Dr Tosolini specialises in motor neuron biology in the context of motor neuron disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

​Dr Tosolini is a cell biologist with a focus at the intersection of axonal transport, neurotrophic factors, motor neurons and skeletal muscle, in the context of motor neuron disease (MND)/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). His research to date has focused on utilising the connectivity between skeletal muscle and motor neurons for the enhanced delivery of therapeutic agents to the spinal cord (e.g., viral-mediated gene therapy). Building upon these foundations, his postdoctoral training focused on defining the axonal transport dynamics in a number of different experimental conditions, including stimulation with different neurotrophic factors (e.g., BDNF, GDNF), α motor neuron subtypes (i.e., fast motor neurons vs slow motor neurons), and alterations to such factors in MND/ALS pathology.

Dr Tosolini has joined the laboratories of A/Prof. Shyuan Ngo (AIBN) and Dr. Derek Steyn (SBMS) to undertake a novel project looking at assessing a novel therapeutic compound in mouse models of ALS, and in as well as in ALS patient-derived muscle cultures. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Giovanni Nardo at Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, Department of Neuroscience, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

​Dr Tosolini completed his PhD in 2015 in the discipline of Anatomy at the School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales (UNSW). His PhD project focused on characterising the connectivity between various skeletal muscles and their innervating motor neuron pools, to optimally deliver agents (e.g., retrograde tracers, virus) to the spinal cord motor neurons via retrograde axonal transport. For the work produced in his PhD, Dr Tosolini was awarded a place on the Faculty of Medicine's Dean's List.

In 2016, Dr Tosolini joined the Schiavo Laboratory at University College London (UCL), UK as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate to undertake a project focused on: 1) understanding factors influencing axonal transport dynamics in distinct in vitro and in vivo models of motor neuron disease (MND)/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and 2) revealing the signalling elements governing neuronal trans-synaptic transfer.

In 2020, Dr Tosolini was awarded a Junior Non-Clinical Post-Doctoral Fellowship by the Motor Neuron Disease Association, UK to expand his work on evaluating axonal transport dynamics in mouse models of motor neuron disease (MND) as well as in diverse human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived motor neurons. This project is a direct continuation of my post-doctoral training in the Schiavo laboratory, and included a novel collaboration with Prof. Rickie Patani (Francis Crick Institute, London, UK), to evaluate axonal transport dynamics of diverse organelles in mouse and human models of MND/ALS.


  • Prof. Giampietro Schiavo, UCL (UK) – Axonal transport in MND mice and hiPSC-derived motor neurons.   

  • Dr James Sleigh, UCL (UK) – Assessing BDNF-gene therapy in MND mice.

  • Prof. Rickie Patani, UCL (UK) – Axonal transport in hiPSC-derived motor neurons.

  • Dr Nicol Birsa, UCL (UK) – In vivo investigations on FUS mice.

  • Prof. Pietro Fratta, UCL (UK) – In vivo investigations on FUS mice.

  • Prof. Elizabeth Fisher, UCL (UK) – In vivo axonal transport in humanised MND mice.

  • Dr Tom Cunningham, MRC Harwell (UK) – In vivo axonal transport in humanised MND mice.

  • Dr Samule Negro, Universita di Padova (Italy) – Investigating ROS on peripheral nerve regeneration and in MND mice.

  • Dr Marco Pirazzini, Universita di Padova (Italy) – Assessing the influence of clostridial neurotoxins on axonal transport.

  • Dr Laura Restani, CNR Neuroscienze di Pisa (Italy) – Investigating transcytosis on motor neurons.

  • Prof. Jonathan Gilthorpe, Umeå University (Sweden) – Investigating the interactions with SOD1 proteins and axonal transport machinery.

  • Dr Giovanni Nardo, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri (Italy) – Investigating the influence of P2X7 agonism as a therapeutic target for MND/ALS.

  • Prof. Elizabeth Coulson, UQ (Australia) - Investigating the role of p75NTR on axonal regeneration


  • 2021-2023 - ​MND Association (UK) Lady Edith Wolfson Junior Non-Clinical Fellowship
  • 2017 - Journal of Cell Science Travel Fellowship
  • 2011 - 2015 - National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship

Key Publications

​Tosolini A.P., Sleigh, J.N., Surana, S., Rhymes, E.R., Cahalan S.D., Schiavo, G. (2022) BDNF-dependent modulation of axonal transport is selectively impaired in ALS. Acta Neuropathologica Communications 10, 121. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40478-022-01418-4

Sleigh JN, Villarroel-Campos D, Surana S, Wickenden T, Tong Y, Simkin RL, Vargas JNS, Rhymes ER, Tosolini AP, West SJ, Zhang Q, Yang X-L, Schiavo G. (2023) Boosting peripheral BDNF rescues impaired in vivo axonal transport in CMT2D mice. JCI Insight; 8(9):e157191. https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.157191

Tosolini, A. P., Villarroel-Campos, D., Schiavo, G., Sleigh, J. N. (2021) Expanding the Toolkit for In Vivo Imaging of Axonal Transport. J. Vis. Exp. Dec 23;(178), e63471. http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/63471

Sleigh JN, Tosolini AP, Gordon D, Devoy A, Fratta P, Fisher EMC, Talbot K and Schiavo G. (2020) Mice Carrying ALS Mutant TDP-43, but Not Mutant FUS, Display In Vivo Defects in Axonal Transport of Signaling Endosomes. Cell Reports. 30 (11): 3655-3662. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.02.078

Sleigh JN*, Rossor AM*, Fellows AD, Tosolini AP and Schiavo G (2019) Axonal transport and neurological disease. Nature Review Neurology. 15: 691–703. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41582-019-0257-2

For a full list of publications, please click here