[ASC-media] Brain development researcher joins Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute

Rachel Taylor rachel.taylor at armi.monash.edu.au
Tue Jun 22 03:38:08 CEST 2010

*22 June 2010*



*Brain development researcher joins Australian Regenerative Medicine 

* *

Professor Nadia Rosenthal, Director Australian Regenerative Medicine 
Institute (ARMI), today announced the appointment of Dr Julian Heng as 
Group Leader at the Institute.

Dr Heng is a leading neuroscientist with a research focus on the 
genetics of brain development in mammals.

"Julian Heng is an outstanding young researcher with a bright future", 
said Professor Rosenthal.

"He will add to ARMI's developing profile in neuroscience and our 
scientific expertise in brain development", she said.

Dr Heng and his group research how brain abnormalities emerge during 
foetal development. In particular, they seek to understand how nerve 
cells are made and how they mature.

Through this work, Dr Heng and his group aim to gain a better 
understanding of how brain disorders such as epilepsy and mental 
retardation occur, as well as to explore potential new treatments for 
these neurological conditions.

"ARMI's multi-disciplinary environment, facilities and expertise will 
provide an ideal platform for my research", Dr Heng said.

"I am looking forward to working with such a diverse group of scientists 
dedicated to finding answers to a host of debilitating conditions", he said.

Dr Heng is currently a CJ Martin Research Fellow in neuroscience at the 
Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne.

ARMI is based at Monash University and is supported by funds provided by 
the Victorian Government and Monash University.

*Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute: *http://www.armi.org.au 
*Contact: Rachel Taylor 0411 288 672*



*About Dr Julian Heng*

Dr Heng studies how nerve cells of the brain are produced, and how they 
assemble into the final remarkable structure that is the cerebral 
cortex. He has a long-standing interest in the role of DNA-binding 
transcription factors which control the expression of genes necessary 
for the maturation of precursor cells into functional nerve cells of the 
mammalian brain. His goals are to understand how neural diversity is 
generated within the mammalian central nervous system, and to 
investigate novel approaches to enhance the limited regenerative 
capacity within brain.

Dr Heng received his postdoctoral training as C J Martin Fellow at the 
National Institute for Medical Research (UK), and runs research projects 
that are currently funded by the National Health and Medical Research 
Council (NH&MRC) of Australia. He also maintains collaborations with 
research groups in Japan, UK and Singapore.

*About ARMI (**www.armi.org.au* <http://www.armi.org.au>*)*

The Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute is a state-of-the-art 
research facility established with support from Monash University and 
the Government of Victoria. Located on Monash's Clayton campus, the 
Institute builds on the University's existing strengths in biomedical 

The Institute is one of the world's largest regenerative medicine and 
stem cell research hubs. Research focuses on understanding basic 
mechanisms underlying regeneration. Ultimately, this research aims to 
prevent, halt and reverse damage to vital organs due to disease, injury 
or genetic conditions. This will lead to treatments for conditions such 
as neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, arthritis, musculo-skeletal 
and cardiovascular diseases.

* *

*Dr Julian Heng---selected publications*

· *Heng, JI*, Chariot, A and Nguyen, L. Molecular layers underlying 
cytoskeletal remodelling during cortical development. */Trends in 
Neurosciences/*. 2010 Jan;33(1):38-47

· Merot, Y, Reteaux, S and *Heng, JI. *Molecular mechanisms of 
projection neuron migration and maturation in the developing cerebral 
cortex. */Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology/*. 2009 /in press/.

· *Heng, JI*, Nguyen, L.,Castro, D., Zimmer, C., Armant, O., 
Skowronska-Krawczyk, D., Bedogni, F., Matter, J-M., Hevner, R., 
Guillemot, F. Neurogenin2 controls cortical neuron migration through 
regulation of /Rnd2/. */Nature/*. 2008 Sep 4;455(7209):114-8.

· Zhao, X, *Heng, JI*, Guardavaccaro, D., Pagano, M., Guillemot, F., 
Iavarone, A., Lasorella, A. The HECT-domain ubiquitin ligase /Huwe1 
/controls neural differentiation and proliferation by destabilizing the 
N-Myc oncoprotein. */Nature Cell Biology/*. 2008 Jun;10(6):643-53*.*5

· *Heng, JI*, Moonen, G., Nguyen, L. Neurotransmitters regulate cell 
migration in the telencephalon. */European Journal of Neuroscience/*. 
2007 Aug;26(3):537-46. (Invited review)

· Nguyen L, Besson A, *Heng JI*, Schuurmans C, Teboul L, Parras C, 
Philpott A, Roberts JM, Guillemot F. p27kip1 independently promotes 
neuronal differentiation and migration in the cerebral cortex. */Genes & 
Development/*. 2006 Jun 1;20(11):1511-24.

· Ge W, He F, Kim KJ, Blanchi B, Coskun V, Nguyen L, Wu X, Zhao J, *Heng 
JI*, Martinowich K, Tao J, Wu H, Castro D, Sobeih MM, Corfas G, Gleeson 
JG, Greenberg ME, Guillemot F, Sun YE. Coupling of cell migration with 
neurogenesis by proneural bHLH factors. */Proceedings of the National 
Academy of Sciences USA/*. 2006 Jan 31;103(5):1319-24.

· Hand R, Bortone D, Mattar P, Nguyen L, *Heng JI*, Guerrier S, Boutt E, 
Peters E, Barnes AP, Parras C, Schuurmans C, Guillemot F, Polleux F. 
Phosphorylation of Neurogenin2 specifies the migration properties and 
the dendritic morphology of pyramidal neurons in the neocortex. 
*/Neuron/*. 2005 Oct 6;48(1):45-62.


Rachel Taylor

Communications and Development Officer---EMBL Australia

Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute

Monash University

Ph: +61 3 9902 9607

Fax: +61 3 9902 9729

rachel.taylor at armi.monash.edu.au

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