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Personal profile


Prof Thomas Fath is Deputy Director of the Dementia Research Centre and Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Macquarie University. Previous to this, he was the Head of the Neurodegeneration and Repair Unit (NRU) and Head of the Neuronal Culture Core Facility (NCCF) at UNSW. He received his PhD in 2002 from the University of Heidelberg, where he worked on the functional role of Tau phosphorylation in Alzheimer's disease. He then moved to The Scripps Research Institute at La Jolla (2003-2005, USA), shifting his research focus to the study of the actin cytoskeleton in neuronal function and morphogenesis. After this, Dr Fath continued his work on the actin cytoskeleton in neurons at the Children's Hospital at Westmead (2005-2008). In 2009, he took on a Research & Teaching position in the School of Medical Sciences at UNSW Sydney, where he established an ARC and NHMRC-funded research program, investigating cytoskeleton-associated patho-mechanisms of Neurodegenerative diseases and mechanisms of neurite regeneration.  

Research interests

The primary research focus of the lab is on the regulation of the cytoskeleton in injury and diseases of the central nervous system, including brain trauma, Alzheimer's Disease and motor neuron disease. For this, we employ cell and tissue cultures and genetically modified mice, combined with advanced imaging technologies. Recent outcome from our work demonstrates that distinct isoforms of the tropomyosin protein family regulate early processes of neuronal morphogenesis and that these proteins are key regulators of the cellular architecture in sub-cellular compartments of neuronal cells such as the growth cones of extending neurites in the developing and synaptic connections in the mature nervous system. Our research team investigates the actin cytoskeleton as potential drug target to provide protection and promote regeneration in the injured or diseased nervous system. Current projects include: 
Functional charachterisation of the synaptic actin cytoskeleton in Alzheimer's disease
Develop actin cytoskeleton targeting therapies for neurodegenerative diseases
Deciphering the functional role of the actin cytoskeleton in neuronal morphogenesis

Education/Academic qualification

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Graduate Certificate of University Learning and Teaching, The University of New South Wales

1 Jul 20141 Jun 2016

Neurobiology, PhD, Heidelberg University


Neurobiology, Diplom (BSc), Heidelberg University


Medical Biochemistry, University of Wales

1 Sep 19961 Aug 1997

External positions

Executive Secretary, Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS)

5 Dec 2018 → …

Conjoint Associate Professor, The University of New South Wales

25 May 2018 → …

Chair, 'Cell Architecture' Special Interest Group, Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

2018 → …

Organizer - Brain Awareness Week activities, The University of New South Wales

Nov 2011 → …

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  • 21 Similar Profiles
Tropomyosin Medicine & Life Sciences
Actin Cytoskeleton Medicine & Life Sciences
Actins Medicine & Life Sciences
Neurons Medicine & Life Sciences
Protein Isoforms Medicine & Life Sciences
Tropomodulin Medicine & Life Sciences
Alzheimer Disease Medicine & Life Sciences
Neurites Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2011 2021

NBR: Defining the spatial and temporal regulation of neurite branching

Fath, T., Gunning, P., Brandt, R., Klotzsch, E., Karl, T. & Delerue, F.


Project: Other

Restoring neuroprotective sphingosine 1-phosphate signalling in Alzheimer’s Disease

Don, A., Garner, B., Fath, T. & Rosen, H.


Project: Research

Targeting the synaptic actin cytoskeleton in Alzheimer's Disease

Fath, T., Fath, T., Anggono, V., Gunning, P., Power, J., Karl, T. & Masedunskas, A.


Project: Other

Novel MND mouse models

Ittner, L. M., Fath, T. & Ke, Y. D.


Project: Research

Research Outputs 2000 2019

Developmental expression of mutant PFN1 in motor neurons impacts neuronal growth and motor performance of young and adult mice

Brettle, M., Stefen, H., Djordjevic, A., Fok, S. Y. Y., Chan, J. W., van Hummel, A., van der Hoven, J., Przybyla, M., Volkerling, A., Ke, Y. D., Delerue, F., Ittner, L. M. & Fath, T., 27 Sep 2019, In : Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. 12, p. 1-12 12 p., 231.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Motor Neurons
Young Adult
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Transgenic Mice

Sphingosine 1-phosphate but not Fingolimod protects neurons against excitotoxic cell death by inducing neurotrophic gene expression in astrocytes

Tran, C., Heng, B., Teo, J. D., Humphrey, S. J., Qi, Y., Couttas, T. A., Stefen, H., Brettle, M., Fath, T., Guillemin, G. J. & Don, A. S., 19 Nov 2019, In : Journal of Neurochemistry. 16 p., e14917.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Cell death
Gene expression
Cell Death

Sphingosine kinase 2 potentiates amyloid deposition but protects against hippocampal volume loss and demyelination in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease

Lei, M., Teo, J. D., Song, H., McEwen, H. P., Yup Lee, J., Couttas, T. A., Duncan, T., Chesworth, R., Bertz, J., Przybyla, M., Van Eersel, J., Heng, B., Guillemin, G. J., Ittner, L. M., Fath, T., Garner, B., Ittner, A., Karl, T. & Don, A. S., 27 Nov 2019, In : The Journal of Neuroscience. 39, 48, p. 9645-9659 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Demyelinating Diseases
Alzheimer Disease
Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor

A novel microfluidic device-vased neurite outgrowth inhibition assay reveals the neurite outgrowth-promoting activity of tropomyosin Tpm3.1 in hippocampal neurons

Stefen, H., Hassanzadeh-Barforoushi, A., Brettle, M., Fok, S., Suchowerska, A. K., Tedla, N., Barber, T., Warkiani, M. E. & Fath, T., Nov 2018, In : Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. 38, 8, p. 1557-1563 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Lab-On-A-Chip Devices
Protein Isoforms

A selective inhibitor of ceramide synthase 1 reveals a novel role in fat metabolism

Turner, N., Lim, X. Y., Toop, H. D., Osborne, B., Brandon, A. E., Taylor, E. N., Fiveash, C. E., Govindaraju, H., Teo, J. D., McEwen, H. P., Couttas, T. A., Butler, S. M., Das, A., Kowalski, G. M., Bruce, C. R., Hoehn, K. L., Fath, T., Schmitz-Peiffer, C., Cooney, G. J., Montgomery, M. K. & 2 othersMorris, J. C. & Don, A. S., 1 Dec 2018, In : Nature Communications. 9, 1, 14 p., 3165.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Activities 2009 2017

  • 14 Organising a conference, workshop, ...
  • 4 Editorial work

Joint meeting: 6th Cell Architecture in Development and Disease Symposium (CADD)AND 11th Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease Symposium (APD)

Thomas Fath (Organiser)
30 Nov 20171 Dec 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...

Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (Journal)

Thomas Fath (Member of editorial board)
2017 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work

Scientific Reports (Journal)

Thomas Fath (Member of editorial board)
2017 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work

37th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society

Thomas Fath (Chair)
3 Dec 20176 Dec 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...

Brain Research Bulletin (Journal)

Thomas Fath (Member of editorial board)
2016 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work