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Parkinson and Alzheimer Disease Laboratory

We are interested in the physical basis of neurodegeneration in human brains with special concerns for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s related diseases. Our laboratory has two complementary lines of research:

  • Neuropathology and Neurobiology
  • Oxidative Stress and Neuroprotection

Each consists of multiple specific question focused projects. All our projects are centred on perceptions of interests and importance to neurodegenerative mechanisms, drawn primarily from in-house anatomical and chemical examinations of post-mortem human brain material of patients who died from Parkinson, Alzheimer or other neurodegenerative diseases obtained through the South Australian Brain Bank and Australian Tissue Bank Consortium. The South Australian Brain Bank also runs the South Australian Brain Tissue Donor Program and is executed by Ms Robyn Flook based at Flinders Medical Centre.

Neuropathology / Neurobiology: We have a long standing interest in systematically documenting cellular and subcellular pathologies in brains of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. We use a range of immunological labelling (immunohistology, immunoblotting) and detecting (light, electron, atomic force imaging) techniques combined with molecular markers for generic or specific biological and pathogenic processes relevant to neurodegeneration, for example, alpha-synuclein for Lewy bodies and related pathologies in Parkinson’s disease, beta-amyloid and tau proteins for Alzheimer’s disease specific pathologies. In parallel, we use various in vitro systems (isolated proteins, cell organelles, cell cultures) to replicate aspects of pathologies observed in diseased human brains as models, to test derived hypotheses or dissect key steps of biological or cellular processes perceived to play a role in neurodegeneration in the disease.

Oxidative Stress / Neuroprotection: We are mapping the cellular distribution of the peroxiredoxin family and other antioxidant enzymes in the human brain and determining their association with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease pathology. We have also isolated a GPx/alpha-synuclein aggregation isolated from Parkinson's disease brain tissue and are determining if this is either chaperone mediated autophagy or endoplasmic reticulum trafficking vesicles from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus. This is a significant finding as this could indicate how Lewy bodies form or give incite into a mechanism of Lewy body degradation. We are also determining the specific pattern of toxic and oxidative damage in human brain tissue using oxidative stress biomarkers and determining if this can be replicated in a human neuronal cell. Using this same model we determining if these toxic insults result the upregulation of cellular antioxidant enzymes.


Wei Ping Gai, MB, MSc, PhD
John Power, BSc(Hons), PhD

Support Staff

Fariba Chegini, BSc(Hons), Research Assistant


Mousa Alghazwi, PhD candidate
JianQun Gao, Master of Science By Research Student


Neuropathology / Neurobiology Oxidative Stress / Neuroprotection
Dr Wei Ping Gai

Ph: (08) 8204 6439
Int Ph: +61 8 8204 6439

Email: weiping.gai@flinders.edu.au

University Profile Page

Assoc Prof John Power

Ph: (08) 8204 4240
Int Ph: +61 8 8204 4240

Email: john.power@flinders.edu.au

University Profile Page


Research Projects

Collaborative Research

Prof Heiko Braak, Dept of Clinical Neuroanatomy, The JW Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany: Human Brain Anatomy and Pathology.

Prof Poul Henning Jensen, Dept of Medical Biochemistry, Universe of Aarhus, Denmark: Alpha-Synuclein-Interacting Proteins in Neurogenerative Disease.

Assoc Prof Michael Schlossmacher, Division of Neurosciences, Ottawa Health Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Canada: Proteins associated with Lewy body disease.

Prof Peter Blumbergs (Dept of Neuropathology, IMVS Adelaide) and Dr Håkan Muyderman (Medical Biochemistry, Flinders University): The mechanisms of neurodegeneration and cellular antioxidant responses in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Dr Sonja Klebe, Dept of Anatomical Pathology, Flinders Medical Centre: Distribution of antioxidant enzymes in the human eye and their association with eye diseases.

Latest Media Appearances

  • WeiPing Gai - Encounter, Flinders University Alumni Magazine, Tapping into Flinders brain power, p22, Volume 24, 2013-14.

