Dr Molly Elizabeth Victoria Swanson

BSc(Hons), PhD (Anatomy)

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Research Fellow

Biography

I am a post-doctoral research fellow in the Motor Neuron Disease (MND) lab at the Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland.

My research focuses on understanding how the immune cells of the brain, called microglia, change in neurodegenerative diseases. Microglia normally function to help the brain heal from damage and/or disease. There is increasing evidence that microglia become dysfunctional in neurodegenerative diseases, which can be toxic to neurons thereby contributing to disease. Because of their potential to both help and harm the brain throughout disease, understanding how they change in disease is key to developing potential therapies.

My current project has identified how microglia are altered in Alzheimer’s Disease. I utilise post-mortem human brain tissue to identify microglia in human disease. I then develop novel automated analysis pipelines to quantify microglial changes and relate these changes to anatomy and pathological hallmarks. I aim to extend these methodologies and develop new tools to next investigate microglia in MND. Such research will contribute to our understanding of how microglia contribute to MND at different stages of disease.

Areas of expertise

  • Microglia in post-mortem human brain tissue
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Novel automated image analysis pipelines
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer’s disease and Motor Neuron Disease) 

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 501 - Bldg 501
Level 5, Room 503
85 PARK RD
GRAFTON
AUCKLAND 1023
New Zealand

Web links