Ryan O'Hare Doig

Ryan O'Hare Doig

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Dr Ryan O’Hare Doig

Head, Spinal Cord injury Research (SAHMRI)

Neil Sachse Centre for Spinal Cord Research

E: ryan.doig@sahmri.com

T: (08) 8128 4744

Dr. O'Hare Doig's early research career has focused on understanding the pathophysiology of secondary degeneration following neurotrauma to the central nervous system (CNS). He uses innovative analytical techniques to demonstrate biochemical, molecular and gross anatomical changes that occur following CNS injury. Dr. O'Hare Doig has developed and optimised a combinatorial treatment strategy incorporating pharmacotherapeutics for the treatment of CNS injury. Ryan’s combinatorial strategy has been assessed in a clinically relevant model of spinal cord injury (SCI), demonstrating significant functional recovery and tissue sparing, crucial for the translation of his research into clinical trials.

In 2017, Ryan joined the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and the Neil Sachse Centre for Spinal Cord Research, to provide his expertise in SCI and other neurotrauma models. Dr. O'Hare Doig's lab looks to help develop new techniques to provide a more accurate diagnosis and prognosis of SCI, and to identify potential treatment strategies in a clinical setting.

Research Interests

  • Neurotrauma
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nuclear imaging (PET/CT)
  • Functional imaging (fMRI)
  • Nanomedicine
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Stem cell biology
  • Glia
  • Calcium dynamics

Research projects available:

Research Project 1

Project Discovery – The 18-kDa translocator protein radioligand [18F]GE-10 as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker following spinal cord injury

Project description: One of the many consequences of spinal cord injury (SCI) is acute post-traumatic neuroinflammation, whereby there is an induced immune response characterised by cytokine and chemokine production, and immune cell infiltration. Understanding how particular biomarkers of neuroinflammation progress over the course of injury is imperative for tracking and predicting outcomes, providing accurate diagnosis and prognosis, and choosing and monitoring appropriate therapeutic interventions for SCI injured patients.

This study proposes to investigate whether positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of [18F]GE-180 will serve as a robust biomarker to discriminate innate and adaptive inflammatory responses during acute and chronic phases of SCI, respectively.

Projects available for: Third Year, Honours, Masters and/or PhD
Location:  SAHMRI, Royal Adelaide Hospital
Research project start: Current, ongoing.

Research Project 2

Project SCIN (Spinal Cord Injury Neurosexuality) – Developing a biological understanding of sexual health following spinal cord injury

Project description: Sexual health is a high priority for men and women with spinal cord injury (SCI). However, despite the advent of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (e.g. Sildenafil, marketed as Viagra) individuals with SCI still report diminished sexual satisfaction and activity after injury. The psychological impacts of SCI on sexual responses have been previously demonstrated, and various methods have been developed to developed to assess these responses. However, our understanding of the biological basis of sexual dysfunction in this context is still preliminary and there is no consensus treatment guideline or evidence-based treatment plan. This study proposes to perform detailed clinical assessment comparing the spared neurological and autonomic functions of men and women with complete SCIs with quantitative fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) read-out of cord and brain activity. This will enable evaluation of human participants in real-time and help us to elucidate the functional nature of psychogenic sexual response.

Projects available for: Honours, Masters and/or PhD
Location: SAHMRI, Royal Adelaide Hospital
Research project start:  August 2019, ongoing.

Research Project 3

Project Bridge - Bridging the gap between regenerative medicine and spinal cord injury

Project description: The human spinal cord has limited capacity for spontaneous regeneration. Regeneration and replacement of neurons and glia that undergo cell death after spinal cord injury (SCI) are the main goals of all stem cell-based therapies for SCI. However, stem cells typically show poor survival and/or differentiation under the severe conditions of SCI. Thus, translation from bench-to-bedside is clearly hindered by the lack of understanding of stem cell survival and stem cell differentiation pathways following delivery/transplantation.

