Research Theme Beyond the Neuron

Professor James Fawcett

University Position


Axon regeneration in the damaged CNS: Regeneration of axons after CNS damage is blocked by several molecules in the environment and by loss of intrinsic regeneration ability, We modify the environment to make it more permissive and modify axonal properties to improve regeneration. Plasticity is the main mechanism for functional recovery after damage to the nervous system. In childhood plasticity is largely turned off by extracellular matrix structures called perineeuronal nets. By moduating their function we can improve functional recovery and memory in the adult CNS. Interfacing the nervous system with electronics: We are developing a microchannel interface prosthesis which allows permanent extracellular recording from axons. This technology is being developed for control of bladder function in paralyzed human and veterinary patients, and for controlling prosthetic limbs.

Key Publications

Improving adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector-mediated transgene expression in retinal ganglion cells: comparison of five promoters.

Journal: Gene Ther
E-pub date: 1 Jun 2023
Authors: B Nieuwenhuis, E Laperrousaz, JR Tribble, J Verhaagen, JW Fawcett, KR Martin, PA Williams, A Osborne

Optimization of adeno-associated viral vector-mediated transduction of the corticospinal tract: comparison of four promoters.

Journal: Gene Ther
E-pub date: 1 Feb 2021
Authors: B Nieuwenhuis, B Haenzi, S Hilton, A Carnicer-Lombarte, B Hobo, J Verhaagen, JW Fawcett

Protrudin functions from the endoplasmic reticulum to support axon regeneration in the adult CNS.

Journal: Nat Commun
E-pub date: 5 Nov 2020
Authors: V Petrova, CS Pearson, J Ching, JR Tribble, AG Solano, Y Yang, FM Love, RJ Watt, A Osborne, E Reid, PA Williams, KR Martin, HM Geller, R Eva, JW Fawcett

PI 3-kinase delta enhances axonal PIP3 to support axon regeneration in the adult CNS.

Journal: EMBO Mol Med
E-pub date: 7 Aug 2020
Authors: B Nieuwenhuis, AC Barber, RS Evans, CS Pearson, J Fuchs, AR MacQueen, S van Erp, B Haenzi, LA Hulshof, A Osborne, R Conceicao, TZ Khatib, SS Deshpande, J Cave, C Ffrench-Constant, PD Smith, K Okkenhaug, BJ Eickholt, KR Martin, JW Fawcett, R Eva

Integrins promote axonal regeneration after injury of the nervous system.

Journal: Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc
E-pub date: 31 Aug 2018
Authors: B Nieuwenhuis, B Haenzi, MR Andrews, J Verhaagen, JW Fawcett

Astrocyte response to motor neuron injury promotes structural synaptic plasticity via STAT3-regulated TSP-1 expression.

Journal: Nat Commun
E-pub date: 11 Jul 2014
Authors: GE Tyzack, S Sitnikov, D Barson, KL Adams-Carr, NK Lau, JC Kwok, C Zhao, RJM Franklin, RT Karadottir, JW Fawcett, A Lakatos


Hyperactive PI3Kinase delta enables long distance regeneration of the rat corticospinal tract

E-pub date: 1 Nov 2023
Authors: K Karova, Z Polcanova, S Suchankova, L Knight, B Nieuwenhuis, R Holota, V Herynek, LM Urdzikova, R Turecek, JCF Kwok, J Verhaagen, R Eva, JW Fawcett, P Jendelova

Chondroitin 6-sulphate is required for neuroplasticity and memory in ageing.

Journal: Mol Psychiatry
E-pub date: 1 Oct 2021
Authors: S Yang, S Gigout, A Molinaro, Y Naito-Matsui, S Hilton, S Foscarin, B Nieuwenhuis, CL Tan, J Verhaagen, T Pizzorusso, LM Saksida, TM Bussey, H Kitagawa, JCF Kwok, JW Fawcett

Axonal Organelles as Molecular Platforms for Axon Growth and Regeneration after Injury.

Journal: Int J Mol Sci
E-pub date: 11 Feb 2021
Authors: V Petrova, B Nieuwenhuis, JW Fawcett, R Eva

Selective rab11 transport and the intrinsic regenerative ability of CNS axons.

Journal: Elife
E-pub date: 8 Aug 2017
Authors: H Koseki, M Donegá, BY Lam, V Petrova, S van Erp, GS Yeo, JC Kwok, C Ffrench-Constant, R Eva, JW Fawcett

Transcriptome analysis of embryonic and adult sensory axons reveals changes in mRNA repertoire localization.

Journal: RNA
E-pub date: 1 Jan 2011
Authors: LF Gumy, GSH Yeo, Y-CL Tung, KH Zivraj, D Willis, G Coppola, BYH Lam, JL Twiss, CE Holt, JW Fawcett