Professor Christopher Shaw, Professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics and Director of the MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research within the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London will be the guest speaker at QBI's 2011 Peter Goodenough Memorial Lecture on 8 December.

The title of his talk is 'Major advances in our understanding of ALS place RNA processing centre stage'.

Over the past 15 years, Professor Shaw has worked on the genetics and pathobiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). His group was the first to discover mutations in the TDP-43 gene in familial and sporadic MND and demonstrated their toxicity in vivo. Although mutations are rare, they have provided a powerful biological tool to discover how TDP-43 is mislocalized and causes motor neuron degeneration.

Professor Shaw's group, in collaboration with the group of R.H Brown, contributed to the discovery of another ALS gene called FUS, which has very similar function to TDP-43. He and his colleagues are using cellular and animal models to elucidate the pathogenenic mechanisms underlying TDP-43 and FUS mislocalization and aggregation. They are also continuing the hunt for other ALS susceptibility genes using DNA capture and next generation sequencing.

This annual lecture is named in honour of the late Mr Peter Goodenough (1936 – 2004), a QBI benefactor, whose personal battle with motor neuron disease (MND) led to an inspirational bequest for fundamental scientific research.

These funds have primarily been used to establish, staff and support the Peter Goodenough and Wantoks Research Laboratory. Completed in November 2007, this laboratory is home to the Molecular Genetics of Human Disease team led by QBI’s Dr Robyn Wallace.

Motor neuron disease is the name given to a group of related brain disorders that affect the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, leading to weakness and muscle wasting. The condition results from the steady but inexorable loss of nerve cells that control muscle movement and function (motor neurons).


Event: 2011 Peter Goodenough Memorial Lecture
Speaker: Professor Christopher E. Shaw
Date: Thursday 8 December 2011
Time: 5.00pm – 6.00pm, followed by a cocktail party
Where: Auditorium, Level 7, Queensland Brain Institute, Building #79, Upland Road, The University of Queensland, St Lucia campus
RSVP: By calling +61 7 3346 6353 or by e-mailing

For more information please view the event flyer.