Morgan Newman

Morgan Newman

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


To reduce the social and financial impacts of Alzheimer's Disease, preventative treatments are needed. An increased understanding of Alzheimer's Disease is essential to the development of such treatments. Despite over 60,000 publications on Alzheimer's disease, there is still intense disagreement about what actually causes the disease. We do know that the majority of inherited cases of Alzheimer's disease are caused by changes in the Presenilin gene. We know that this gene is centrally important to the functioning of cells, but we are only beginning to understand how it works. Our laboratory is unique since we use an increasingly popular system, the zebrafish. Like humans, zebrafish possess a version of the Presenilin gene. We are currently the world's leading laboratory using zebrafish to investigate genes involved in Alzheimer's Disease. Our current aim is to generate zebrafish that have changes in their Presenilin gene that is similar to what is seen in Alzheimer's Disease. These fish will be a very valuable resource for further research on Presenilin function and will help us increase our understanding of the mechanisms behind Alzheimer's Disease.

  • NHMRC - Project Grant CIB: $755,792, 2017-2019. Identifying early molecular changes underlying familial Alzheimer’s disease.
  • NHMRC - Project Grant CID: $1,314,000, 2016-2019. Genetic Pathways to Cerebral Palsy
  • NHMRC - Project Grant CIB: $602,000, 2014-2016. Defining the changes in cell biology caused by PRESENILIN truncations assoictaed with different diseases.
  • Alzheimer’s Australia Research - Dementia Research Grant: $47,000, 2012. Modeling of FAD-like and PS2V-like PRESENILIN mutations in zebrafish embryos.
  • The Australian Federation of University Women - South Australian Postdoctoral Grant: $5000, 2012. Investigating the normal and aberrant functions of the Presenilin genes.
  • Alzheimer’s Australia Research - Dementia Research Grant: $25,000, 2010. Definition of the critical region for truncation of Presenilin 1 which results in upregualtion of  g-secretase activity.
  • Guest lecturer for Fundamentals of Biological Psychiatry, 2015-2016.
  • Mentor/Supervisor for the courses:
    • Biology I, Human Perspectives, Small Group Discovery, 2014-2016.
    • BSc Advanced program, Research Review, 2016.
    • MBBS Program, Year 3 Research and Clinical Reasoning course, Research Proposal Project, 2016.
  • Tutor for the courses:
    • Genetics IIA and IIB, 2006-2008 and 2011-2012
    • Scientific Basis of Medicine II, 2013 and 2015.
  • Practical Demonstrator for the courses:
    • Gene Expression and Human Developmental Genetics III, 2007-2008 and 2011-2012
    • Molecular and Biomedical Science Practicals, 2006-2008.
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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2017 Co-Supervisor Investigating Alzheimers Disease using Zebrafish Genetic Models Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yang Dong
    2017 Co-Supervisor Investigating the role of protein truncating mutations in Sorl1 & Psen2 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Karissa Barthelson
    2015 Co-Supervisor Investigating the Molecular Pathology of Alzheimer's Disease using the Zebrafish Model System Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Tanya Jayne
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2014 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Identifying the pathological changes caused by familial Alzheimer’s disease-like mutations in zebrafish psen2 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Haowei Jiang
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2016 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Genome engineering in the zebrafish The University of Adelaide Honours Hyo Jung Lim
    2015 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Determining subcellular localisation via fluorescence microscopy The University of Adelaide Honours Matthew Hay
    2015 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Generating a presenilin 1 zebrafish knockout The University of Adelaide Honours Kathleen Cuijvers
    2014 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Genomic engineering in zebrafish The University of Adelaide Honours Nicholas James Gunn
    2014 - ongoing Co-Supervisor In-vivo assay measuring autophagy in zebrafish The University of Adelaide Honours Nilakshi Dhananjani Dhanushika Ratnayake
    2013 - ongoing Co-Supervisor In-vivo gamma-secretase assay using zebrafish embryos. The University of Adelaide Honours Oliver Puczkowski
    2013 - ongoing Co-Supervisor In-vivo assays using zebrafish The University of Adelaide Honours Tanya Jayne
    2010 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Alternatives to Morpholino Antisense Oligonucleotides The University of Adelaide Honours Anne Lim Hwee Ling
  • Mentoring

    Date Topic Location Name
    2015 - ongoing Investigation of cerebral palsy related genes using the zebrafish The University of Adelaide Mahlia Frank
    2011 - ongoing Analysis of PS2V biological function in Alzheimer's Disease The University of Adelaide Seyed Hani Moussavi Nik
    2008 - ongoing In-vivo gamma secretase assay using zebrafish The University of Adelaide Lachlan Wilson
    2007 - ongoing Investigating presenilin 1 in the zebrafish The University of Adelaide Jason Greenslade
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  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2015 - ongoing Member Genetics Society Australia
    2014 - ongoing Member Australian Neuroscience Society
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2016 - ongoing Associate Editor Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
    2009 - ongoing Associate Editor The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

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