Dr Malvindar Singh-Bains

PhD Biomedical Science, BSc. Biomed (Hons)


My research aims to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention strategies in neurodegenerative conditions such as Huntington’s (HD), X-Linked Dystonia Parkinsonism (XDP) and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

I am currently investigating neurodegeneration, neurovascular unit changes and protein aggregate pathology in HD, XDP and AD human brains.

I completed my PhD in Biomedical Science in 2014, arming me with expertise in gross macro and microscopic human brain neuroanatomy, human brain dissection, Human Brain Bank processing, design-based stereological quantification, immunohistochemistry, and microscopy. Since the commencement of my first post-doctoral fellowship in 2015, my techniques have expanded to include human brain tissue microarray construction and high-content screening of brain tissue microarrays with automated microscopy and analysis, and primary cell culture of human brain pericytes from post-mortem tissue.

Currently I am collaborating with highly acclaimed Auckland-based researchers including Distinguished Professor Sir Richard Faull, Professor Mike Dragunow and Associate Professor Henry Waldvogel. In addition, I am now collaborating internationally with researchers at Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Boston), Makati Medical Centre (Philippines) and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland).

I am also the co-chair of the Huntington’s Disease Youth Organisation of New Zealand, a charity dedicated to educate, advocate and support youth impacted by Huntington’s disease in New Zealand.

Research | Current

Current projects:

(1) Investigate blood-brain barrier and protein aggregate pathology in the Huntington's disease human brain. This project is in collaboration with Professor Mike Dragunow, Distinguished Professor Sir Richard Faull, and PhD student Adelie Tan.

(2) Neurovascular unit characterisation within the normal and Alzheimer’s disease human brain. This project is in collaboration with Professor Mike DragunowDistinguished Professor Sir Richard Faull, and Research Fellow Dr Deidre Jansson.

(3) The neurochemistry and neuropathology in the basal ganglia of X-linked Dystonia Parkinsonism brains. This project is in collaboration with Associate Professor Henry Waldvogel, Distinguished Professor Sir Richard Faull, and Research Fellow Dr Christine Arasaratnam

Teaching | Current

MEDSCI 720: Biomedical Research Techniques

Postgraduate supervision

Current students:

Adelie Tan (Biomedical Science PhD student) - primary supervisor

Jessica Crockett (Pharmacology Masters student) - co-supervisor


Completed Students:

Star Thai (Biomedical Science Masters student) - co-supervisor - completed 2020

Mark Bosman (Physiology Masters student) - co-supervisor - completed 2020

Micah Daniel Austria (Biomedical Science Masters student) - primary supervisor - completed 2018

Adelie Tan (Biomedical Science Honours student) - primary supervisor - completed 2018


2019: Associate Investigator for Collaborative Centre for XDP project grant “The Neurochemistry and Neuropathology in the Basal Ganglia of X-linked Dystonia Parkinsonism brains”  (2 years)

2019: Awarded Leo Nilon Huntington’s Disease Research Fellowship. “Investigate blood-brain barrier and protein aggregate pathology in the Huntington's disease human brain”. (3 years)

2019: Awarded KiwiBank Local Hero Award Medal, nominee of Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year

2019: Awarded Indian Newslink commemoration award “Excellence in Brain Research and Community Services”

2018: Named top 5 women in Health and Science for NEXT Woman of the Year

2016:  Awarded Kiwi Indian Young Achiever of the Year, Kiwi Indian Hall of Fame awards, awarded by Indian High Commissioner to NZ

2015 and 2016: Finalist for University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year, New Zealander of the Year Awards

2015: Awarded Freemasons Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. (4 years)



2020 SBS Radio Australia “Meet the Kiwi-Indian Neuroscientist creating ripples with her research” http://tiny.cc/gfkalz

2020 Newstalk ZB Neuroscientist on how your gut is linked to your brain’s health” http://tiny.cc/tjkalz 

2019 Radio 95bFM “Huntington’s disease, possible drug treatments and awards” https://cutt.ly/ytf0xiY 

2016-current Radio New Zealand Science commentator “Nine To Noon” show with Kathryn Ryan http://tiny.cc/lgkalz

2016 Radio New Zealand “Nine to noon with Kathryn Ryan: Neuroscientist and Brain campaigner Malvindar Singh-Bains” https://goo.gl/8uqivh 

2014 BBC International weekly radio programme “The Naked Scientists” ”Visiting a Brain Bank: The Wonderings of a Naked Brain” https://goo.gl/DPZeed 


2020 The Indian Weekender “Kiwi-Indian Neuroscientist Malvindar Bains makes new strides in Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease research.” https://cutt.ly/Etf0kNc  

2019 Newsroom “Be kind to your brain” http://tiny.cc/7nkalz

2019 The New Zealand Herald “For all our futures: solving the Parkinson’s Puzzle” https://cutt.ly/Ftf0ErX 

2016 The New Zealand Herald “Brain Detectives: 10 amazing Kiwi insights”  https://goo.gl/5M5MT1 

2015 The Northern Advocate “Offer could help unlock answers” https://goo.gl/pLHa2S 

Areas of expertise

Neurodegeneration (Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, X-Linked Dystonia Parkinsonism)

Basal ganglia


Gross macro and microscopic human brain neuroanatomy

Human brain dissection

Human Brain Bank processing

Design-based stereological quantification



Human brain tissue microarray 

High-content screening of brain tissue microarrays and analysis

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2017: Appointed Chair of Centre for Brain Research Emerging Researchers committee

2016: Elected to Centre for Brain Research Emerging Researchers committee

2016: Appointed to Brain Research New Zealand Early Career Advisory Group

2016: Appointed Radio New Zealand Science commentator for “Nine To Noon” show

2015: Appointed Scientific advisor and board member of the Huntington’s Disease Association Auckland (Inc) committee

2014: Appointed Co-Chairperson and founder of the Huntington’s Disease Youth Organisation of New Zealand (HDYO-NZ), a registered charitable trust (CC53686)

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.

Contact details

Primary office location

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