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Our Research Lab

The Dieriks Lab operates as part of the Centre for Brain Research at The University of Auckland. In addition to our immediate team, we also work closely with several other labs within the Centre for Brain Research and are engaged in international collaborations.

The Dieriks Lab is dedicated to fostering the development of the next generation of researchers, both within and beyond the lab. By promoting an all inclusive team environment that work hard and play hard together, we aim to nurture an enduring passion for research, knowledge and academic prowess that drives our collective pursuit of innovative and meaningful research outputs.

Group Leader


Victor Dieriks is a neuroscientist studying the early effects of α-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy. He is passionate about understanding and seeing the human brain through a microscope. He is particularly interested in the underlying causes of disease onset and symptomatology variability. His work examines how various shapes of α-synuclein can cause different disorders. Dr Dieriks ’lab uses a combination of biotechnological approaches to identify new therapeutic targets and unravel the underlying disease mechanisms. His goal is to find a therapy that will delay or stop the onset of these diseases. Beyond the lab, his hobbies include trail running, hiking and diving.


Dr Dieriks received his PhD in Biological Sciences and Master in Bioengineering in 2010 from the University Gent, Belgium. He obtained his Master's in Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship from The University of Auckland.

Gent, Belgium

Auckland, New Zealand

PhD Students

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James Wiseman is a third year doctoral student and is investigating the role of distinct α-synuclein strains in different α-synucleinopathies. James' research is focused on elucidating how different three-dimensional conformations and truncational variants of α-synuclein selectively contribute to the pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and Multiple System Atrophy. He is interrogating this line of questioning using a number of techniques, including RT-QuIC, immunohistochemistry, mass spectrometry and cell type-specific transcriptomics. Beyond the lab, James loves to play and write music and spend time on the water.

James received his BSc (Neuroscience) from The University of Sydney and his Masters in Biomedical Science from The University of Auckland.

Iwi: Ngāti Awa

Sydney, Australia

Auckland, New Zealand

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Kreesan Reddy is a second year doctoral student who is taking an α-synuclein strain-specific approach to identifying pericyte related gene targets for the discrimination and treatment of Parkinson's Disease and Multiple System Atrophy. Kreesan utilises a range of research techniques as part of this project, including immunohistochemistry, in vitro modulation of gene and protein expression, and 3D vascular modelling. In his spare time, Kreesan enjoys playing hockey, indoor netball and weightlifting.

Kreesan received his BBiomedSc (Hons) from The University of Auckland.

Durban, South Africa


Eden Yin is a first year doctoral student investigating a-synuclein strains in Parkinson's disease and potential therapeutic targets. Her research will use immunohistochemistry, cell reprogramming, and RT-QuIC techniques to validate protein targets across the brain that could reduce a-synuclein accumulation, and explore how a-synuclein strains may affect symptomatology. In her free time Eden enjoys spending time outdoors and at the beach, and she also competes and performs with a South Auckland-based hip hop dance crew.

Eden received her BSc (Hons) in Neuroscience from The University of Otago.

Auckland, New Zealand
Guangdong & Hong Kong, China

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Kyrah Thumbadoo is a final-year doctoral student in the Motor Neuron Disease Research Lab led by Dr. Emma Scotter, and the Synuclein Lab co-supervised by Dr Victor Dieriks. Kyrah’s research focuses on  exploring the pathogenic profile of ubiquilin 2 gene mutations and resulting pathology in motor neuron disease through clinical meta-analyses of published literature, multiplex fluorescent immunohistochemistry on the human brain tissue of affected individuals, and through functional assessment of mutant vs wildtype ubiquilin 2 protein in patient-derived fibroblasts. When she is not in the lab, Kyrah enjoys playing music, dabbling in art, and fitness.


Kyrah received her BHSc (Public Health), BSc (Pharmacology) bachelor’s degrees, and BSc (Hons) from the University of Auckland.


Durban, South Africa


David Gordon is a third year doctoral student in the Motor Neuron Disease Research Lab led by Dr. Emma Scotter, and the Synuclein Lab co-supervised by Dr Victor Dieriks. David’s research centres around repressing the expression of disease-linked UBQLN2 gene mutations through a variety of approaches, including antisense oligonucleotides and CRISPR technologies. Out of the lab, David enjoys gardening and reading.


David received his BBiomedSc (Hons) from the University of Auckland.


