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Leon Smyth (2019)Postdoctoral Fellow

BSc(Hons), PhD (Auckland)

Email leon.smyth@otago.ac.nz
Tel +64 3 378 1648

Research interests

Dr Leon Smyth completed his PhD with Professor Mike Dragunow at the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland. He has a background in neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, and blood-brain barrier biology, with specialist expertise in primary brain cell culture, immunofluorescence microscopy, secretome analysis, and image analysis

Dr Smyth is currently investigating the molecular basis of blood-brain barrier disruption in brain diseases, especially Alzheimer’s disease. He is focussed on how our immune system’s first responders, neutrophils, and brain resident macrophages, microglia can affect the blood-brain barrier. These two immune cells can trigger blood-brain barrier support cells, called pericytes, to die and release inflammatory molecules to enhance inflammatory responses. His uses primary brain cells to study the interactions of blood vessel cells (endothelia and pericytes), and immune cells (microglia and neutrophils) as well as tissue from human and mouse brain diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and multiple sclerosis to study these phenomena.

Dr Smyth is a Neurological Foundation Philip Wrightson Postdoctoral Fellow, and has research funding from the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation and Neurological Foundation. He co-supervises PhD student Eve van Leeuwen who is studying how neutrophils affect the structures that hold brain vessels cells together.

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Publications

Jansson, D., Dieriks, V. B., Rustenhoven, J., Smyth, L. C. D., Scotter, E., Aalderink, M., … Dragunow, M. (2021). Cardiac glycosides target barrier inflammation of the vasculature, meninges and choroid plexus. Communications Biology, 4, 260. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-01787-x

Swanson, M. E. V., Scotter, E. L., Smyth, L. C. D., Murray, H. C., Ryan, B., Turner, C., Faull, R. L. M., … Curtis, M. A. (2020). Identification of a dysfunctional microglial population in human Alzheimer’s disease cortex using novel single-cell histology image analysis. Acta Neuropathologicca Communications, 8, 170. doi: 10.1186/s40478-020-01047-9

Van Leeuwen, E., Hampton, M. B., & Smyth, L. C. D. (2020). Redox signalling and regulation of the blood-brain barrier. International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 125, 105794. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2020.105794

Larsen, P. D., Johnston, L. R., Holley, A., La Flamme, A., Smyth, L., Chua, E. W., Kennedy, M. A., & Harding, S. A. (2015). Prevalence and significance of CYP2C19*2 and CYP2C19*17 alleles in a New Zealand acute coronary syndrome population. Internal Medicine Journal, 45(5), 537-545. doi: 10.1111/imj.12698

Journal - Research Article

Jansson, D., Dieriks, V. B., Rustenhoven, J., Smyth, L. C. D., Scotter, E., Aalderink, M., … Dragunow, M. (2021). Cardiac glycosides target barrier inflammation of the vasculature, meninges and choroid plexus. Communications Biology, 4, 260. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-01787-x

Swanson, M. E. V., Scotter, E. L., Smyth, L. C. D., Murray, H. C., Ryan, B., Turner, C., Faull, R. L. M., … Curtis, M. A. (2020). Identification of a dysfunctional microglial population in human Alzheimer’s disease cortex using novel single-cell histology image analysis. Acta Neuropathologicca Communications, 8, 170. doi: 10.1186/s40478-020-01047-9

Van Leeuwen, E., Hampton, M. B., & Smyth, L. C. D. (2020). Redox signalling and regulation of the blood-brain barrier. International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 125, 105794. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2020.105794

Larsen, P. D., Johnston, L. R., Holley, A., La Flamme, A., Smyth, L., Chua, E. W., Kennedy, M. A., & Harding, S. A. (2015). Prevalence and significance of CYP2C19*2 and CYP2C19*17 alleles in a New Zealand acute coronary syndrome population. Internal Medicine Journal, 45(5), 537-545. doi: 10.1111/imj.12698

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