Research in Professor Hughes' lab is aimed at identifying molecular pathways that regulate neuronal development, maintenance and disease. Her current research focuses on transcription factors of the forebrain embryonic zinc finger family and their role in neuronal development and maintenance. She is also investigating the molecular consequences of mutations in Batten disease, a childhood neurodegenerative disorder. The lab is developing tools and gene therapy vectors for Batten, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Funding is provided by the Marsden Fund, the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand, the Otago Medical Research Foundation and the Otago School of Medical Sciences Deans Bequest Fund.