Waimate, New Zealand 

Past Students

Amber Carmichael-Lowe is a Biomedical Science student pursuing her Honours degree at the University of Auckland. She is currently exploring the function of the SMARCC2 protein in neurodegenerative disorders. Her research focuses on the localisation of SMARCC2 to alpha-synuclein aggregates in post-mortem Parkinson’s MTG brain tissue sections, utilising IHC techniques. 

Driven by her personal connections to those impacted by Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, Amber aspires to use her research to aid the development of therapies for these conditions. Beyond her academic pursuits, Amber is an avid traveller who aims to explore diverse cultures through studying abroad in the future.


Auckland, New Zealand


Cameron Ryall completed his BSc (Hon) in 2022, in which he used immunohistochemistry to validate the differential expression of several proteins of interest in post-mortem human Parkinson’s disease brain tissue. He is interested in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and, in particular, how medical genetics can help us to understand such complex diseases. In 2023, he will commence his doctorate at The University of Cambridge. Cameron loves to play cricket and guitar, and tramp to New Zealand’s most beautiful locations.


Queenstown, New Zealand


Dipshay Chand is a first year doctoral student investigating neuromelanin in the brain, in the context of Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, he is interested in the relationship between neuromelanin and metals as they are important for neuromelanin-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging, a potentially useful biomarker for the early detection of Parkinson’s disease. Dipshay was part of the lab during his honours research project and recently completed a summer research internship. Outside of the lab, he enjoys playing video games, cooking, and trying new food from all over the world.


Dipshay received his Bachelor of Science from The University of Auckland.


Lautoka, Fiji
Auckland, New Zealand


Mikayla Ibarra is a third-year student at The University of Auckland studying Biomedical Sciences (Neuroscience). Using immunohistochemistry, she is validating the expression of antibodies in Parkinson's disease brains. She is also conducting a systematic literature review on the effects of aromatherapy on Parkinson's patients and the public misconceptions of the disease. Her interests revolve around palliative care and further understanding neuropathologies. Mikayla wants to study medicine whilst being actively involved in research.

Outside of her studies, she enjoys archery, volleyball, and volunteering in multiple health organisations.


Singapore, Philippines

Wellington, New Zealand


Brionne Fleming is a neuroscientist studying the early effects of α-synucleinopathies. She is investigating the role of SMARCC2 and Matrix Metallopeptidase 2 in Parkinson’s disease. Brionne knows first-hand how important it is to take care of the brain. Having suffered three brain concussions during her undergrad studies at Otago University has only increased her curiosity to study the brain. She has a special interest to investigate traumatic brain injury with respect to the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and personality disorders and also how it influences hormonal changes. 

Brionne received her Bachelor of Science (Neuroscience)  from The University of Otago.


Ethan Chen received his BSc (Hons) from The University of Auckland in 2021 and is due to commence his doctorate in 2023. His PhD project aims to identify novel therapeutic targets that ameliorate the abnormal accumulation and aggregation of α-synuclein. Beyond academia, Ethan loves swimming and playing basketball.

Auckland, New Zealand


Celina Tsui is a summer intern who is in her third year at The University of Auckland medical school. Currently, she is using immunohistochemistry to validate the expression of different proteins in the post-mortem human Parkinson's disease brain tissue. She is also conducting a systemic literature review to investigate the link between the circadian rhythm and Parkinson's disease. Amongst the research and clinical work, she hopes to one day help treat and improve the quality of life of Parkinson's patients. Outside of her studies, Celina enjoys playing violin in various music groups, swimming, and spending quality time with family and friends.


Celina is currently undergoing her MBChB (III) at The University of Auckland.


Auckland, New Zealand 


Lana Kiddie-Vai spent her summer internship validating antibodies using a immunohistochemistry protocol for Parkinson’s Disease. In addition, she carried out a systematic literature review to investigate the effects of singing on communication and swallowing in people living with Parkinson’s Disease. Lana is interested in Māori and Pacific Health research and learning about how human cultures affect health and disease. Outside the lab Lana enjoys sports, history, and reading. She is currently in her final year of her BA majoring in Health and Society, and Anthropology. 


Iwi/Hapu: Te Arawa, Ngati Tura Te Ngakau


Auckland, New Zealand.


Briana Stephenson spent her summer internship validating Casein Kinase II as a potential gene target for Parkinson's disease in the middle temporal gyrus using high content screening tissue microarrays. In addition, she conducted a systematic literature review to investigate the extent to which exercise has been studied as a means of improving quality of life and attenuating the symptom burden of Parkinson's disease patients. Briana is passionate about improving quality of life, Māori health outcomes and promoting exercise as an adjuvant therapy to all diseases. In her spare time, Briana loves sport, especially track and field. She also enjoys being outdoors and exploring beaches and bush walks with her family.

