Gary Morris

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Gary Morris

Early Career Research Fellow

Medical Science Precinct , Hobart CBD Campuses

Dr. Gary Morris is (BSc, MSc, PhD) is an Early Career Research Fellow in the Discipline of Medical Sciences, Tasmanian School of Medicine, in the College of Health and Medicine. The major theme of his research is to understand how non-neuronal cells residing within the brain, and around the vasculature of the brain, contribute to brain blood flow in the healthy and injured brain.


Gary completed his BSc and MSc, majoring in biochemistry, at the University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand). His MSc research investigated the neuroprotective potential of the amyloid precursor protein alpha, a molecule relevant to the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease. After a brief stint as a Scientific Officer with New Zealand Genomics Ltd., Gary undertook a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia), within the Neurodegenerative Disease Research Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. During his PhD Gary developed an interest in brain blood flow, and how non-neuronal cells of the brain may influence brain blood flow in health and disease. In late-2019 Gary took up a position as an Early Career Research Fellow in the Perivascular Research Group, led by Associate Professor Brad Sutherland at the University of Tasmania (Hobart, Australia). In this position, Gary is investigating how injury to pericytes, a contractile cell residing on the outside of blood vessels throughout the body, may contribute to microvascular dysfunction in multiple neurological conditions, with a particular focus on stroke and dementia.

Career summary


  • PhD, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 2017.
  • MSc (with Distinction), University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, 2011
  • BSc, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, 2008


Professional practice

  • Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS)
  • Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR)


Teaching expertise

Gary supervises both undergraduate and postgraduate research projects.

View more on Dr Gary Morris in WARP

Fields of Research

  • Cardiology (incl. cardiovascular diseases) (320101)
  • Structural biology (incl. macromolecular modelling) (310112)
  • Veterinary immunology (300906)
  • Central nervous system (320903)
  • Neurology and neuromuscular diseases (320905)
  • Cellular interactions (incl. adhesion, matrix, cell wall) (310105)
  • Cellular nervous system (320902)
  • Cell physiology (320801)
  • Systems physiology (320803)
  • Neurosciences (320999)
  • Proteomics and intermolecular interactions (excl. medical proteomics) (310109)
  • Cell development, proliferation and death (310102)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding knowledge in the biomedical and clinical sciences (280103)
  • Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences (280102)
  • Clinical health (200199)
  • Treatment of human diseases and conditions (200105)
  • Expanding knowledge in the agricultural, food and veterinary sciences (280101)
  • Efficacy of medications (200102)
  • Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions (200101)


Total publications


Journal Article

(3 outputs)
2023Morris GP, Gowing EK, Courtney JM, Coombe HE, King NE, et al., 'Vascular perfusion differs in two distinct PDGFRβ-positive zones within the ischemic core of male mice 2 weeks following photothrombotic stroke', Journal of neuroscience research, (101) Article 278-292. ISSN 1097-4547 (2023) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/jnr.25146 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Courtney JM; Coombe HE; King NE; Howells DW; Sutherland BA


2022Courtney J, Morris GP, Cleary EM, Howells DW, Sutherland BA, 'Automated quantification of multiple cell types in fluorescently labeled whole mouse brain sections using QuPath', Bio-protocol, 12, (13) pp. 1-12. ISSN 2331-8325 (2022) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.21769/BioProtoc.4459 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Courtney J; Cleary EM; Howells DW; Sutherland BA


2021Courtney J-M, Morris GP, Cleary EM, Howells DW, Sutherland BA, 'An automated approach to improve the quantification of pericytes and microglia in whole mouse brain sections', eNeuro, 8, (6) pp. 1-11. ISSN 2373-2822 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0177-21.2021 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Courtney J-M; Cleary EM; Howells DW; Sutherland BA


Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Detecting microvascular injury after stroke using a blood test (2022)$9,820
Pericytes, cells controlling blood flow in the brain, are injured post-stroke. This may increase brain injury and worsen neurological disability. This project will develop a blood test for detecting pericyte injury. This test may be useful for diagnosing blood flow impairments or predicting brain injury and neurological disability post-stroke.
Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation ($9,820)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Morris GP; Sutherland BA; Howells DW; King AE; Castley HJ; Courtney J; Collins J
Can metformin and exenatide improve brain vascular function in type 2 diabetes to reduce stroke severity? (2022)$68,581
People with type 2 diabetes are four times more likely to have a stroke. As well as this, data shows that diabetic individuals who have a stroke are more likely to have a more severe stroke and are far more likely to die following a stroke. The primary treatment for stroke is to remove the clot that caused the stroke in the first place so that blood flow is restored to the affected area. Commonly prescribed anti-diabetic drugs appear to reduce diabetic stroke severity and improve patient outcomes following a stroke independently of lowering blood glucose levels, but we don't know how or why this is the case. The current project will determine whether common anti-diabetic drugs, metformin and/or glucagon like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists such as exenatide, improve the health and function of blood vessels in the diabetic brain to reduce the impact of stroke. If true, this work will demonstrate that metformin and exenatide treatment may not only be useful for lowering blood glucose levels, but also aid in reducing the burden of stroke in those with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes Australia Research Program ($68,581)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Premilovac D; Sutherland BA; Howells DW; Morris GP

Research Supervision




PhDHow Does Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy Contribute Towards Vascular and Pericyte Dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease?2021
PhDThe Role of Pericytes in Vascular Recovery Following Stroke and Ageing2021
PhDPericytes and no-reflow post-stroke2023