Paul Robert Fisher

Photo ofI am Professor of  Microbiology at La Trobe University here in Melbourne, Australia. I lecture to second year and third year science undergraduates and to 4th year (honours) students. Dr. Sarah Annesley and I together lead the Microbial Cell Biology Laboratory . In 2012 the group includes a research experience student, 2 Honours students, 9 Ph.D. students, a Research Assistant, Dr. Annesley and myself. Our main research interest is in studying the dysregulation of signalling pathways in brain disease using the cellular slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum as a model system.

Last updated 15 October 2013

Using Dictyostelium discoideum to study brain disease

Dictyostelium discoideum is a cellular slime mould whose natural habitat is soil and leaf litter where it predates bacteria by phagocytosis, grows and divides by mitosis. You can hear more about it in radio interviews broadcast on 29th August, 2009 (ABC Science Show interview by Robyn Williams) and the 25th June 2000 (as a ca. 4 Mb mp3 file or a ca. 9 Mb wav file on "Einstein-A-Go-Go", the weekly Sunday science broadcast from the Melbourne community radio station 3RRR).

Dictyostelium is one of a handful of nonmammalian model organisms recognized by the NIH for their importance in biomedical research.  The intracellular signalling pathways that are disturbed in diseases of the central nervous system arose in the common ancestor of plants, slime moulds, fungi and animals, with the result that they can be profitably studied in simple, readily manipulated organisms like Dictyostelium.