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
(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 Dragunow, Distinguished 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
Adelie Tan (Biomedical Science PhD student) - primary supervisor
Jessica Crockett (Pharmacology Masters student) - co-supervisor
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)
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
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)
- 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, Richard Faull
- Singh-Bains, M. K., Linke, V., Austria, M. D. R., Tan, A. Y. S., Scotter, E. L., Mehrabi, N. F., ... Dragunow, M. (2019). Altered microglia and neurovasculature in the Alzheimer's disease cerebellum. Neurobiology of Disease, 13210.1016/j.nbd.2019.104589
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Emma Scotter, Richard Faull, Michael Dragunow, Adelie Tan
- Singh-Bains, M. K., Mehrabi, F. N., Sehji, T., Austria, M. D. R., Tan, A. Y. S., Tippett, L. J., ... Faull, R. L. M. (2019). Cerebellar degeneration correlates with motor symptoms in Huntington’s disease. Annals of Neurology, 85 (3), 396-405. 10.1002/ana.25413
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nasim Mehrabi, Lynette Tippett, Michael Dragunow, Henry Waldvogel, Richard Faull, Adelie Tan
- Mehrabi, N. F., Singh-Bains, M. K., Waldvogel, H. J., & Faull, R. L. M. (2018). Stereological Methods to Quantify Cell Loss in the Huntington's Disease Human Brain. (pp. 1-16). 10.1007/978-1-4939-7825-0_1
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Richard Faull, Henry Waldvogel
- Singh-Bains, M. K., Waldvogel, H. J., & Faull, R. L. M. (2016). The role of the human globus pallidus in Huntington's disease. Brain Pathology, 26 (6), 741-751. 10.1111/bpa.12429
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Richard Faull, Henry Waldvogel
- Singh-Bains, M., Tippett, L., Hogg, V., Synek, B., Roxburgh, R., Waldvogel, H., & Faull, R. (2016). Globus pallidus degeneration and clinicopathological features of Huntington disease. Annals of Neurology, 80 (2), 185-201. 10.1002/ana.24694
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Richard Faull, Henry Waldvogel, Lynette Tippett, Richard Roxburgh
- Mehrabi, N. F., Singh-Bains, M. K., Waldvogel, H. J., & Faull, R. L. M. (2016). Cortico-basal ganglia interactions in Huntington’s disease. Annals of Neurodegenerative Disorders, 1 (2)
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Henry Waldvogel, Richard Faull, Nasim Mehrabi