Address
  • 13A Research Park Drive

    2109 Dementia Research Centre

    Australia

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Organization profile

About Us

In 2018, Macquarie University launched the first dementia research centre in New South Wales that is fully dedicated to discovery-based research and drug development for Alzheimer’s disease. The Director, Professor Lars Ittner, is an internationally renown expert and opinion leader in Alzheimer’s disease research. The Dementia Research Centre (DRC) brings together international and national leaders in translational dementia research and strengthen the University’s current investment into neuroscience research. The multidisciplinary team of the DRC strives to accelerate today’s discoveries into tomorrow’s therapies. The DRC currently includes eight research groups.

The DRC resides within the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences in MQ Health. Besides its world-class research program for dementia research, the DRC contributes to the teaching endeavours of the department and the faculty by delivering state-of-the-art training in applied neuroscience to both undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as MQ’s MD Program.

Capabilities

Drug development portfolio

The teams at the Dementia Research Centre currently have more than 10 different therapeutic development programs at different stage of pre-clinical testing. These include small molecules, antibodies and gene therapy approaches. Most of these proprietary molecules and drug targets are based on novel discoveries of disease mechanisms made over the past decade. The Dementia Research Centre drug development portfolio is managed by the Macquarie University Office of Commercialisation and Innovation.

Learn more about potential opportunities for commercialisation, partnering and/or licencing.

Adeno-associated virus core

The Dementia Research Centre operates its own core facility for the production of adeno-associated viruses (AAV). AAVs are particularly well suited for gene delivery into cells and living organisms, including for gene therapy in humans. Operating our own AAV core allows immediate access to this cutting-edge technology for all our research teams, accelerating multiple discovery research projects and our gene-therapy pipeline.

Learn more about the DRC AAV core.

3D cell culture systems

Brain neurons remain one of the hardest cell types to culture, due to their inability to multiply and fastidious culturing conditions. Techniques to grow neurons in single layers have long been developed but remain both labour and costs-intensive. At the same time these 2D cultures do not resemble the complexity of the brain. To overcome these limitations, the Dementia Research Centre has brought together experts in cellular neurobiology and peptide hydrogel chemistry and developed new 3D neuronal culture systems, based on our proprietary matrix technology.

Learn more about 3D hydrogel culture technologies.

In vivo disease models

The Dementia Research Centre is home to one of the largest colonies of genetically modified mouse models of dementia in Australia. These models have assisted us in unravelling novel disease mechanisms. Furthermore, they are an integral part of our pre-clinical drug development program. A competitive advantage of the Dementia Research Centre is the direct access to new disease models through its direct operation of the Genome Editing Macquarie service.

Learn more about genome editing and generating new mouse/rat model.

Centre Leadership

Prof Lars Ittner - Director & Group Leader (Novel Therapy) 

Prof Thomas Fath - Deputy Director Education & Group Leader (Neuronal Cell Biology)

A/Prof Yazi Ke - Deputy Director Operations & Group Leader (Disease Mechanisms)

Dr Fabien Delerue - Group Leader (Transgenesis)

Dr Janet van Eersel - Group Leader (Drug Testing)

Dr Shelley Forrest - Group Leader (Neuropathology)

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