Molecular and cellular neuroscience

The Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience teams study the basic biology of the brain and nervous system of the fish, avian, mammalian and human brain. This knowledge is then translated into better drug treatments and therapies for people living with neurological conditions.

Applied Translational Genetics Group

This research group uses genetic and molecular biology tools to discover the basis for natural variation in human and other species with a particular focus on human disease. Part of their approach is to develop model systems to investigate disease processes particularly in neurodegenerative disorders and for application in the identification of therapies.

Developmental Brain Injury and Glial Cell Biology

Human Neurodegeneration Lab

The Human Neurodegeneration Lab’s research focuses on molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration and repair, and on developing novel treatments for brain diseases using adult human brain material, tissue microarray, primary adult human brain cell cultures, molecular pharmacology, high throughput devices and high-content analysis.

Neurosurgeon collaborators

  • Mr Edward Mee
  • Mr Patrick Schweder
  • Mr Peter Heppner
  • Mr Jason Correia

Human Brain Plasticity and Neurodegenerative Diseases Group

This research group focuses on research on enhancing brain plasticity, understanding how neurodegeneration affects the brain in different disorders, and discovering the earliest changes that occur in the brain in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Research areas of interest include neuroanatomy, neuropharmacology, brain plasticity, neurodegenerative diseases, and stem cells.

Molecular, Cellular and Network Neurophysiology

This group aims to characterise the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal damage occurring acutely during stroke, and chronically in Parkinson's disease. They try to better understand the organisation of the basal ganglia and the roles of dopamine and endocannabinoids in controlling the function of this system in physiological and pathophysiological conditions. The group also aims to identify novel therapeutic targets to improve treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Molecular Neuroendocrinology

Our two key research interests are POMC derived peptides and melanocortin receptor signalling, and pigmentation gene loci and body weight.

Molecular Neurotherapeutics

Our research interests are broad and range from the study of the molecular basis of learning and memory, to gene therapy of neurological disorders. The main common theme is the use of somatic cell gene transfer to study neuronal physiology and to treat human disease.

Motor Neuron Disease Research Lab

This team researches various aspects of Motor Neuron Disease. Model systems range from cell lines and primary cells grown from post-mortem brain and spinal cord, to those tissues themselves.

Neural Repair and Neurogenesis

Current research focuses on “reprogramming” human skin cells to human brain stem cells which allows generation and study of live human brain cells, something researchers have previously been unable to do. This allows the research team to investigate the cause and progression of neurodevelopmental and neurological disorders by reprogramming skin cells from patients with these disorders. This cutting-edge technology will enable the team to identify and test new drugs as well as use a patient’s own reprogrammed brain cells for cell replacement therapy.

Neurogenesis and Neurodegenerative Diseases of the Human Brain

Our research studies the human brain, and on in vitro and in vivo models of neurodegenerative diseases will identify the genetic, cellular and chemical basis of these diseases in order to develop and assess new treatment strategies.

Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry

Our research focuses on making and modifying naturally occurring bioactive compounds from plants, animal tissue, microbes or marine and soil organisms, which are rare or hard to isolate. Our research group also comprises a national peptide, peptidomimetic and glycopeptide chemistry facility.

NeuroImmune Interactions Research Group

Research interests of this group envelope the interactions occurring between the brain and immune system, including events that may exacerbate brain injury. We have a particular interest in the cannabinoid system and the potential of the CB2 receptor as an anti-inflammatory target for neurological diseases. Another area of interest is the development of cutting-edge technologies to advance our understanding of neuroscience.

Synaptic Function Research

Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie the physiology of neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Using electrophysiology, behaviour, and imaging techniques we investigate how changes in synaptic function could underlie neurodevelopmental and degenerative diseases, as well as normal or abnormal heart rhythms.