Recent Publications

Saadipour K, Yang M, Lim Y, Georgiou K, Sun Y, Keating D, Liu J, Wang YR, Gai  WP, Zhong JH, Wang YJ, Zhou XF (2013) Amyloid beta1-42 (Aβ42) up-regulates the expression of sortilin via the p75(NTR)/RhoA signaling pathway. Journal of Neurochemistry, 127(2):152-62

Kragh CL, Fillon G, Gysbers A, Hansen HD, Neumann M, Richter-Landsberg C, Haass C, Zalc B, Lubetzki C, Gai WP, Halliday GM, Kahle PJ, Jensen PH (2013) FAS-dependent cell death in α-synuclein transgenic oligodendrocyte models of multiple system atrophy. PLoS One, 8(1):e55243

Weetman J, Wong MB, Sharry S, Rcom-H'cheo-Gauthier A, Gai WP, Meedeniya A, Pountney DL (2013) Increased SUMO-1 expression in the unilateral rotenone-lesioned mouse model of Parkinson's disease. Neuroscience Letters, 544:119-24

Guerreiro PS, Huang Y, Gysbers A, Cheng D, Gai WP, Outeiro TF, Halliday GM (2013) LRRK2 interactions with α-synuclein in Parkinson's disease brains and in cell models. Journal of Molecular Medicine (Berlin), 91(4):513-22

Sharrad DF, Gai WP, Brookes SJ (2013) Selective coexpression of synaptic proteins, α-synuclein, cysteine string protein-α, synaptophysin, synaptotagmin-1, and synaptobrevin-2 in vesicular acetylcholine transporter-immunoreactive axons in the guinea pig ileum. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 521(11):2523-37

Wong MB, Goodwin J, Norazit A, Meedeniya AC, Richter-Landsberg C, Gai WP, Pountney DL (2013) SUMO-1 is associated with a subset of lysosomes in glial protein aggregate diseases. Neurotoxicity Research, 23(1):1-21

Zhou JX, Zhang HB, Huang Y, He Y, Zheng Y, Anderson JP, Gai WP, Liang ZG, Wang Y, Ren XM, Wang Q, Gong XL, Yang J, Wang X, Halliday G, Wang XM (2013) Tenuigenin attenuates α-synuclein-induced cytotoxicity by down-regulating polo-like kinase 3. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 19(9):688-94

Zhou J, Broe M, Huang Y, Anderson JP, Gai WP, Milward EA, Porritt M, Howells D, Hughes AJ, Wang X, Halliday GM (2011) Changes in the solubility and phosphorylation of alpha-synuclein over the course of Parkinson's disease. Acta Neuropathologica, 121(6):695-704

Pountney DL, Dickson TC, Power JH, Vickers JC, West AJ, Gai WP (2011) Association of metallothionein-III with oligodendroglial cytoplasmic inclusions in multiple system atrophy. Neurotoxicity Research, 19(1):115-22

Wilson A, Carati C, Gannon B, Haberberger R, Chataway T (2010) Aquaporin-1 in rat circumventricular organ blood vessels. Cell and Tissue Research, 340:159-168

Wang YJ, Valadares D, Sun Y, Wang X, Zhong JH, Liu XH, Majd S, Chen L, Gao CY, Chen S, Lim Y, Pollard A, Aguilar E, Gai WP, Yang M, Zhou XF (2010) Effects of proNGF on neuronal viability, neurite growth and amyloid-beta metabolism. Neurotoxicity Research, 17(3):257-67

Seidel K, Schöls L, Nuber S, Petrasch-Parwez E, Gierga K, Wszolek Z, Dickson D, Gai WP, Bornemann A, Riess O, Rami A, Den Dunnen WF, Deller T, Rüb U, Krüger R (2010) First appraisal of brain pathology owing to A30P mutant alpha-synuclein. Annals of Neurology, 67(5):684-9. Erratum in: Annals of Neurology, 67(6):841

Paleologou KE, Oueslati A, Shakked G, Rospigliosi CC, Kim HY, Lamberto GR, Fernandez CO, Schmid A, Chegini F, Gai WP, Chiappe D, Moniatte M, Schneider BL, Aebischer P, Eliezer D, Zweckstetter M, Masliah E, Lashuel HA (2010) Phosphorylation at S87 is enhanced in synucleinopathies, inhibits alpha-synuclein oligomerization, and influences synuclein-membrane interactions. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(9):3184-98



Updated February 25, 2015