Adrian Dervan
Research Fellow, Genetics
Research Fellow, Trinity Inst. of Neurosciences (TCIN)


My interests are centred on the role of glial cells in central nervous system degeneration, regeneration and synaptic plasticity. For my doctoral dissertation I studied the mechanisms by which the spinal cord of the eel Anguilla spontaneously regenerates following injury. Using a complete transection paradigm we demonstrated that axonal regrowth is supported spatiotemporally by a number of different cell types that include ependymocytes, astrocytes, macrophages and meningeal cells. Each cell type is involved to a certain degree in the production of a new 'bridge' of cords tissue that provides a scaffold for growing axons to extend through the injury site and return to their distal targets. Furthermore we discovered that astroglial cells and meningeal cells, which normally interact negatively and contribute to scar formation in the injured mammalian CNS, behaved in a manner that helped form the new bridge in the injury site. This interaction, we believe, is indicative of underlying communicative mechanisms that may help contribute to a permissive environment in the injury zone and may even provide a trophic environment for regrowing axons. My work is carried out at the level of the light, confocal and electron microscope and includes tract tracing using fluorescent dyes, immunohistochemistry and intracellular filling of neurons. Analysis of material using 3D reconstruction programs for whole tissue and single cells and estimates of cell populations using design-based stereology.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Dervan AG, Meshul CK, Beales M, McBean GJ, Moore C, Totterdell S, Snyder AK, Meredith GE., Astroglial plasticity and glutamate function in a chronic mouse model of Parkinson's disease., Experimental Neurology, 190, (1), 2004, p145 - 156 Journal Article, 2004

A. G. Dervan, S. Totterdell, Y. -S. Lau and G. E. Meredith. , Altered striatal neuronal morphology is associated with astrogliosis in a chronic mouse model of Parkinson's disease. , Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 991, 2003, p1 - 4 Journal Article, 2003

Dervan, A. and B. L. Roberts , The meningeal sheath of the regenerating spinal cord of the eel, Anguilla., Anatomy and Embryology, 207, (2), 2003, p157 - 167 Journal Article, 2003

Dervan A. and B. L. Roberts , Reaction of spinal cord central canal cells to cord transection and their contribution to cord regeneration., The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 458, (3), 2003, p293 - 306 Journal Article, 2003

Dervan AG, Roberts BL, Meningeal regeneration following injury to the spinal cord of the eel: Reactions and cellular reorganization, EXPERIMENTAL NEUROLOGY, 151, (1), 1998, p156 - 156 Journal Article, 1998

Research Expertise


  • Title
    • To investigate the ability of the regenerating spinal cord to alter the extracellular environment of the wound site following injury
  • Summary
    • Following injury the adult mammalian central nervous system is unable to overcome the intrinsic inhibitory nature of the lesion site to permit injured axons to grow back to their targets. The major cell types involved are resident astrocytes that become reactive and invading meningeal fibroblasts, both of which contribute to fibroglial scar formation. In fish however, spontaneous regeneration occurs following acute injury suggesting that regrowing axons are capable of navigating the complex environs of the injury site. This project aims to assess the trophic role of the scar tissue that forms after meningeal cells invade the lesion site following spinal cord transection in a zebrafish model of spinal injury. Using in vivo manipulations in conjunction with in vitro culturing of cells we aim to characterize the injury site in the first days of recovery and investigate the intrinsic mechanisms involved that prepare the injury site for axonal regrowth.
  • Funding Agency
    • Health Research Board
  • Date From
    • 2004
  • Date To
    • 2007


Excitotoxicity; Glial biology; Medical zoology; Neurobiology; Neurodegeneration; Neuroregeneration


Awards and Honours

Research bursary from the electron microscope unit, Trinity College, University of Dublin. 1995-1997

Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics (Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland). 1996-1997

Travel award to the Seventh International Symposium on Neural Regeneration. Asilomar, California. 1997

Travel award to the Eleventh International Symposium on Neural Regeneration. Asilomar, California. 2005


Society for Neuroscience 2001 – 2006