Andrew Thompson specialises in Development of vascularised brain organoids for analysis of the neural stem cell niche

Accumulating evidence suggests that a decline in the function of stem cells throughout the body may be responsible for the increased risk of disease and disability associated with the ageing among individuals. Of particular burden to society is the risk of dementia and cognitive decline in the elderly, which is associated with a decline in the regenerative capacity of the neural stem cell niche. My research aims to develop a model system to examine the neural stem cell niche using human induced pluripotent stem cells. I will use innovative tissue engineering, microfluidics and bioinformatics technologies to examine miniature replicas of the human neural stem cell niche in vitro using brain organoids. I will then investigate the changes associated with ageing in these cells and identify strategies to rejuvenate their regenerative capacity.

​I have previously worked in the Computatonal Neuroscience laboratory at the Queensland Brain Institute and examined the mechanisms of axon guidance during neuronal development and regeneration, and in the laboratory for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at the University of Queensland to investigate the how populations of cells in the brain act together to encode and process sensory information. I have been a member of the Australasian Neuroscience Society and The Society for Neuroscience, and been awarded the 2014 Paxinos Watson Award for ‘the most significant neuroscience paper published in the previous calendar year by a full member of the Australasian Neuroscience Society’.

Key Publications

Thompson AW, Scott EK (2016). Characterisation of sensitivity and orientation tuning for visually responsive ensembles in the zebrafish tectum. Sci Rep. 6:34887. Thompson AW, Vanwalleghem GC, Heap LA, Scott EK (2016). Functional Profiles of Visual-, Auditory-, and Water Flow-Responsive Neurons in the Zebrafish Tectum. Curr Biol. 26 (6) 743-54. Goodhill GJ, Faville RA, Sutherland DJ, Bicknell BA, Thompson AW, Pujic Z, Sun B, Kita EM, Scott EK (2015). The dynamics of growth cone morphology. BMC Biol. 13:10. Forbes EM, Thompson AW, Yuan J, Goodhill GJ (2012). Calcium and cAMP levels interact to determine attraction versus repulsion in axon guidance. Neuron. 74 (3) 490-503. Publication 5: Mortimer D, Pujic Z, Vaughan T, Thompson AW, Feldner J, Vetter I, Goodhill GJ (2010). Axon guidance by growth-rate modulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 107 (11) 5202-7.