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Rick Livesey

2017 LiveseyRick Livesey MB BChir PhD, Wellcome Senior Investigator.

From June 2018 Rick was appointed to a new Chair of Stem Cell Biology at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health in London. His research group remains at the Gurdon Institute while the current grant continues.

Livesey Group website | Europe PMC | Pubmed

Follow on Twitter @LiveseyLab


Development, evolution and degeneration of the brain

Studying human brain development and disease in the lab.

The human cerebral cortex, the thinking, decision-making, largest part of our brain, sets us apart from other animals – and poses a challenge for biomedical researchers. Animal models cannot capture the spectrum of characteristics of the human cerebral cortex in development or disease, and so our research uses human cells in tissue culture. Our methods for differentiating human pluripotent stem cells into different types of cells allow us to study neurons and the neural circuits they make, starting from living patients’ cells. We are studying how the human cerebral cortex develops and how that differs from other animals, and how variations in development lead to disease.

We also apply these approaches to study neurodegeneration in dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. Using stem cells from patients with genetic forms of Alzheimer’s disease, we have modelled disease pathogenesis in neurons in culture. We use these systems to understand how Alzheimer’s disease starts and progresses in the brain, and to test the efficacy of potential therapeutic strategies.

Selected publications:

• Paonessa F, Evans LD, Solanki R, Larrieu D, Wray S, Hardy J, Jackson SP, Livesey FJ. (2019) Microtubules Deform the Nuclear Membrane and Disrupt Nucleocytoplasmic Transport in Tau-Mediated Frontotemporal Dementia. Cell Rep. Jan 15;26(3):582-593.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.12.085.

• Hung COY, Livesey FJ. (2018) Altered γ-Secretase Processing of APP Disrupts Lysosome and Autophagosome Function in Monogenic Alzheimer's Disease. Cell Rep. Dec 26;25(13):3647-3660.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.11.095.

• Brownjohn PW, Smith J, Solanki R, Lohmann E, Houlden H, Hardy J, Dietmann S, Livesey FJ. (2018) Functional Studies of Missense TREM2 Mutations in Human Stem Cell-Derived Microglia. Stem Cell Reports. Apr 10;10(4):1294-1307. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.03.003.

• Evans LD, Wassmer T, Fraser G, Smith J, Perkinton M, Billinton A, Livesey FJ. (2018) Extracellular Monomeric and Aggregated Tau Efficiently Enter Human Neurons through Overlapping but Distinct Pathways. Cell Rep. Mar 27;22(13):3612-3624. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.03.021.

• Brownjohn PW, Smith J, Portelius E, Serneels L, Kvartsberg H, De Strooper B, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Livesey FJ. (2017) Phenotypic Screening Identifies Modulators of Amyloid Precursor Protein Processing in Human Stem Cell Models of Alzheimer's Disease. Stem Cell Reports. Apr 11;8(4):870-882. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.02.006.

• Otani T, Marchetto MC, Gage FH, Simons BD, Livesey FJ (2016) 2D and 3D Stem Cell Models of Primate Cortical Development Identify Species-Specific Differences in Progenitor Behavior Contributing to Brain Size. Cell Stem Cell 18(4): 467-80.  

Livesey group (Nov18 to Feb19)


Phil Brownjohn • Ashley Campbell • Lewis Evans • Jayne Fisher • Elsa Ghirardini • Moritz Haneklaus • Silvia Hnatova • Christy Hung • Federica Marinaro • Steven Moore • Francesco Paonessa • James Smith • Frances St George-Hyslop • Alessio Strano • Vickie Stubbs • Ellie Tuck