Dr Belal Shohayeb

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Queensland Brain Institute

Overview

My research is focused on understanding brain disease mechanisms in neurodevelopmental/neurodegenerative disorders. I am also interested in how the brain develops and forms neuronal connections required for learning and memory formation. I obtained my PhD (2016-2020) from the University of Queensland in the laboratory of A/Prof. Dominic Ng where I gained comprehensive expertise in developmental neurobiology and the use of mouse models and Drosophila to study neural stem cell biology that gives rise to all neuronal subtypes in the brain. I identified novel functions of a kinase scaffolding protein involved in brain growth and hippocampal neurogenesis. I studied pathogenic mutations associated with microcephaly and identified subcellular mechanisms that contribute to the aetiology of the disease.

Following PhD, I undertook my post-doctoral training in Prof. Helen Cooper lab at Queensland Brain Institute, where I developed an interest in synaptic morphogenesis and plasticity pivotal for neuronal connectivity and brain wiring. Disruption of synaptic plasticity/connectivity results in neuropsychiatric disorders. I focused on an autism-associated gene network in hippocampal neurons that regulates actin polymerization, the main driving force for synaptic remodelling required for the processes of learning and memory.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Masters (Research) of Research, University of Nottingham

Publications

  • Sempert, Kai, Shohayeb, Belal, Lanoue, Vanessa, O’Brien, Elizabeth A., Flores, Cecilia and Cooper, Helen M. (2023). RGMa and Neogenin control dendritic spine morphogenesis via WAVE Regulatory Complex-mediated actin remodeling. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 16 ARTN 1253801, 1253801. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2023.1253801

  • Shohayeb, Belal and Cooper, Helen M. (2023). The ups and downs of Pax6 in neural stem cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 299 (5) 104680, 104680. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2023.104680

  • Rashidieh, Behnam, Shohayeb, Belal, Bain, Amanda Louise, Fortuna, Patrick R. J., Sinha, Debottam, Burgess, Andrew, Mills, Richard, Adams, Rachael C., Lopez, J. Alejandro, Blumbergs, Peter, Finnie, John, Kalimutho, Murugan, Piper, Michael, Hudson, James Edward, Ng, Dominic C. H. and Khanna, Kum Kum (2021). Cep55 regulation of PI3K/Akt signaling is required for neocortical development and ciliogenesis. PLoS Genetics, 17 (10) e1009334, e1009334. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009334

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Available Projects

  • Abnormal synapse formation leads to diminished synaptic transmission and impaired cognitive function. The goal of this project is to identify the molecular pathways that govern synaptic connectivity. This research will not only provide key insights into the fundamental principles guiding the establishment of complex neural circuits, but will also shed light on the aberrant processes contributing to autism and schizophrenia. To address these questions the successful candidate will utilize the following experimental tools: developmental mouse models, in vitro neuronal culture systems, state-of-the-art molecular and imaging approaches, including super-resolution microscopy.

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Publications

Journal Article

Other Outputs

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Abnormal synapse formation leads to diminished synaptic transmission and impaired cognitive function. The goal of this project is to identify the molecular pathways that govern synaptic connectivity. This research will not only provide key insights into the fundamental principles guiding the establishment of complex neural circuits, but will also shed light on the aberrant processes contributing to autism and schizophrenia. To address these questions the successful candidate will utilize the following experimental tools: developmental mouse models, in vitro neuronal culture systems, state-of-the-art molecular and imaging approaches, including super-resolution microscopy.