Associate Professor Thomas Fath
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Dynamic processes during neuronal morphogenesis as well as neuronal plasticity in the adult nervous system are regulated by continuous remodelling and fine tuning of cytoskeletal structures, including the actin cytoskeleton. Many of these dynamic processes are controlled by the association of tropomyosins with actin Filaments. Tropomyosins comprise a large family of actin-associated proteins, which are considered as gate keepers of actin filament dynamics. The talk will focus on recent findings of how specific tropomyosin isoforms are instrumental in regulating the function of subcellular microcompartments in neurons of the developing and adult nervous system. This includes the highly specialised compartments of the axon initial segment, the dynamic growth cones of extending neurites and the post-synaptic compartment of central nervous system synapses.
A/Prof Fath heads the Cellular Neurobiology Group in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Macquarie University. Previous to this, he was the Head of the Neurodegeneration and Repair Unit (NRU) and Head of the Neuronal Culture Core Facility (NCCF) at UNSW. He received his PhD in 2002 from the University of Heidelberg, where he worked on the functional role of Tau phosphorylation in Alzheimer’s disease. He then moved to The Scripps Research Institute at La Jolla, shifting his research focus to the study of the actin cytoskeleton in neuronal function and morphogenesis. After this, Dr Fath continued his work on the actin cytoskeleton in neurons at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. In 2009, he took on a Research & Teaching position in the School of Medical Sciences at UNSW Sydney, where he established a research program, investigating cytoskeleton-associated patho-mechanisms of Neurodegenerative diseases and mechanisms of neurite.