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Group Leader

Associate Professor Joseph Nicolazzo

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Joseph graduated with a PhD in 2004 from Monash University, focusing on buccal mucosal drug delivery. He joined the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University in 2007 as a Lecturer, where he is now an Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Graduate Research. His main research foci are (i) central nervous system (CNS) drug delivery, (ii) the role of drug transporters at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in facilitating and limiting drug access into the CNS, (iii) how transport across the BBB alters in neurodegenerative diseases, and (iv) how the BBB may be exploited to reverse pathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease and motor neurone disease. He is the author of 86 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is regularly invited to international conferences in the field of BBB biology, including the Gordon Research Conference – Barriers of the CNS and International Conference on Cerebral Vascular Biology. Joseph is President of the Australasian Pharmaceutical Science Association, Editor (Expert Reviews and Topical Collections) of Pharmaceutical Research, and an Editorial Board Member of Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, International Journal of Pharmaceutics , and Fluids and Barriers of the CNS. He received the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Young Investigator Award (2009), Early Career Research Award (2013) and Excellence in Postgraduate Supervision Award (2018).


Group Members

Post-doctoral research fellows

Dr Stephanie Newman

Stephanie completed her PhD in the Nicolazzo laboratory investigating the impact of iron on the BBB expression and function of efflux transporters using in an in vitro model of the human BBB. In her post-doctoral employment, Stephanie is assessing the expression and function of BBB transporters in mouse models of brain cancer and human brain cancer derived brain endothelial cells in an attempt to identify novel drug delivery approaches for otherwise impermeable anticancer agents.


Dr Liam Koehn

Liam completed his PhD in Professor Norman Saunders' laboratory at the University of Melbourne, investigating the permeability of medicines across the blood-brain barrier at different stages of development. He then undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in Professor Barbara Stonestreet's laboratory at the Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and Brown University, where he investigated the efficacy and mechanism of action of a novel treatment for neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injuries. In the Nicolazzo laboratory, Liam will investigate changes to the blood-brain barrier in glioblastoma multiforme in order to determine novel means of improving delivery of chemotherapeutics to the brain in this disease.


PhD students

Jae Pyun: Jae is investigating the impact of exogenous copper on the expression and function of BBB transporters in collaboration with Dr Jennifer Short and A/Prof Paul Donnelly at Bio21.

Yi Ling Low: Yi Ling is investigating the expression and function of fatty acid binding proteins and fatty acid transporters in microglia and examining their role in fatty acid uptake and disposition in this resident brain immune cell.

Sanjeevini Babu Reddiar: Sanjeevini is assessing the brain uptake of a novel Kv1.3 blocking peptide, HsTX1[R14A] and the impact of neuroinflammation on the brain uptake of this peptide in collaboration with Prof Raymond Norton.

Showmika Supti:  Showmika is investigating the impact of iron on molecular factors governing the BBB transport of docosahexaenoic acid.

Karryl Oladiran: Karryl is investigating the impact of a high-fat diet on molecular factors governing the BBB transport of docosahexaenoic acid.

Ethan Kreutzer: Ethan is investigating alterations to the blood-brain barrier transport and peripheral pharmacokinetics of various therapeutics in Alzheimer’s disease, so as to optimise medicine use in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

Luyao Liu: Luyao is assessing the blood-brain barrier modulating effects of copper-releasing compounds, particularly in mouse models of glioblastoma multiforme, to improve delivery of drugs into the brain for this disease.


PhD Alumni

Dr Carol Gee: Research Scientist, Pfizer

Dr Admire Dube: NIH Fogarty Fellow (State University of New York, Buffalo) and now Associate Professor, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Dr Liang Jin: Alzheimer’s Association USA Fellow and now Project Manager, Florey Neuroscience Institute, Melbourne

Dr Dharmini Mehta: Research Scientist, Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, Melbourne

Dr Durgesh Tiwari: American Epilepsy Fellow, Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Medical Center

Dr Yijun Pan: Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science Fellow (Tohoku University) Japan and now at the Florey Neuroscience Institute, Melbourne

Dr Mitchell McInerney: Research Scientist, Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation