Professor Helen Cooper

Deputy Director (Research)

Queensland Brain Institute
+61 7 334 66354


Research Interests

  • Neural Migration
    The adult human brain contains approximately 1011 neurons which make an estimated 1014 synaptic connections. How is such a astonishing structure generated? Cell and axon migration are fundamental processes essential for establishing the architectural plan of the central nervous system during vertebrate embryogenesis. Newly born neurons migrate along predefined pathways to establish the variety of distinct structures present in the adult brain. In addition, young neurons must also extend axons to their appropriate targets in order to establish the extensive network of connections found between neurons in the adult brain. Research in the Neural Migration Laboratory focuses on the molecular signalling systems governing neural differentiation, migration and axon pathfinding in the embryonic brain. This team has now identified several important cell surface receptors essential for these developmental processes. Current research is aimed at discovering how these receptors function during key phases of nervous system development. To address these questions we use both the mouse and zebrafish as our developmental models.


  • Bachelor of Science, University of Melbourne
  • PhD, University of Melbourne


  • Chau, Tevin CY., Baek, Sungmin, Coxam, Baptiste, Skoczylas, Renae, Rondon‐Galeano, Maria, Bower, Neil I., Wainwright, Elanor N., Stacker, Steven A., Cooper, Helen M., Koopman, Peter A., Lagendijk, Anne K., Harvey, Natasha L., François, Mathias and Hogan, Benjamin M. (2021). Pkd1 and Wnt5a genetically interact to control lymphatic vascular morphogenesis in mice. Developmental Dynamics, 251 (2) dvdy.390, 336-349. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.390

  • Shohayeb, Belal, Muzar, Zukhrofi and Cooper, Helen M. (2021). Conservation of neural progenitor identity and the emergence of neocortical neuronal diversity. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 118, 4-13. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2021.05.024

  • Morcom, Laura, Gobius, Ilan, Marsh, Ashley P. L., Suárez, Rodrigo, Lim, Jonathan W. C., Bridges, Caitlin, Ye, Yunan, Fenlon, Laura R., Zagar, Yvrick, Douglass, Amelia M., Donahoo, Amber-Lee, Fothergill, Thomas, Shaikh, Samreen, Kozulin, Peter, Edwards, Timothy J., Cooper, Helen M., IRC5 Consortium, Sherr, Elliott H., Chédotal, Alain, Leventer, Richard J., Lockhart, Paul J. and Richards, Linda J. (2021). DCC regulates astroglial development essential for telencephalic morphogenesis and corpus callosum formation. eLife, 10 e61769, 1-35. doi: 10.7554/eLife.61769

View all Publications


Book Chapter

  • Cooper, Helen M. and Paterson, Yvonne (2008). Production of polyclonal antisera. Current protocols in molecular biology. (pp. 11.12.1-11.12.10) edited by Frederick M. Ausubel, Roger Brent, Robert E. Kingston, David D. Moore, J. G. Seidman and Kevin Struhl. New York, U.S.: John Wiley. doi: 10.1002/0471142727.mb1112s81

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Cooper, Helen, White, Amanda and O'Leary, Conor (2018). UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF SCHIZOPHRENIA/ AUTISM GENES IN CORTICAL DEVELOPMENT. 6th Biennial Conference of the Schizophrenia-International-Research-Society (SIRS), Florence Italy, Apr 04-08, 2018. OXFORD: OXFORD UNIV PRESS.

  • Cooper, Helen, White, Amanda and O’Leary, Conor (2018). Understanding the role of schizophrenia/autism genes in cortical development. Sixth Biennial SIRS Conference, Florence, Italy, 4-8 April 2018. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sby014.091

  • Pham, L. D., O'Leary, C. and Cooper, H. (2015). Investigating the role of the Netrin-1/RGMa receptor neogenin in adult hippocampal neurogenesis. 25th Biennial Meeting of the International-Society-for-Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific-Society-for-Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian-Neuroscience-Society, Cairns Australia, Aug 23-27, 2015. HOBOKEN: WILEY-BLACKWELL.

  • Lanoue, V., Fogg, L., Langford, M., White, A. and Cooper, H. (2015). Dual effect of the Wnt receptor Ryk in the regulation of dendritogenesis. 25th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Neurochemistry jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian‐Pacific Society for Neurochemistry in conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society, Cairns, QLD, Australia, 23–27 August 2015. Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13189

  • O'Leary, Conor, Nourse, C., Lee, N. and Cooper, H. (2015). Neogenin regulates progenitor polarity and function in the developing mouse cortex. 25th Biennial Meeting of the International-Society-for-Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific-Society-for-Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian-Neuroscience-Society, Cairns, QLD Australia, 23-27 August 2015. Chichester, West Sussex United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13189

  • Caudron, A. J., Lichanska, A.M., Cooper, H. M., Kato, N. Y. and Noakes, P. G. (2006). Altered expression of MLF1 and Zyxin in response to genetic and physical disruption of neuromuscular synapses. Australian Neuroscience Society, Sydney, 2006.

  • Fitzgerald, D. P. and Cooper, H. M. (2004). Netrin receptors and neural cell migration. Australian Neuroscience Society 24th Annual Meeting, Melbourne Convention Centre, 27-30 January. Melbourne: Australian Neuroscience Society.

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision