James St John

Associate Professor James St John is Head of the Clem Jones Centre for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research. The aim of the Centre is to develop therapies to treat acquired brain injury and spinal cord injury. By combining advanced cell purification techniques with natural product drug discovery and engineering, the team is designing three-dimensional nerve bridges that will help regenerate the brain and spinal cord. James has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) and a PhD in Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne, and a Bachelor of Letters (International Development) from Deakin University. He has worked at the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland before moving to Griffith University in 2007.

Panel Discussion and Q&A
Neuroplasticity; frontiers in repair and recovery

Short Abstract
Repairing the central nervous system will require a combination therapy involving drugs to modulate the injury site to minimise the extent of damage, and also cell transplantation to replace lost cells. Research within the Clem Jones Centre for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research is focussing on both of these approaches. Our Medicines for the Nervous System program is using the vast resource of Compounds Australia and NatureBank at Griffith University to screen libraries to identify compounds that stimulate the activity of glial cells. This is important as improving endogenous cell function to clean up the injury site will create a better environment for subsequent cell transplantation. Our Brain Repair Project is determining how three-dimensional cell constructs can be transplanted into the brain to replace lost cells. 3D cell transplantation is crucial as it leads to vastly improved survival of the transplanted cells. We will discuss how our approaches to drug discovery and cell transplantation can be applied to other cell types and systems.