This proposal uniquely explores the priming of the injured host tissue with a biocompatible graphene oxide/sodium alginate (GO/SA) scaffold, or, the engraftment of pre-conditioned dental pulp stem cells in the injured spinal cord to promote a tissue microenvironment conducive to tissue sparing and neural regeneration.

Projects available for: Third Year, Honours, Masters and/or PhD
Location: SAHMRI, University of Adelaide
Research project start: July 2019, on-going.

External Grants 

2019 - Research, Education and Programs Grant, "Project SCIN (Spinal Cord Injury Neuro-Sexuality) - Developing a biological understanding of sexual health following spinal cord injury", Lifetime Support Authority

2020 - Equipment Grant "Horizontal Ladder for the Assessment of sensorimotor deficits following spinal cord injury", SpinalCure

2020 - Start-up Grant, "Functional tissue engineering for spinal cord injury: A strategy using teeth and nanomedicine", AOSpine

2019 – Discovery and Innovation Award,  "Modulation of inflammatory responses using neural crest derived dental pulp stem cells following acute spinal cord injury", AOSpine

2018 – Early and Mid-Career Research Development Support Grant, "18-kDa translocator protein radioligand [18F]GE-180 as a neuroinflammatory biomarker following spinal cord injury, SAHMRI

2017 - Research, Education and Programs Grant, "Project Discovery - Using molecular imaging for precision medicine approaches for SCI", Lifetime Support Authority

Selected Awards & Scholarships

Early and Mid-Career Research Development Support Grant, SAHMRI

2018

Certificate of Excellence, National Neurotrauma Society,

2018

Travel Scholarship, National Neurotrauma Society

2018

Alumni Recognition Award (Community Award), Christian Brothers College

2018

Three Minute Thesis People Choice Award (Winner), Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR)

2017

Ross Wishart Memorial Award (Finalist), Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR)

2017

Travel Scholarship, Australasian Neuroscience Society

2016

Carcione Travel Scholarship, Neurotrauma Research Program

2016

Travel Scholarship, Neurotrauma Research Program

2013

Research Training Stipend Scholarship, Australian Government

2013 - 2017

Safety–Net Top–Up Scholarship, The University of Western Australia

2013 - 2017

Honours student prize (Runner-up), Symposium for Western Australian Neuroscience (SWAN)

2012

Student Awards & Scholarships

Sandra Jenkner, Research Training Program Scholarship, Faculty of Health and Medical Science, University of Adelaide

2021- 2024

Ashton Milton-Hine, University of Adelaide Summer Research Scholarship

2020 - 2021

Sandra Jenkner, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Honours Scholarship

2020

Aleesha Searle, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Honours Scholarship

2020

Teaching experience

The University of Western Australia

Lecturer, ANHB1102: Human Biology

2016 – 2018

Guest Lecturer, NEUR4010: Modern Research Tools in Neuroscience

2016

Tutor, ANHB1101/1102: Human Biology

 

Teaching Assistant, ANIM3320: Comparative Neurobiology

2014 – 2016

Teaching Assistant, NEUR3326: Advanced Neuroscience

2012 – 2016

Teaching Assistant, BIOL1130: Frontiers in Biology

2014

Teaching Assistant, DENT4101/POD4103: Anatomy Physiology & Cell Biology

2013

Teaching Assistant ANHB2217: Human Neurobiology

2012 – 2013

Student Supervision & Mentoring

Graduate

  • Sandra Jenkner (Doctor of Medicine; March 2021 – present), University of Adelaide. ‘Pre-conditioning and modulation of dental pulp stem cells for the treatment of acute spinal cord injury’. Supervisor with Prof. Stan Gronthos, A/Prof. Jillian Clark.
  • Negar Mansouri (Doctor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering; 2018-2021), University of Adelaide. ‘The Study of 3D Graphene-based Scaffolds in Neural Tissue Engineering. Supervisor with Dr. Said Al-Sarawi, Prof. Dusan Losic.
  • Sreya Santhakumar (Master in Health Science, Neuroscience; 2015-2016), University of Western Australia. Supervisor with Dr. Stuart Hodgetts.

