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David Gordon

Senior Scientist

Utilising a high throughput screening pipeline to identify drugs promoting survival in ALS motor neurons

My research is focused on using mouse models to understand the mechanisms underlying motor neuron loss in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). My ultimate aim is to identify new pathways driving ALS, or drugs that can improve translational outcomes for people living with the disease. I am particularly interested in the role of a protein called TDP-43, in which the presence of mutations drive onset and progression of ALS, as well as the adverse effects of oxidative stress on motor neuron loss.

Most recently we have utilised a cell culture model in which an ALS-associated mutant human TDP-43 is expressed in mouse embryonic stem cells, which can then be programmed to become motor neurons in vitro. Using these cells as a drug-discovery platform in high throughput screens, we have identified several pro-survival drugs, and are currently validating candidate drugs in our mouse and human cell culture models.