Dr Dominik Froehlich

Dr Dominik Froehlich

  • PhD (2014 - Summa cum laude; Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz). Thesis: Oligodendroglial Exosomes in Glia to Neuron Signaling
  • MSc (2009 - with distinction; Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz)

Medicine & Health
School of Biomedical Sciences

I am a neuroscientist with a broad background in genetics, neuroscience, and molecular cell biology. My research seeks to establish innovative new gene therapies for the group of devastating neurodegenerative disorders termed leukodystrophies - genetic diseases of the central nervous system white matter associated with an early onset, substantial mortality, and a lack of effective treatment options. My research has significantly advanced the understanding of these diseases and successfully utilised refined CNS-targeted gene therapy to rescue disease pathology in mice. I have over 13 years of experience in translational neuroscience including in vivo disease modelling and the development of targeted gene therapies.

At UNSW Sydney, I co-lead the CNS Gene Therapy group within the Translational Neuroscience Facility. I am a committee member of the UNSW Animal Care and Ethics Committee and engage with the non-scientific community through my work for two not-for-profit organisations. I am the Vice President and Scientific Advisor of Leukodystrophy Australia, an organisation that provides information, support, and advocacy to those affected by leukodystrophies. I am also Scientific Advisory Board Member to the Mission Massimo Foundation, aimed at accelerating the discovery of genetic variations responsible for childhood leukodystrophies and to translate these findings into clinical treatments.

  • Journal articles | 2022
    Fröhlich D; Kalotay E; von Jonquieres G; Bongers A; Lee B; Suchowerska AK; Housley GD; Klugmann M, 2022, 'Dual-function AAV gene therapy reverses late-stage Canavan disease pathology in mice.', Front Mol Neurosci, vol. 15, pp. 1061257, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnmol.2022.1061257
    Journal articles | 2016
    von Jonquieres G; Fröhlich D; Klugmann CB; Wen X; Harasta AE; Ramkumar R; Spencer ZHT; Housley GD; Klugmann M, 2016, 'Recombinant human myelin-associated glycoprotein promoter drives selective AAV-mediated transgene expression in oligodendrocytes', Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, vol. 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnmol.2016.00013
  • Conference Abstracts | 2015
    Froehlich D; Klugmann M, 2015, 'Modeling and treatment of the novel white-matter disorder HBSL', in JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY, WILEY-BLACKWELL, AUSTRALIA, Cairns, Vol. 134, pp. 284 - 285, presented at 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, AUSTRALIA, Cairns, 23 August 2015 - 27 August 2015, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000360206300716&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas Grant (2021 - 2026); Bionic-array Directed Gene Electrotransfer for Treating Focal Brain Disorders ($1,941,000)
  • Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Accelerated Research (2019 -2023)Massimo’s Mission – The Leukodystrophy Flagship ($3,000,000)
  • European Leukodystrophy Association (ELA)project grant (2019 -2022); Towards preclinical proof-of-concept for HBSL gene therapy ($316,000)
  • European Leukodystrophy Association (ELA) pilot grant (2016); Modelling and treatment of the novel leukoencephalopathy HBSL ($69,000)
  • German Research Foundation DFG - Early Career Research Fellowship (2014 -2016)Exosome-mediated nanomedicine for the treatment of leukodystrophies ($126,000)

  • UNSW Sydney SoMS New Researcher of the Year (2019)                                                                                                                               
  • UNSW Sydney SoMS Paper of the Month award (2018)     

I have established a comprehensive research program focused on developing innovative new gene therapy strategies for a group of devastating neurodegenerative disorders termed leukodystrophies. My research program can be split into two main activities:

  • Creation and characterisation of novel disease models, which are integral in understanding the underlying pathophysiology of leukodystrophies 
  • Pre-clinical efficacy studies demonstrating the effectiveness of AAV-mediated gene therapy for the treatment of leukodystrophies and other brain disorders

Professional Engagement

  • UNSW Animal Care and Ethics Committee Member (since 2021)
  • Rare Disease and Orphan Drugs Journal (RDODJ) - Editorial Board Member (since 2021)                                                                                                               
  • Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience - Guest Editor (2020); Topic: Myelin Repair: At the Crossing-Lines of Myelin Biology and Gene Therapy                                                                                                           

Social Engagement

  • Leukodystrophy Australia Foundation - Vice President and Scientific Advisor (since 2019)                                                                                                                                         
  • Mission Massimo Foundation – Scientific Advisor (since 2014)                                                                                                                                                       


  • ABC Australian Story (2018) The Massimo Mission. https://www.abc.net.au/austory/the-massimo-mission/9771118                                                                                                                                                            

My Research Supervision

I currently supervise one PhD student project:

  • Elizabeth Kalotay: Developing a gene therapy for the leukodystrophy HBSL

My Teaching

I contribute to teaching and student supervision into Science and Medicine courses, including lecturing Current Trends in Biotechnology, facilitating in the phase 1 medicine program, tutoring, and demonstrating.