Neural Networks Laboratory
Neurons are the building blocks of behaviour
Our goal is to understand the neural activity contributing to perception and behaviour in the mammalian brain. Individual neurons are continuously bombarded with thousands of synaptic inputs which must integrate to generate an internal representation of the external environment. We investigate how the brain processes this sensory information by measuring the activity of neurons within the neocortex in vivo using a variety of techniques including two photon calcium imaging, somatic and dendritic patch-clamp recordings and optogenetics.
We are particularly interested in the activity of dendrites, which are the thin neural processes that receive the vast majority of the neuron’s synaptic input. Dendrites act as independent signalling units, integrating information according to complex computational rules. The dendritic integration of synaptic input, its modulation and influence on global brain function and behaviour is the focus on our research.
Through our work, we not only aim to reveal how sensory information is received, transformed and modulated in neurons, but also how this processing of synaptic input contributes to the overall neural network activity underlying behaviour.
A glimpse at our researchThe modulation of sensory perception by the prefrontal cortex.
The Florey's Epilepsy division is a world-leading centre for epilepsy research. The division has major groups at both the Florey’s Austin and Parkville campus. The group studies mechanisms that cause epilepsy from the level of cells to the function of the whole brain. We use technologies including advanced MRI and cutting edge cellular physiology techniques to allow us to understand genetic and acquired mechanisms that give rise to epilepsy. Together with our colleagues from The University of Melbourne and across Australia we are working towards finding a cure for epilepsy.