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The role of autoantibodies against neuronal receptors in immune-mediated neurological and psychiatric disorders.


The neuroimmunology group investigates the role of autoimmunity and inflammation of the brain resulting in neurological disturbance in children. Over the last 5-10 years there has been explosion of interest in the role of autoantibodies in the central nervous system. Disease-specific autoantibodies generally bind to receptors and transporters involved in CNS function. Recent exciting developments include the detection of autoantibodies against the NMDA receptors resulting in encephalitis and movement disorders, and the detection of antibodies against native MOG in demyelinating diseases. In addition, there are brain immune-mediated disorders for which the exact autoantigen has not been defined yet.


Professor Russell Dale, Dr Fabienne Brilot-Turville.

Research location

Westmead - Kids Research Institute

Program type



Our group is searching for novel brain autoantigens, and also investigating the pathogenic potential of recognised autoantibodies on neuronal function. Students wishing to undertake a PhD in our group would gain experience and understanding of immunology, autoimmunity, molecular biology, and neurochemistry.

Additional information

Students would gain expertise in cellular biology, flow cytometry, confocal and real-time imaging, molecular biology, and cell signaling.

PhD Topics:
1. Investigation of pathogenic role of anti-NMDA receptor antibodies on neuronal function and cell signaling in children with encephalitis: 2. Investigation of pathogenic role of anti-MOG antibodies on oligodendrocyte function in children affected with first episode of demyelination. 3. Search for novel autoantigens in immune-mediated movement disorders: This project will continue some original and exciting work on the role of antibodies in autoimmune movement disorders such as Sydenham's chorea and Parkinsonism.

Research in this group is funded by grants from the NHRMC, The Star Scientific Foundation, and the University of Sydney. Candidates will be encouraged to apply for postgraduate scholarships.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 895

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