CBR seminar by Aotearoa Fellows Event as iCalendar

22 May 2014

10 - 11:30am

Location: Clinical Education Centre, Auckland City Hospital

Dr Gjurgjica Badzakova: A longitudinal study of pre-Huntington’s Disease: in pursuit of biomarkers

Genetic testing for Huntington’s disease allows exploration of potential clinical and neural changes prior to symptomatic disease. However, identification of sensitive and reliable clinical and neuroimaging biomarkers has proved elusive. While HD has been considered a disease primarily of the basal ganglia and striatal-frontal circuits, recent neuropathological and neuroimaging studies indicate that posterior cortical changes may predate those in the anterior cortex. This longitudinal study of preHD individuals targeting posterior regions reveals grey-matter changes in posterior cortical regions and a significant performance decline in an egocentric rotation task, indicating the disease process is not limited to subcortical regions. Reduction in basal ganglia volume also significantly predicted performance on the egocentric rotation task, suggesting these may be good candidates for early biomarkers prior to clinical onset.

Dr Peter Freestone: Lighting up endocannabinoid research

This project update describes how I am establishing optogenetic techniques within the faculty and how I intend to apply this to studying endocannabinoid function. I will also present my most recent findings of endocannabinoid modulation in the basal ganglia with particular interest in the Subthalamic nucleus to Substantia Nigra projection - the terminal section of hyper-direct pathway.

Dr Emma Scotter: Screening for novel therapeutics for motor neuron disease

There are diverse genetic and molecular causes for motor neuron disease (MND); several MND-linked genes implicate RNA processing and others implicate protein degradation. Currently there is only one drug in clinical use for MND and this extends life by three months on average. This project seeks to screen novel drug-like compounds using bioassays for pathology of RNA processing proteins or the autophagy/ proteasome systems in primary human brain cells from patients with MND.


This CBR seminar is supported by the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand