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Anna Barron

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Assistant Professor Anna Barron
Nanyang Assistant Professor
Principal Investigator, Neurobiology of Ageing and Disease
Research Programme: Neuroscience & Mental Health​


  • ​Roshan Naik, PhD, Research Fellow
  • Lauren Fairley, PhD student


Assistant Professor Anna Barron is a Nanyang Assistant Professor at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University and a Researcher at the Department of Functional Brain Imaging Research, the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, Japan. 
After obtaining an Honours degree and PhD in Neuroscience from The University of Western Australia, Asst Prof Barron carried out postdoctoral work at the Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California in the United States, before joining the Department of Biophysics and Life Sciences at The University of Tokyo. Her early career research has been recognised by a number of prestigious awards, including the 2008 Women in Endocrinology Young Investigators Award, 2009 American-Australian Neurological Fellowship, 2010 Invitational Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion for Science, and the 2014 Alzheimer’s Association Imaging Consortium Fellowship. In 2016, she received the elite Nanyang Assistant Professorship Award. 
Integrating in vivo Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with cellular, molecular, biochemical and behavioural approaches in preclinical animal models of disease, Asst Prof Barron has made significant contributions to our understanding of how complex ageing, neuroendocrine and lifestyle factors alter susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease. Since commencing her career in 2005, Asst Prof Barron has published more than 20 articles in the leading Neuroscience and Endocrinology journals including The Journal of Neuroscience, Neurobiology of Aging, Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology and The Journal of Endocrinology.​

Research Focus

Research in the Barron Lab is centred on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of normal and pathological brain ageing. We employ 2-photon microscopy, PET and MRI imaging modalities in combination with cellular, molecular, biochemical and behavioural methodologies to evaluate complex and dynamic pathological changes at both the cellular and system levels longitudinally in living animal models of ageing and disease. This approach promises new insights into degenerative mechanisms, potential biomarkers and candidate therapeutic targets to promote healthy brain ageing.

Inflammation & Alzheimer’s disease
Ageing is tightly associated with chronic inflammation, which has been identified as both a key contributor to the initiation and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and a compelling therapeutic target. However, inflammatory processes play a complex role in Alzheimer’s progression, with some aspects of inflammation eliciting beneficial effects, while other aspects accelerate the disease process. In order to develop effective immune therapies for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, we are working to identify (i) biomarkers that can distinguish detrimental versus trophic modes of inflammation, and (ii) therapeutic strategies that can inhibit detrimental inflammation whilst promoting beneficial effects.

Neurosteroidogenesis and neuropsychiatric disease
Neuroactive steroid hormones are potent endogenous neuromodulators affecting complex behaviours including anxiety and depression, altering susceptibility to neuropsychiatric disease and have been implicated in cognitive ageing. We are working towards understanding the mechanisms regulating biosynthesis of these hormones in the brain (a process known as neurosteroidogenesis) and to identify compounds which can promote neurosteroidogenesis for potential therapeutic use in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disease such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Lifestyle factors for successful ageing
Obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes are leading global health issues with growing evidence that metabolic abnormalities at midlife may increase the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease in later life. We are investigating the molecular links between obesity, age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, evaluating candidate neuroimaging biomarkers for detection of early midlife indicators of disease risk and evaluating the efficacy of preventative interventions.

Current Projects
  • ​Role of the translocator protein (TSPO) in inflammatory responses to Alzheimer’s neuropathology
  • Neuroprotective mechanisms of TSPO ligands
  • Efficacy of new generation TSPO ligands in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease
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Selected Publications

Barron AM, Ji B, Kito S, et al. (2018). Steroidogenic abnormalities in translocator protein knockout mice and significance in the aging male. Biochemical Journal, 475(1):75-85.

Barron AM, Tokunaga M, Zhang MR, et al. (2016). Assessment of neuroinflammation in a mouse model of obesity and β-amyloidosis using PET. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 13(1):221.

Barron AM, Garcia-Segura LM, Caruso D, et al. (2013). Ligand for translocator protein reverses pathology in a mouse model of Alzheimer's diseaseJournal of Neuroscience, 33(20): 8891-8897.

Caruso D, Barron AM, Brown MA, et al. (2013). Age-related changes in neuroactive steroid levels in 3xTg-AD miceNeurobiology of Aging, 34(4):1080-9.

Aras R, Barron AM, & Pike CJ. Caspases contribute to astrogliosis​. Brain Research, 1450:102-115.

Barron AM, & Pike CJ. (2012). Sex hormones, aging, and Alzheimer's diseaseFrontiers in Bioscience, E4, 976-997.

Barron AM, Verdile G, Taddei K, et al. (2010). Effect of chronic hCG administration on Alzheimer's-related cognition and Ab accumulation in PS1KI miceEndocrinology, 151:5380-5388.

Barron AM, Fuller SJ, Verdile G, et al. (2006). Reproductive hormones modulate oxidative stress in Alzheimer’s diseaseAntioxidants & Redox Signaling, 8(11-12): 2047-2059.

* Complete publications list: Google ScholarPubMed

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