Ngo Group

The Ngo Group aims to untangle the neurometabolic basis of disease and how this can inform the identification of new drug strategies for neurodegeneration.

The Ngo Group, led by Group Leader Dr Shyuan Ngo, is interested in understanding how metabolic homeostasis at the systemic and cellular level can impact upon neurodegenerative processes.

The Metabolic Exploration in Neurodegenerative Disease (MEND) research program centres on Motor Neuron Disease (MND), a fatal neurological condition in which the average life expectancy is 27 months following diagnosis. In MND, the irreversible degeneration of neurons in the central nervous system leads to progressive paralysis and eventually death. There is no effective treatment for MND, and hence no cure.

The group works with people living with MND, and is also using mouse models of MND, and human myosatellite cell-derived muscle fibres and human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons to not only understand the mechanistic nature of MND, but to also conduct pre-clinical testing of potential therapeutic compounds. 

Research Areas

  • Neurometabolism
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Motor neurons
  • Skeletal muscle

Research Approach

The Group works very closely with people who are living with MND, their families, caregivers and friends. The patient-directed research is based at clinical sites around Brisbane. The Group is assessing body composition and metabolic rate, as well as dietary intake, appetite regulation, and gut dynamics to understand the impact of altered whole body metabolism and human physiology on the clinical features of disease and patient outcome.

By combining studies in humans with those in mouse and human-derived models, the goal of the Ngo group is to translate research findings into clinical trials for MND.




Industry Engagement:


As scientists, we are obligated to share our research discoveries and to contribute to the communities we serve. Those who form part of our MEND research program are actively involved in events that are aimed at raising funding and awareness for MND. We work closely with the MND and Me Foundation and with the State MND Associations that form part of MND Australia. We are passionate about our community, and we are proud and humbled to serve the wider MND community.


Since 2019

  • Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2024) How does embryonic physiology shape the divergence of brain development?
  • Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2024) Bio-inspired Nanoparticles for Mechano-Regulation of Stem Cell Fate
  • ALS Association (2024) Targeted wearable robotic exoskeletons to improve movement in patients with ALS
  • Motor Neurone Disease Research Australia Murray Geale Research Grant (2024) A blood-based nanotechnology to decipher the extracellular vesicle code in ALS
  • Motor Neurone Disease Research Australia Col Bambrick Research Grant (2024) Determining the dynamic association between mitochondria and the selective vulnerability of motor neurons in MND mice
  • Motor Neurone Disease Research Australia Daniel McLoone Major Research Initiative (2023) Australian Preclinical Research ALS (APRALS) Network: a roadmap for effective translation of therapeutics for sporadic MND (administered by Florey Institute)
  • IRCCS - Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri (2022) Intramuscular allosteric agonism of purinergic P2X7 receptor as a pharmacological approach to enhance skeletal muscle regeneration in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (FightMND administered by IRFMN)
  • Advance Queensland Women's Research Assistance Program (2021) Dr Shyuan Ngo - AQ WRAP
  • Motor Neurone Disease Research Australia Inc (2021) MND in space and time: deciphering the spatio-temporal landscape of cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous drivers of motor neuron death in MND
  • Cure for MND Foundation (2020) Targeting metabolic flexibility as a therapeutic approach for ALS (METALS)
  • The MND and ME Foundation (2020) Scott Sullivan Research Program
  • NHMRC IDEAS Grants (2020) Fine tuning metabolic flux: Modulating substrate oxidation as a therapeutic strategy in motor neuron disease (MND)
  • Metro North Hospital and Health Service (2020) Investigating the immunometabolic nature of motor neurone disease (MND): a study linking metabolism, inflammation, and clinical outcomes in MND patients
  • Motor Neurone Disease Research Australia Inc (2020) From the nucleus to the powerhouse: investigating how TDP-43-mitochondrial interactions wreak havoc in MND
  • Cure for MND Foundation - Drug Development Grants (2020) Safety and tolerability of Trimetazidine for the treatment of ALS


Click here to view Ngo group publications