Joanne Nash


Associate Professor of Neurobiology







Genetic engineering in vivo and in vitro, Neurodegeneration, Neurodevelopment, Neuroprotection, Neurorestoration, Behavioural assessment, Electrophysiology, Synaptic plasticity, Novel treatment strategies, Parkinson’s disease, Striatum

Research Interests: 

We tease apart the neurobiological mechanisms regulating human behaviour and function in the healthy and diseased states. 

Our ultimate goal is to reduce the impact of central nervous system disorders on the quality of human life and society as a whole.

In neurons, particularly synapses, the harmony of protein-protein interactions, and their surrounding cytoplasm and signalling molecules regulates homeostasis, and thus neuronal health.  We study how key neuronal proteins control brain function in healthy and diseased states.  Our goal is to understand how the basal ganglia controls human behaviour.  Ultimately, our studies will result in better treatment outcomes for diseases of the basal ganglia.

We combine the most clinically and physiologically relevant behavioural, imaging and electrophysiological techniques with genetic engineering in vivo, to tease apart molecular processes regulating neurotransmission, synaptic and brain plasticity, homeostasis, and cellular metabolism. 

This work has two fundamental goals:

  1. To understand how the basal ganglia controls human behaviour
  2. To optimise treatment outcomes of people with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.

Current Projects.

Understanding the role of key synaptic proteins in controlling neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity in the basal ganglia in the healthy and diseased state.

Understanding the role of mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Parkinson’s disease.

Decoding how abnormalities in synaptic and brain plasticity drive Parkinson’s disease pathology.

Development of novel treatment strategies for Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions, e.g. mitochondrial enhancement as a disease – modifying agent.

Development of in vivo and in vitro models of neurodegenerative diseases.


Parkinson’s disease – pathology, treatments, model generation

Understanding the mechanisms regulating synaptic plasticity - Synaptic proteins, motor proteins, glutamate and interacting molecules and receptors

The role of pathological synaptic plasticity in Parkinson’s disease and L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia

Novel therapies: subtype selective NMDA antagonists, A2a receptor antagonists, SIRT3, MDMA and analogues.



  • Genetic engineering in vivo and in vitro
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Neuroprotection
  • Neurorestoration
  • Behavioural assessment
  • Electrophysiology
  • Synaptic plasticity
  • Imaging
  • Novel treatment strategies
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Striatum
  • Substantia nigra pars compacta
  • Mitochondria
  • Cell death mechanisms
  • Synaptic proteins
  • Motor proteins
  • SAP97
  • Sirtuin 3
  • Myosin VI