Briana received her BSc (Physiology) from The University of Auckland

Tainui, Ngati Tiipa, Ngati Kahungunu

Waipukurau, Hawkes Bay

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Elizabeth Arrowsmith spent her summer internship validating Casein Kinase II as a potential gene target for Parkinson's disease in the middle temporal gyrus using high content screening tissue microarrays. Elizabeth also conducted a systematic literature review to investigate the potential for meditative frequency stimulation therapies to target motor and non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease. After her project, Elizabeth co-authored a popular press article with the Lab Head. Her main interest is neurology and understanding the chemical interactions between skincare ingredients. Outside the lab, Elizabeth enjoys hiking and swimming.

Elizabeth received her BSc (Biomedical Science - Neuroscience) from The University of Auckland


Auckland, New Zealand


Centre for Brain Research


Distinguished Professor
Sir Richard Faull

Director of the Centre for Brain Research


Co-Director of the Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank

Co-Director of NeuroValida


Professor Maurice Curtis

Co-Director of the Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank

Head of Department of Anatomy

and Medical Imaging

Co-Director of NeuroValida


Professor Mike Dragunow

Director of the Hugh Green Biobank

Director of the High Content Screening Facility

Co-Director of NeuroValida


Professor Bronwen Connor

Head of the Neural Reprogramming and Repair Lab


Dr Emma Scotter

Head of Motor Neuron Disease Lab

PhD, BSc (Hons) - The University of Auckland


Dr Helen Murray

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Research Head 

PhD, BSc (Hons) - The University of Auckland

International Collaborators


Professor Ronald Melki

Université Paris-Saclay Institute of Neuroscience, France

Research Director at the Centre National

de la Recherche Scientifique


Professor Glenda Halliday

NHMRC Leadership Fellow, University of Sydney, Australia


We are very grateful for and would like to acknowledge the contributions of all our generous funders who collectively make the research we do possible.

2023 Te Titoki Mataora RAP stage 2 funding 

Healthcare application and information resource for tāngata whaiora with Parkinson's

Dr Victor Dieriks (Lead Investigator)

2022 Catalyst Seeding

Untangling Multiple System Atrophy through a strategic partnership with the University of Sydney

Dr Victor Dieriks (Lead Investigator)

2022 Te Titoki Mataora RAP stage 1 funding 

Addressing the healthcare needs of Parkinson’s disease in New Zealand patients and whanau, an integrative approach.

Dr Victor Dieriks (Lead Investigator)

2020 Neurological Foundation Project Grant  

Alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease. Are ‘strains’ key in finding therapeutics? 

Dr Victor Dieriks (Lead Investigator), Prof. Maurice Curtis 

2020 Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship and School of Medical Science  

Decreasing alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease. Are ‘strains’ the solution?
Dr Victor Dieriks (Lead Investigator)

2019 Michael J Fox Foundation Project Grant
A novel therapeutic target for Parkinson’s disease - does alpha-synuclein induce inflammation in human brain pericytes? 
Prof. Dragunow (Co-PI), Dr Victor Dieriks (Project author, Co-PI), Dr Helen Murray (Co-PI), Prof. Curtis (Co-PI)       

2019 Centre for Brain Research - Ian and Sue Parton Parkinson’s Disease Grant 

Alpha-synuclein strains in pericytes.                      
Dr Victor Dieriks (Lead Investigator)

2018 Centre for Brain Research - Ian and Sue Parton Parkinson’s Disease Grant

Alpha-synuclein strains in pericytes.                 
Dr Victor Dieriks (Lead Investigator)


Grants, Fellowships & Scholarships within the Lab

2023 Auckland University Doctoral Scholarship

Alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease: Are strains the solution to early detection and novel therapeutics?

Scholarship: Eden Yin

2021 Auckland Medical Research Foundation Doctoral Scholarship 

A strain-specific approach: Identifying proteins associated with unique alpha-Synuclein polymorphs for the distinction and treatment of different synucleinopathies 
Scholarship: Reddy Kreesan

2020 Neurological Foundation W & B Miller Doctoral Scholarship 

Investigating the role of distinct α-synuclein strains in different α-synucleinopathies 

Scholarship: James Wiseman

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