Our People

Anthony White

Associate Professor | Group Leader

Cellular and Molecular Neurodegeneration

tony.white@qimrberghofer.edu.au

CAREER HISTORY

Associate Professor White is a Principal Research Fellow (Group Leader) and NHMRC Senior Research Fellow (SRFA) (2017-2021) at QIMR Berghofer, where he leads a group researching cellular processes in neurodegenerative diseases with a focus on developing new human cell models of neurodegeneration. He received his PhD from Murdoch University (1996) followed by post-doctoral appointments at the University of Melbourne (1996-2001) and Imperial College, London (2001-2003). In 2003, he was appointed at the University of Melbourne (2003-2016) and moved to QIMR Berghofer in 2016. He has over 150 research publications, obtained over $12 million in competitive research funding and co-founded a start-up biotech company, Procypra Therapeutics. His research has led to the development of first-in-class metal-drugs as a new therapeutic approach to neurodegeneration, leading to a novel copper-based metal-drug currently in clinical trials for motor neuron disease and Parkinson’s disease. 

 

CURRENT APPOINTMENTS

2016-current: Principal Research Fellow (Group Leader)

2017-2021: NHMRC Senior Research Fellow

 

OTHER APPOINTMENTS

  • Honorary Principal Research Fellow, University of Queensland
  • Honorary Principal Research Fellow, Queensland University of Technology
  • Adjunct Professor of Translational Neuroscience at A.I. Virtanen Institute, Finland

 

PREVIOUS APPOINTMENTS

2004-2016: Principal Research Fellow (Associate Professor), Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne

2003: Senior Research Officer, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

2001-2002: Research Associate, Imperial College of Medicine, London, UK

1996-2001: Senior Research Fellow, Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne

 

ORCID NUMBER 

0000-0003-1802-9891

 

RESEARCHER ID

P-5596-2016

 

CURRENT AREA OF RESEARCH

The Cellular and Molecular Neurodegeneration laboratory investigates the cause and potential treatments for brain diseases including dementia (Alzheimer’s disease), motor neuron disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and Parkinson’s disease. These disorders, collectively known as neurodegenerative diseases, are a growing health issue in Australia and worldwide with few treatment options available. In order to gain a better understanding of these diseases and develop new therapeutic approaches, the research team is currently developing new human brain cell culture methods for microglia, brain endothelial cells, organoids (mini-brains), and olfactory (nasal) cells.

The Lab is utilising these new 2D and 3D human brain cell models to understand brain disease pathways, and the impact of environmental factors such as air pollution, SARS-CoV-2, and bushfire smoke on brain health. The team has also established platforms for drug screening to identify potential new therapeutics for treatment of brain diseases.

 

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

  • Demonstration of safe and effective opening of a human Alzheimer’s disease blood brain barrier model by focused ultrasound. Stem Cell Reports (2020) 14, 924-939
  • Establishment of 2D and 3D cell models for human microglia, brain endothelial cells, olfactory cells, and mini-brain organoids
  • Development of copper-based therapeutic from concept to clinical trials for motor neuron disease (Roberts et al., Journal of Neuroscience (2014) 34, 8021-31)
  • Identification of key role for zinc transporter Zip7 in Batten (neurodegenerative) disease (Grubman et al., Acta Neuropathologica Communications (2014) 2(1):25.)
  • Key advances in X-Ray imaging of metals in cells and tissues at the Australian Synchrotron (Grubman et al., Chemical Science (2014) 5, 2503 – 2516)
  • Developed the concept of metal redistribution as a therapeutic approach to treat neurodegeneration (Crouch et al., Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA (2009) 106, 381-386)
  • First to demonstrate protection of prion-infected mice by passive immunization (White et al., Nature (2003) 422, 80-83)
  • First to demonstrate a biological impact for copper binding to the amyloid precursor protein of Alzheimer’s disease (White et al., Journal of Neuroscience (1999) 19, 9170-9179)

 

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research
  • Neuroimmunology Australia
  • International Society for Neurochemistry
  • Australian Neuroscience Society
  • International Society for Zinc Biology
  • International Biometals Society

 

AWARDS RECOGNITION

2017-2021

  • NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship

2016

  • ISN Symposium Award – The Roles of Copper in Neuroscience and Common Neurodegenerative Diseases, at Copper 2016, Sorrento, Italy

2013

  • Sigrid Juselius Foundation Travel Award for research travel to Finland

2012

  • Dyason Travel Fellowship for travel to Finland

2011

  • NHMRC Ten of the Best Research Projects Award

2005-2007

  • Young Investigator travel award, International Society for Neurochemistry
  • Patent licenced to Collaborative Medicinal Development LLC (USA)
  • Co-founding scientist, Procypra Therapeutics
  • Associate Editor, Neurochemistry International

 

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

1996: PhD Murdoch University, Australia

1991: BSc (Hons) Murdoch University, Australia