Scotter Lab


Dr. Emma Scotter, PhD. Rutherford Discovery Fellow (and the team), Department of Pharmacology and Centre for Brain Research Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences University of Auckland

Current Research

Dr. Scotter heads the Motor Neuron Disease Lab at the Centre for Brain Research. Her team is focused on understanding the relationship between the deposition of protein aggregates and the death and dysfunction of various brain cells. In particular they are investigating cells of the blood-brain barrier in MND, which show impaired function that contributes to motor neuron damage. The team works with participants and with tissues:

  • Volunteers who are unaffected by neurological disease or are living with MND
  • Fixed or fresh human brain and spinal tissue
  • Brain cells grown from post mortem human brain and spinal cord tissue
  • DNA/ RNA/ proteins extracted from blood, cells, and tissues

Scotter Lab uses a range of methodology reflecting their diverse model systems:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Genomics: DNA sequencing, in situ hybridisation
  • Transcriptomics: Microarray, qRT-PCR
  • Proteomics: Immunohistochemistry, western blotting, immunocytochemistry

Relationship to MND

MND is Dr. Scotter’s primary research focus.

Future Research

Establishing a national MND genomics platform- potential collaborators are welcome to contact Dr. Scotter.


Dr. Scotter collaborates widely nationally and internationally on MND studies. Within the Centre for Brain Research she works with Professors Mike Dragunow and Richard Faull and Associate Professor Maurice Curtis. Dr. Scotter is on the Steering Committee for the NZ MND patient registry driven by Dr. Richard Roxburgh. She also collaborates on the genetics and cell biology of MND with Professor Christopher Shaw and Dr. Bradley Smith, King’s College London.


Scotter Lab works with banked human MND brain samples collected by the NZ Neurological Foundation Douglas Human Brain Bank. They also work with human MND brain cells grown by the Hugh Green BioBank.

Identified Gaps

Dr Scotter: “Personnel. Funding for postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers specifically in MND research is required to build capacity in MND research in NZ. Connections between NZ researchers with any MND research interest are also essential if we are to characterise MND here at home”.

The Team

Professor Mike Dragunow, Associate Investigator
Molecular mechanisms of human brain neurodegeneration

Dr. Deidre MacVeigh, Postdoctoral fellow
Drug discovery and mechanisms of blood-brain-barrier dysfunction

Andrew Siemens, Technician
Research support and characterisation of C9ORF72-positive human brain cells

Sarah Waters, Honours student
Mapping blood-brain-barrier leakage in motor neuron disease

Jayne McLean, Manager of the New Zealand Motor Neuron Disease Research Network

Contact Details

85 Park Road,
Private Bag 92019
Auckland New Zealand
p: +64 9 3737599 (ext. 81350) +64 9 923 1350 (Direct dial)