Quick Project Snapshot

Examining local transcriptional profiling of RNA populations in pre- and post-synaptic terminals

This project in the Synaptic Neurobiology lab will develop a unique and innovative technique to isolate and describe synaptic RNA populations in isolated synapses.    Localization of RNA transcripts in both axons and dendrites has been known for some time but there are limited techniques to examine how synaptic mRNAs and noncoding RNA contribute to synaptic function.  There is also some evidence of local splicing with both the splicing factors Nova and intron containing sequences localized to dendrites.  We have recently established a novel system capable of labelling and isolating growing axons and synapses for molecular biological analysis. We will use this technique, together with Next Gen sequencing, to profile the synaptic transcriptome. This project will then have application to a number of different disease models used within the lab.

A/Prof Paul Adlard

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”.


All Projects by this Lab

Examining 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.

All Labs that operate in this Division

Atomic Pathology LaboratoryCreutzfeldt Jakob Disease Clinical Research GroupMolecular Gerontology LaboratoryMotor Neurone Disease LaboratoryNational Dementia Diagnostics LaboratoryNeurochemistry of Metal IonsNeurogenesis and Neural Transplantation LaboratoryNeuropathology and Neurodegeneration LaboratoryNeuroproteomics and Metalloproteomics LaboratoryNeurotherapeutics LaboratoryParkinson's Disease LaboratoryPre-clinical Parkinson’s Disease Research LaboratoryPresynaptic Physiology Stem Cells and Neural Development LaboratorySteroid Neurobiology LaboratorySynaptic Neurobiology LaboratoryThe Australian Imaging Biomarker and Lifestyle Study (AIBL)