Interview Greg Anderson


1. When did you hear from NCL for the very first time and how did you get incontact with the NCL foundation?

I first heard of NCL when I started my PhD with Brenda Williams at the Institute of Psychiatry, London in 2008. During this time I was working on the characterisation of a human neural progenitor cell line as a potential tool for psychiatric drug discovery. Jon Cooper and members of his lab provided my introduction to NCL through talks they gave in the department we remain part of – The Centre for the Cellular Basis of Behaviour. I first came into contact with the NCL-Stiftung when I recently started a job with Jon Cooper and Brenda Williams.


2. Please explain in short sentences your research project:

JNCL occurs as a consequence of mutations in the CLN3 gene. The effect that this exerts in different cell types of the brain remains unclear. My project seeks to identify cellular phenotypes associated with JNCL in neurons, astrocytes and microglia. By culturing different combinations of healthy and diseased cells together, I hope to identify the cell type associated with the most deleterious effects of mutation of the CLN3 gene. This 
information will be used to develop an in vitro drug screen using human neural progenitor cells.


3. What do you like about natural sciences the most?

The complexity. The incredible level of organisation, balance and control at the molecular level, giving rise to infinitely sophisticated yet seemingly simplistic behaviour.


4. What are you hoping for your project?

To identify compounds that may hold the potential to treat JNCL in the future.


5. What are you planning to do after you have finished your project?

I want to do something that’s worthwhile and fascinates me. I feel that neuroscience is such a fast moving field that it is difficult to plan too far ahead. It’s difficult to envisage the opportunities that may be available in the future, though I know I want to use my knowledge in neuroscience.


6. What do you think has to happen to bring forward the research on NCL?

More collaboration with basic scientists so as to help us understand the endogenous role of proteins, whose encoding genes are responsible for the various forms of NCL.


7. If you had three wishes, what would they be?

Plenty of everything for everyone, social equality, so people no longer feel the need to steal, cheat, be greedy or harbour a sense of injustice. Robots to do all our boring stuff so we have more time to do fun stuff. To own a teleporter (no need for a replicator thanks to my first wish!)