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. Abu-Bonsrah K, Zhang D, Bjorksten AR, Dottori M, Newgreen D. Generation of Adrenal Chromaffin-like Cells from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. STEM CELL REPORTS. Cell Press. 2018, Vol. 10, Issue 1. DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.11.003
  2. Mattei C, Alshawaf A, D'Abaco G, Nayagam B, Dottori M. Generation of Neural Organoids from Human Embryonic Stem Cells Using the Rotary Cell Culture System: Effects of Microgravity on Neural Progenitor Cell Fate. STEM CELLS AND DEVELOPMENT. Mary Ann Liebert Publishers. 2018, Vol. 27, Issue 12. DOI: 10.1089/scd.2018.0012
  3. Gao Y, Wilson G, Bozaoglu K, Elefanty A, Stanley E, Dottori M, Lockhart P. Generation of RAB39B knockout isogenic human embryonic stem cell lines to model RAB39B-mediated Parkinson's disease. STEM CELL RESEARCH. Elsevier BV. 2018, Vol. 28. DOI: 10.1016/j.scr.2018.02.015
  4. D'Abaco G, Mattei C, Nasr B, Hudson EJ, Alshawaf AJ, Chana G, Everall I, Nayagam B, Dottori M, Skafidas E. Graphene foam as a biocompatible scaffold for culturing human neurons. ROYAL SOCIETY OPEN SCIENCE. The Royal Society Publishing. 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 3. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.171364
  5. Antonic A, Dottori M, MacLeod MR, Donnan G, Howells DW. NXY-059, a Failed Stroke Neuroprotectant, Offers No Protection to Stem Cell-Derived Human Neurons. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases. WB Saunders Co. 2018. DOI: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2018.03.015
  6. Alshawaf A, Viventi S, Qiu W, D'Abaco G, Nayagam B, Erlichster M, Chana G, Everall I, Ivanusic J, Skafidas E, Dottori M. Phenotypic and Functional Characterization of Peripheral Sensory Neurons derived from Human Embryonic Stem Cells. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. Nature Publishing Group. 2018, Vol. 8, Issue 1. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-19093-0
  7. Nasr B, Chatterton R, Yong J, Jamshidi P, D'Abaco G, Bjorksten AR, Kavehei O, Chana G, Dottori M, Skafidas E. Self-Organized Nanostructure Modified Microelectrode for Sensitive Electrochemical Glutamate Detection in Stem Cells-Derived Brain Organoids. BIOSENSORS-BASEL. MDPI AG. 2018, Vol. 8, Issue 1. DOI: 10.3390/bios8010014
  8. 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. 2018, Vol. 55, Issue 7. DOI: 10.1007/s12035-017-0778-x
  9. 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
  10. Niclis JC, Turner C, Durnall J, McDougal S, Kauhausen J, Leaw B, Dottori M, Parish C, Thompson L. Long-Distance Axonal Growth and Protracted Functional Maturation of Neurons Derived from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells After Intracerebral Transplantation. STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE. Alpha Academic. 2017, Vol. 6, Issue 6. DOI: 10.1002/sctm.16-0198
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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

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