications 8, 170.
Murray H, Dieriks BV, Swanson MEV, Anekal PV, Turner C, Faull RLM, Belluscio L, Koretsky A, Curtis MA. (2020) The unfolded protein response is activated in the olfactory system in Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Neuropathologica Communications. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40478-020-00986-7
Coppieters N, Merry S, Patel R, Highet B, Curtis MA (2019) Polysialic acid masks neural cell adhesion molecule antigenicity. Brain Research 1710:199-208
Ryan B, Baker A, Ilse C, Brickell KL, Kersten HM, Danesh-Meyer HV, Williams JM, Addis DR, Tippett L, Curtis MA (2018) Diagnosing pre-clinical dementia: the NZ genetic frontotemporal dementia study (FTDGeNZ). New Zealand Medical Journal (In press) Vol131 no.1476 (IF 0.5)
Murray HC, Low VF, Swanson MEV, Dieriks BV, Turner C, Faull RLM, Curtis MA. (2018) Neurochemical characterisation of PSA-NCAM+ cells in the human brain and phenotypic quantification in Alzheimer’s disease entorhinal cortex. Neuroscience 372:289-303 doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.12.019 (IF 3.2)
Zapiec B, Dieriks BV, Tan S, Faull RLM, Mombaerts P, Curtis MA (2017) A ventral glomerular deficit in Parkinson’s disease revealed by whole olfactory bulb reconstruction. BRAIN 140:2722-2736 doi:10.1093/brain/awx208 (IF 10.2)
Murray HC, Low VF, Swanson MEV, Dieriks BV, Turner C, Faull RLM, Curtis MA. (2016) Distribution of PSA-NCAM in normal, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease human brain. Neuroscience 330:359-75 doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.06.003 (IF 3.2)
Teaching | Current
Module coordinator for the Nervous system module (MBCHB321) and lecturer for the neuroanatomy lectures and labs
Pathway leader for Neuroscience specialization in Bachelor of Biomedical Science Honours degree.
Undergraduate lectures in neural development, neuroanatomy and neuropathology.
Specialist teaching for Psychiatry and Neurology registrars.
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- 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, Richard Faull
- Turner, C. P., van der Werf, B., Law, A. J. J., Bok, A., Curtis, M. A., & Dragunow, M. (2020). The epidemiology of patients undergoing meningioma resection in Auckland, New Zealand, 2002 to 2011. Journal of clinical neuroscience : official journal of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia, 80, 324-330. 10.1016/j.jocn.2020.06.011
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bert van der Werf
- 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: Richard Faull
- 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: Malvindar Singh-Bains, Richard Faull
- 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, Richard Faull
- 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, Richard Faull
- 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, Richard Faull
- Wu, J. J., Cai, A., Greenslade, J. E., Higgins, N. R., Fan, C., Le, N. T. T., ... Dieriks, B. V. (2020). ALS/FTD mutations in UBQLN2 impede autophagy by reducing autophagosome acidification through loss of function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117 (26), 15230-15241. 10.1073/pnas.1917371117
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Emma Scotter, Victor Dieriks, Richard Faull