Dr. Liddelow gained his Bachelors of Science (Hons) and Biomedical Science from the University of Melbourne, Australia, majoring in Neuroscience and Anatomy & Cell Biology.
He received his PhD with Katarzyna Dziegielewska and Norman Saunders in Pharmacology also from the University of Melbourne. His graduate work focused on the protective barriers of the brain during early development, specifically investigating ways to augment this system for delivery of drugs to the central nervous system.
As a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Ben Barres at Stanford University his research focused on astrocytes, the major glial subtype in the brain. He discovered a close association between astrocytes, microglia (the resident immune cells of the brain), and abnormal neuron function. His most recent research showed that one form of reactive astrocyte is induced by factors released by microglia. These reactive astrocytes release a toxic factor that kills specific subtypes of neurons and are present in brains of patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), as well as in Multiple Sclerosis.
Dr. Liddelow was a recipient of the NHMRC (Australia) CJ Martin Training Award (2012-2016), the Glenn Foundation award for Aging in 2016, and was named a STATNews Wunderkind in 2017.He is currently an Assistant Professor, Neuroscience & Physiology at the Neuroscience Institute at NYU Langone Health and the Principal Investigator at the Liddelow Lab, studying astrocytes in health and disease.
Astrocytes are the most abundant cells in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). They are integral to brain and spinal-cord physiology and perform many functions important for normal neuronal development, synapse formation, and proper propagation of action potentials. We still know very little, however, about how these functions change in response to immune attack, chronic neurodegenerative disease, or acute trauma.
The Liddelow lab aims to apply this knowledge to reactive astrocytes in human disease, and believes that the discovery of astrocytes with different reactive states has important implications for the development of new therapies. Ultimately, Shane and his group aim to provide a more comprehensive understanding of what astrocytes do during MS as the continue to investigate how we might ameliorate the disease by targeting astrocytes.