Associate Professor Mirella Dottori

Research Interests

  • Developmental Neurobiology
  • Stem Cell Biology


Dr Mirella Dottori is an ARC Future Fellow and Group Leader of the Stem Cell Laboratory at the Centre for Neural Engineering, University of Melbourne, Australia. Dr Dottori undertook her PhD at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in the field of developmental neuroscience. Her studies in this area continued into her postdoctoral training years at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, USA. She then returned to Australia as a NHMRC Howard Florey Fellow and joined Professor Martin Pera’s group at Monash University to study human stem cell biology. In 2007, Dr Dottori established her own research group at the University of Melbourne. Since 2003, Dr Dottori’s research has been within the field of human pluripotent stem cell biology, which is one of the most rapidly advancing areas of medical research. Pluripotent cells can now be generated from human biopsy tissue and this technology allows the possibility of generating patient-specific stem cells for the development of cell replacement strategies as well as genetically appropriate in vitro human cellular models of disease and drug screening platforms. However, in order to achieve these objectives, it is firstly essential to understand how to regulate stem cell differentiation to a defined lineage. The major focus of Dr Dottori’s research is studying human pluripotent stem cells and their differentiation to specific lineages of the central and peripheral nervous system. Her research objectives are to create human cellular models of neural development and neurodegenerative diseases and also to develop stem cell therapies to promote regeneration within the nervous system.

Recent publications

  1. Crombie D, Curl C, Raaijmakers AJ, Sivakumaran P, Kulkarni T, Wong R, Minami I, Evans-Galea M, Lim S, Delbridge L, Corben L, Dottori M, Nakatsuji N, Trounce I, Hewitt A, Delatycki M, Pera M, Pebay A. Friedreich's ataxia induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes display electrophysiological abnormalities and calcium handling deficiency. AGING-US. Impact Journals. 2017, Vol. 9, Issue 5. DOI: 10.18632/aging.101247
  2. Lee T, Skafidas E, Dottori M, Zantomio D, Pantelis C, Everall I, Chana G. No preliminary evidence of differences in astrocyte density within the white matter of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in autism. MOLECULAR AUTISM. Biomed Central. 2017, Vol. 8. DOI: 10.1186/s13229-017-0181-5
  3. Shohayeb B, Lim NR, Ho U, Xu Z, Dottori M, Quinn L, Ng D. The Role of WD40-Repeat Protein 62 (MCPH2) in Brain Growth: Diverse Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms Required for Cortical Development. Molecular Neurobiology. Humana Press. 2017. DOI: 10.1007/s12035-017-0778-x
  4. Alshawaf A, Antonic-Baker A, Skafidas E, Ng DC-H, Dottori M. WDR62 Regulates Early Neural and Glial Progenitor Specification of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. STEM CELLS INTERNATIONAL. Hindawi Publishing Corp. 2017. DOI: 10.1155/2017/7848932
  5. Rollo BN, Zhang D, Stamp L, Menheniott T, Stathopoulos L, Denham M, Dottori M, King S, Hutson J, Newgreen D. Enteric Neural Cells From Hirschsprung Disease Patients Form Ganglia in Autologous Aneuronal Colon. Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2016, Vol. 2, Issue 1. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2015.09.007
  6. Gunewardene N, Crombie D, Dottori M, Nayagam B. Innervation of Cochlear Hair Cells by Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neurons In Vitro. STEM CELLS INTERNATIONAL. Hindawi Publishing Corp. 2016. DOI: 10.1155/2016/1781202
  7. Denham M, Hasegawa K, Menheniott T, Rollo B, Zhang D, Hough SR, Alshawaf A, Febbraro F, Ighaniyan S, Leung J, Elliott DA, Newgreen D, Pera M, Dottori M. Multipotent Caudal Neural Progenitors Derived from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells That Give Rise to Lineages of the Central and Peripheral Nervous System. STEM CELLS. AlphaMed Press. 2015, Vol. 33, Issue 6. DOI: 10.1002/stem.1991
  8. Carmona-Mora P, Widagdo J, Tomasetig F, Canales CP, Cha Y, Lee W, Alshawaf A, Dottori M, Whan RM, Hardeman EC, Palmer SJ. The nuclear localization pattern and interaction partners of GTF2IRD1 demonstrate a role in chromatin regulation. HUMAN GENETICS. Springer. 2015, Vol. 134, Issue 10. DOI: 10.1007/s00439-015-1591-0
  9. Nasr B, Chana G, Lee T, Thanh N, Abeyrathne C, D'Abaco G, Dottori M, Skafidas E. Vertical Nanowire Electrode Arrays as Novel Electrochemical Label-Free Immunosensors. SMALL. Wiley - V C H Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. 2015, Vol. 11, Issue 24. DOI: 10.1002/smll.201403540
  10. Klaric TS, Thomas PQ, Dottori M, Leong WK, Koblar SA, Lewis MD. A reduction in Npas4 expression results in delayed neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells. Stem Cell Research & Therapy. Biomed Central. 2014, Vol. 5, Issue 3. DOI: 10.1186/scrt453
  11. Evans-Galea M, Pebay A, Dottori M, Corben, Ong HS, Lockhart P, Delatycki M. Cell and gene therapy for Friedreich ataxia - progress to date. Human Gene Therapy. Mary Ann Liebert Publishers. 2014, Vol. 25, Issue 8. DOI: 10.1089/hum.2013.180
  12. Gunewardene N, Van Bergen N, Crombie D, Needham K, Dottori M, Nayagam B. Directing human induced pluripotent stem cells into a neurosensory lineage for auditory neuron replacement.. Biores Open Access. Mary Ann Liebert Publishers. 2014, Vol. 3, Issue 4. DOI: 10.1089/biores.2014.0019
  13. Needham K, Hyakumura T, Gunewardene N, Dottori M, Nayagam B. Electrophysiological properties of neurosensory progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells. Stem Cell Research. Elsevier BV. 2014, Vol. 12, Issue 1. DOI: 10.1016/j.scr.2013.10.011
  14. Bird M, Needham K, Frazier A, Van Rooijen JM, Leung J, Hough SR, Denham M, Thornton ME, Parish C, Nayagam B, Pera M, Thorburn D, Thompson L, Dottori M. Functional Characterization of Friedreich Ataxia iPS-Derived Neuronal Progenitors and Their Integration in the Adult Brain. PLoS One. Public Library of Science. 2014, Vol. 9, Issue 7. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101718
  15. Antonic-Baker A, Dottori M, Leung J, Sidon T, Batchelor P, Wilson, McLeod, Howells D. Hypothermia protects human neurons. International Journal of Stroke. Blackwell Publishing Asia. 2014, Vol. 9, Issue 5. DOI: 10.1111/ijs.12224

View a full list of publications on the University of Melbourne’s ‘Find An Expert’ profile