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Dr. Angela Laird

Research Fellow

Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Contact Details

Tel: 02 9850 2730


Level 1, 75 Talavera Rd, Macquarie University

Dr. Laird studies the pathogenesis of movement disorders with a particular focus on identifying and testing potential disease treatments. Her group has been successful at producing and characterising the world’s first zebrafish model of spinocerebellar ataxia type-3 (also known as Machado Joseph Disease, MJD). They are currently testing the effect of various drugs on these zebrafish with the aim of identifying a treatment for the disease.


BSc (Hons), PhD

 Research Interest

  • Developing transgenic zebrafish models of neurodegenerative diseases such as spinocerebellar ataxia-3 and motor neuron disease 
  • Role of proteolytic cleavage in the pathogenesis of spinocerebellar ataxia-3 
  • Potential of autophagy induction for the treatment of spinocerebellar ataxia-3 
  • Role of glutamate induced excitotoxicity in the pathogenesis of spinocerebellar ataxia-3

Select Publications

1. Laird AS, Mackovski N, Rinkwitz S, Becker TS, Giacomotto J. (2016) Tissue-specific models of spinal muscular atrophy confirm a critical role of SMN in motor neurons from embryonic to adult stages. Hum Mol Genet. Feb 16. pii: ddw044. 

2. Acosta JR, Goldsbury C, Winnick C, Badrock AP, Fraser ST, Laird AS, Hall TE, Don EK, Fifita JA, Blair IP, Nicholson GA, Cole NJ. (2014) Mutant human FUS Is ubiquitously mislocalized and generates persistent stress granules in primary cultured transgenic zebrafish cells. PLoS One. 9(6):e90572. 

3. Van Hoecke A, Schoonaert L, Lemmens R, Timmers M, Staats KA, Laird AS, Peeters E, Philips T, Goris A, Dubois B, Andersen PM, Al-Chalabi A, Thijs V, Turnley AM, van Vught PW, Veldink JH, Hardiman O, Van Den Bosch L, Gonzalez-Perez P, Van Damme P, Brown RH Jr, van den Berg LH, Robberecht W. (2012) EPHA4 is a disease modifier of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in animal models and in humans. 

Nat Med. 18(9):1418-22. 

4. Laird AS, Robberecht W. (2011) Modelling neurodegenerative diseases in zebrafish embryos. Methods Mol Biol. 793:167-84.  

5. Laird AS, Van Hoecke A, De Muynck L, Timmers M, Van den Bosch L, Van Damme P, Robberecht W. (2010) Progranulin is neurotrophic in vivo and protects against a mutant TDP-43 induced axonopathy.  PLoS One. 5(10):e13368.

Recent Grants

2014-2016 NHMRC Project Grant (CIA) Investigating drug treatments for a Machado Joseph disease using transgenic zebrafish. $428,000 

2013-2015 NHMRC Project Grant (CID) Investigating the pathogenesis of motor neuron disease using zebrafish models. $419,925 

2012- MJD Foundation Equipment Funding, Title: Equipment grant for the purchase of a ZebraLab motor tracking system. $20,000.

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