Shane gained his Bachelors of Science (Hons) and Biomedical Science from the University of Melbourne, Australia, majoring in Neuroscience and Anatomy & Cell Biology. He received his PhD with Katarzyna Dziegielewska and Norman Saunders in Pharmacology also from the University of Melbourne. His graduate work focused on the protective barriers of the brain during early development, specifically investigating ways to augment this system for delivery of drugs to the central nervous system.
As a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Ben Barres at Stanford University his research focused on astrocytes, the major glial subtype in the brain. He discovered a close association between astrocytes, microglia (the resident immune cells of the brain), and abnormal neuron function. His most recent research showed that one form of reactive astrocyte is induced by factors released by microglia. These reactive astrocytes release a toxic factor that kills specific subtypes of neurons and are present in brains of patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), as well as in Multiple Sclerosis.