Dr Courtney McDonald, NHMRC Cerebral Palsy Alliance Early Career Research Fellow

Dr Courtney McDonald is a stem cell biologist with a strong interest in neuroimmunology and is part of the Neurodevelopment and Neuroprotection research group in The Ritchie Centre. Dr Courtney McDonald is a recipient of the NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Early Career Fellowship.

Dr McDonald obtained her PhD from Monash University in 2013 working with Professor Claude Bernard where she studied the use of hAECs for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

Dr McDonald’s research focuses on the use of umbilical cord blood (UCB) cells to treat perinatal brain injury. Through the use of both small and large preclinical models her group hopes to identify key cells within UCB with immunosuppressive and neuroregenerative properties that can be used to protect the developing brain. She also works on a number of commercial collaborations, including Cytomatrix Pty Ltd, Mesoblast Ltd and Cell Care Australia.

Selected publications

  • Trounson A, McDonald C. Stem Cell Therapies in Clinical Trials: Progress and Challenges. Cell Stem Cell. 2015 Jul 2;17(1):11-22.

  • Aridas JD, McDonald CA, Paton MC, Yawno T, Sutherland AE, Nitsos I, Pham Y, Ditchfield M, Fahey MC, Wong F, Malhotra A, Castillo-Melendez M, Bhakoo K, Wallace EM, Jenkin G, Miller SL. Cord blood mononuclear cells prevent neuronal apoptosis in response to perinatal asphyxia in the newborn lamb. J Physiol. 2015 Nov 3. doi: 10.1113/JP271104

  • Courtney A McDonald, Natalie L Payne, Guizhi Sun, Leon Moussa, Christopher Siatskas, Rebecca Lim, Euan M Wallace, Graham Jenkin and Claude C. A. Bernard.  Immunosuppressive potential of human amnion epithelial cells in the treatment of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis Journal of Neuroinflammation. 2015 Jun 3;12:112

  • Courtney A McDonald, David Oehme, Yen Pham, Kilian Kelly, Silviu Itescu, Anne Gibbon and Graham Jenkin Evaluation of the safety and tolerability of a high dose intravenous infusion of allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cells. Cytotherapy. 2015 Sep;17(9):1178-87

  • Li J, McDonald C, Fahey MC, Jenkin G and Miller SL. Could cord blood cell therapy reduce preterm brain injury? Front. Neurol. 5:200, 2014.

  • Courtney McDonald, Natalie Payne, Guizhi Sun, Daniel Clayton, Mark Del Borgo, Patrick Perlmutter and Claude C.A. Bernard. Single β3-amino acid substitutions to MOG peptides suppress the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. J Neuroimmunol. Oct 8;277(1-2):67-76, 2014.

  • Courtney A McDonald*, Jacqueline M Melville*, Graeme R Polglase, Graham Jenkin and Timothy J M Moss. Maintenance of human amnion epithelial cell phenotype in pulmonary surfactant. Stem Cell Research & Therapy 5:107, 2014. *joint first authors

  • Courtney McDonald, Martin Short, Graham Jenkin and Claude Bernard. The potential of human amnion epithelial cells as an immunomodulatory and neuroregenerative treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. Applications of Perinatal Stem Cells. Springer, New York, pp. 231-242, 2014.

  • Steven Petratos, Ezgi Ozturk, Michael F Azari, Rachel Kenny, Jae Young Lee, Kylie A Magee, Alan R Harvey, Courtney McDonald, Kasra Taghian, Leon Moussa, Pei Mun Aui, Christopher Siatskas, Sara Litwak, Michael Fehlings, Stephen M Strittmatter and Claude CA Bernard. Limiting Multiple Sclerosis related axonopathology by blocking Nogo receptor and CRMP-2 phosphorylation. Brain, 135(Pt 6): 1794-1818, 2012.