Undergraduate          

  • Benjamin Shao En Sim (Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences Final Year Research Project; 2021), University of Adelaide. ‘Characterisation of the central and peripheral responses of inflammatory cells following acute spinal cord injury’.
  • Hosanna Ratnayake (Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences Final Year Research Project; 2021), University of Adelaide. ‘Characterisation of the central and peripheral responses of inflammatory cells following acute spinal cord injury’.
  • Sunyu Cha, (Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science [Nuclear Medicine] Honours; 2020-2021). University of South Australia. The Functionality of 18-kDa Translocator Protein Radioligand [18F]GE-180 as a Biomarker in the Diagnostic and Prognostic Evaluation of Spinal Cord Injury’. Supervisor with Prof. Dylan Bartholomeusz, Ms. Katherine Guerrero. Graduated with First Class Honours.
  • Ashton Milton-Hine (Summer Research Placement; 2020-2021), University of Adelaide. ‘Bridging the gap between regenerative medicine and spinal cord injury’.
  • Sandra Jenkner, (Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences [Advanced] Honours; 2020), University of Adelaide. Supervisor with Prof. Stan Gronthos, A/Prof. Jillian Clark. Graduated with First Class Honours.
  • Aleesha     Searle (Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences Honours; 2020), University of Adelaide. ‘Characterisation of the central and peripheral responses of inflammatory cells following acute spinal cord injury’. Graduated with First Class Honours;
  • Chad Lennon (Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences Honours; 2020). University of Adelaide. ‘Can the radioligand [18F]GE-180 be used as a diagnostic and prognostic tool following a spinal cord injury?’. Graduated with Upper Second Class Honours
  • Amelia Noone (Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences Final Year Research Project; 2019-2020), University of Adelaide. ‘Bridging the gap between regenerative medicine and spinal cord injury’.
  • Florence Muhoi (Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences Final Year Research Project; 2019-2020), University of Adelaide. ‘Bridging the gap between regenerative medicine and spinal cord injury’.
  • Amelia Rinaldi (Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences Final Year Research Project; 2019-2020), University of Adelaide. ‘Exploring [18F]GE-10 as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker following spinal cord injury’.
  • Portia-Ellen Cook (Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences Final Year Research Project; 2019-2020), University of Adelaide. Exploring [18F]GE-10 as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker following spinal cord injury’.
  • Jade Kenna (Bachelor of Science, Neuroscience; Final Year Research Placement; 2016), University of Western Australia. ‘Combinatorial ion channel inhibitor therapy for the treatment of CNS injury’.
  • Breanna Dixon (Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Final Year Research Placement; 2016) University of Western Australia.  ‘Combinatorial ion channel inhibitor therapy for the treatment of CNS injury’.
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 Co-Supervisor fMRI and PET-CT in spinal cord injury – investigation of the neural bases of sexual function and the viability of 18-kDa translocator protein radioligand [18F]GE-180 as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Georgia Elise Bright
    2022 Co-Supervisor Evaluating the role of concomitant traumatic brain injury on the development of neuropathic pain following traumatic spinal cord injury Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Keziah Jane Skein
    2021 Co-Supervisor Pre-conditioning and modulation of dental pulp stem cells for the treatment of acute spinal cord injury. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Sandra Jenkner
  • Presentation

    Date Topic Presented at Institution Country
    2021 - ongoing Developing and Characterising a Porcine Survival Model of Thoracic Contusion Spinal Cord Injury Annual Scientific Meeting Spine Society of Australia
    2021 - ongoing Developing and Characterising a Porcine Survival Model of Thoracic Contusion Spinal Cord Injury Florey Postgraduate Research Conference Florey Medical Foundation, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, The University of Adelaide
    2020 - ongoing Developing and Characterising a Porcine Survival Model of Thoracic Contusion Spinal Cord Injury South Australian Annual Scientific Meeting Australian Society for Medical Research

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