Synaptic Neurobiology Laboratory
Our laboratory is interested in understanding the critical role zinc plays at the synapse, as it is critical in learning and memory. This has downstream relevance to a number of different research foci within the lab, including both normal and pathological ageing (e.g. age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and Frontotemporal dementia), as well as to other conditions (such as head trauma) that are characterized by a failure of normal zinc ion homeostasis. Other diseases, such as the zinc-mediated Acrodermatitis enteropathica, are also studied within the lab.
Through close collaboration with Prana Biotechnology, as well as other local and international collaborations, we are exploring how zinc is involved in disease initiation and progression, and how it may itself be a therapeutic target. Thus, we hope to translate our basic science into effective therapeutics for these devastating conditions.
We utilize a number of techniques within the lab, such as in vivo pre-clinical models (animal behaviour, surgery, microdialysis, controlled cortical impact TBI model etc), multielectrode arrays (for high throughput electrophysiology), cell culture (primary cultures, cell lines, microfluidic cultures), synaptic RNA profiling using next generation sequencing and other more standard methodologies such as western blotting and tissue histology, including stereological analysis.
“We invite outstanding PhD candidates to meet and discuss potential projects”.
A glimpse at our researchExamining local transcriptional profiling of RNA populations in pre- and post-synaptic terminalsUnderstanding the role of metals in normal and pathological ageingCharacterising a mouse model of Acrodermatitis enteropathica
Scientists in the Neurodegeneration division interrogate how neurones live, die and can be rescued to improve brain function in degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Diseases. There is no effective treatment for Motor Neurone Disease and the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease is rising alarmingly in our aging community. Gene abnormalities, energy deprivation, toxic rubbish accumulation and inflammation all contribute to a toxic environment for brain cells. Our teams study these events in animal models and cultured cells, with a view to translating knowledge into new therapies for human patients.