Sam Lane

Sam completed a Masters of Brain and Mind Sciences from the University of Sydney, following a Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry/Computer Science) from the ANU. As a PhD student in the Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Discovery research group, his current project involves the development of 3D, human iPSC-derived models for the modelling of brain disorders. The focus of this project involves the investigation of vascular pathology in Alzheimer's Disease.

Previously, Sam held a Research Assistant position in the Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Discovery research group where he performed pre-clinical animal research investigating the transcriptomic and proteomic changes induced by a novel anti-addictive agent. He also explored the potential of novel cannabinoids in the imaging and treatment of neuroinflammation. Before this, Sam's Master's project focused on the binding and functional activity of novel CB2 ligands on microglial polarisation for potential development as imaging/therapeutic agents for neuroinflammation.

Forefront Group: Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Discovery


Prof. Michael Kassiou, Dr. Eryn Werry, Dr. Martin Engel

Affiliate Organisations:

University of Sydney, Inventia Life Sciences

Neurodegeneration of interest:



  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • 3D cell culture
  • Disease modelling

Specific Skills:

  • Stem cell culture and differentiation
  • 3D cell culture
  • Immunofluorescence imaging
  • Radioligand binding
  • Various activity assays
  • Rodent handling
  • RNA/protein extraction and purification
  • R programming, and bioinformatic data analysis

Project - Development of vascularised human brain models to improve translation in Alzheimer’s disease drug discovery

Expected completion: 2023

Disease area:

Dementia, AD

Research Project Description

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most prevalent form of dementia, and as our global population ages, the personal, societal and economic burden of this disease is rapidly increasing. Despite its prevalence, the underlying mechanisms of AD are poorly understood, partially because current in-vivo and in-vitro models used to model this disease are inadequate. 2D in-vitro models do not provide a sufficiently tissue-like environment, causing structural and functional differences in the cultured cells. While animal models can provide an enriched 3D environment, species differences in genetic background and tissue complexity impair the translatability of results, and this is underscored by the lack of disease-altering therapies resulting from these studies.

Recent advances in stem cell technology and 3D cell culture have allowed researchers to observe human derived cell types in more human tissue-like conditions, providing a platform to better understand complex diseases. This project aims to harness these technologies together with gene editing, confocal microscopy and other techniques, to develop models that can improve translatability in Alzheimer’s research. In working with Inventia Life Sciences, access to a novel 3D bioprinter allows the rapid and accurate seeding of various brain cells in matrices that allow the investigation of vascular pathology in AD.