Toby Merson


  • (03) 9902 9606


Dr Merson completed undergraduate studies in biochemistry and molecular genetics at the University of Queensland and received his PhD from the University of Melbourne for graduate studies on adult neurogenesis conducted at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. He undertook post-doctoral training at the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne as an NHMRC/MS Research Australia Betty Cuthbert Fellow. In 2013, he established an independent laboratory within the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health as a Melbourne Neuroscience Institute Fellow. In 2016, Dr Merson was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship and was appointed Group Leader in Multiple Sclerosis Research at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University.

Click here for full list of publications on ORCID

Research interests

The Merson Group studies the cellular and molecular interactions between neurons and myelin-forming oligodendrocytes with the central nervous system.

Key interests of the group are:

  • To dissect the mechanisms that regulate myelin formation in health and disease
  • To establish the cellular and molecular players that induce axonal pathology following oligodendrocyte death
  • To develop methodologies for optimising myelin regeneration and restoring neuronal function in the damaged CNS

A major goal of our research is to develop strategies to promote myelin repair in diseases such as multiple sclerosis. The Group also has an emerging interest in the role of oligodendrocyte turnover and myelin remodelling in cognitive processes such as learning and memory and the contribution of myelin dynamics to neurological disorders.

Featured Publications

Authors Title Published In

Mitew S, Gobius I, Fenlon LR, McDougall SJ, Hawkes D, Xing YL, Bujalka H, Gundlach AL, Richards LJ, Kilpatrick TJ, Merson TD, Emery B.

Pharmacogenetic stimulation of neuronal activity increases myelination in an axon-specific manner.

Nat Commun. 2018 Jan 22;9(1):306. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02719-2.

Walsh DM, Merson TD, Landman KA, Hughes BD.

Evidence for cooperative selection of axons for myelination by adjacent oligodendrocytes in the optic nerve.

PLoS One. 2016 Nov 9;11(11):e0165673. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165673. eCollection 2016.

Walsh DM, Röth PT, Holmes WR, Landman KA, Merson TD, Hughes BD.

Is cell migration or proliferation dominant in the formation of linear arrays of oligodendrocytes?

J Theor Biol. 2016 Oct 7;406:17-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2016.06.028. Epub 2016 Jun 21.

Mitew S, Xing YL, Merson TD.

Axonal activity-dependent myelination in development: Insights for myelin repair.

J Chem Neuroanat. 2016 Oct;76(Pt A):2-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2016.03.002. Epub 2016 Mar 8.

Xing YL, Röth PT, Stratton JA, Chuang BH, Danne J, Ellis SL, Ng SW, Kilpatrick TJ, Merson TD.

Adult neural precursor cells from the subventricular zone contribute significantly to oligodendrocyte regeneration and remyelination.

J Neurosci. 2014 Oct 15;34(42):14128-46. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3491-13.2014.

Merson TD, Bourne JA.

Endogenous neurogenesis following ischaemic brain injury: insights for therapeutic strategies.

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2014 Nov;56:4-19. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2014.08.003. Epub 2014 Aug 14.

Merson TD, Castelletto S, Aharonovich I, Turbic A, Kilpatrick TJ, Turnley AM.

Nanodiamonds with silicon vacancy defects for nontoxic photostable fluorescent labeling of neural precursor cells.

Opt Lett. 2013 Oct 15;38(20):4170-3. doi: 10.1364/OL.38.004170.

Oluich LJ, Stratton JA, Xing YL, Ng SW, Cate HS, Sah P, Windels F, Kilpatrick TJ, Merson TD.

Targeted ablation of oligodendrocytes induces axonal pathology independent of overt demyelination.

J Neurosci. 2012 Jun 13;32(24):8317-30. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1053-12.2012.

Homman-Ludiye J, Merson TD*, Bourne JA*. *Co-Senior authors

The Early Postnatal Nonhuman Primate Neocortex Contains Self-Renewing Multipotent Neural Progenitor Cells.

PLoS One. 2012; 7(3): e34383. Epub 2012 Mar 28. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0034383.

Merson TD, Binder MD, Kilpatrick TJ.

Role of cytokines as mediators and regulators of microglial activity in inflammatory demyelination of the CNS.

Neuromolecular Med. 2010 Jun;12(2):99-132. doi: 10.1007/s12017-010-8112-z. Epub 2010 Mar 30.

Young KM, Merson TD, Sotthibundhu A, Coulson EJ, Bartlett PF.

p75 neurotrophin receptor expression defines a population of BDNF-responsive neurogenic precursor cells.

J Neurosci. 2007 May 9;27(19):5146-55.

Merson TD, Dixon MP, Collin C, Rietze RL, Bartlett PF, Thomas T, Voss AK.

The transcriptional coactivator Querkopf controls adult neurogenesis.

J Neurosci. 2006 Nov 1;26(44):11359-70.

Walsh DM, Merson TD, Landman KA, Hughes BD.

Evidence for Cooperative Selection of Axons for Myelination by Adjacent Oligodendrocytes in the Optic Nerve.

PLoS One. 2016 Nov 9;11(11):e0165673. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165673. eCollection 2016.