Institution: The University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute


The broad research aim of his group is to further understanding of brain function through the identification and characterisation of genes with naturally occurring mutations in patients with intellectual disability, autism, some, primarily monogenic, forms of epilepsy and cerebral palsy. Many of these genes pointed to new and unexpected biological pathways essential for normal brain function (e.g. non-sense mediated mRNA decay, NMD). The current focus of his research is in the functional interpretation of genetic variation, coding and non-coding, identified with next generation genomic technologies, using various cell and molecular biology tools, including patient cell (including stem cell) and animal models.

Institution: University of South Australia


The Body in Mind research concentration is focussed on shedding light on how the brain responds and processes pain, and in turn developing non-pharmocological treatments to help the millions of people who suffer from chronic pain. Led by clinical neuroscientist and physiotherapist Professor Lorimer Moseley, the group conducts fundamental behavioural research in humans to further their aim of developing better treatments and preventative strategies.

Co-directed by: Dr Hannah Keage and Dr Tobias Loetscher

Institution: University of South Australia


Our work focuses on understanding how and why cognition changes across the lifespan (particularly in late-life), in both health and disease, and the fundamental brain mechanisms underlying these changes.  Further, we evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to reverse or delay the progression of cognitive impairments. The lab employs psychophysiological methods such as electroencephalograph (EEG), eye-tracking and transcranial doppler (TCD), along with cognitive and behavioural testing. 

Institution: The University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute


Identification of genes and understanding of molecular mechanisms leading to intellectual disabilities, autisms and some epilepsies represents a challenge of significant medical importance. Our research seeks to further our understanding of human brain function through the identification of genes and characterisation of their naturally occurring mutations implicated in various disorders of the brain. The group's research addresses the functional impact of naturally occurring mutations in genes involved in intellectual disability in models relevant to the neuronal setting of the associated clinical phenotypes. This work will define the developmental deficits at the cellular level and provide direct evidence of the components of the pathways implicated in disruption to cognitive abilities and seizures.

Institution: Flinders University


Our lab has established a platform in vitro to facilitate the discovery and validation of treatments for brain disorders. Our research is at the frontier of human cellular neuroscience research and translational applications that will benefit global public health.  The discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) offers a unique opportunity to study human neuronal physiology at the cellular and molecular level.  Using iPSC-derived neuronal models we can investigate the genetic predisposition of Psychiatric disorders such as Major Depression and the neurobiological phenotypes of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.  Our technical expertise ranges from Patch-clamping, calcium imaging, optogenetics, tissue culture, flow cytometry, molecular biology to bioinformatics.

Lead researcher: Co-Led by Professor Michael Ridding and Dr Julia Pitcher

Institution: The University of Adelaide


The NeuroPAD group aims to understand how experiences and injuries alter human brain motor and cognitive function throughout the lifespan, and to develop effective therapies and interventions to ameliorate the negative consequences. Neuropad are working on two major projects; examining changes in brain plasticity following ischemic stroke, and uncovering whether preterm birth is associated with impairments in brain plasticity and function. 


Institution: University of South Australia


Researchers in the Neurophysiology of Human Movement Laboratory are investigating how the human brain plans and performs upper limb movement in health and disease. They are particularly interested in how movement-related brain regions change following use of illicit stimulant drugs (e.g. methamphetamine and ecstasy) and in early Parkinson’s disease.

Institution: University of South Australia

Researchers in the Neuroregeneration Laboratory are investigating the biological processes that underlie neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and nerve injury. They are also investigating how to promote regeneration of diseased or damaged neurons by targeting adult stem cells and neurotrophins and their receptors.

Institution: Centre for Cancer Biology

Understanding development of the neuronal and vascular systems at the molecular level presents a major challenge to developmental biologists. Recent advances, including our own, conclusively show that similar molecules are recruited by both systems to coordinate development. We are particularly interested in understanding the signalling pathway centred on VEGF and its Neuropilin receptors in neuronal development. Neural stem cells possess the exceptional ability to self-renew and differentiate into multiple cell types. During embryonic development, transient populations of neural stem cells give rise to the entire central and peripheral nervous systems. We have recently identified essential roles of key signalling molecules in neuronal development and are now using genome-wide studies to characterise their functions in neuronal migration and differentiation.

Institution: The University of Adelaide, SAHMRI

The Stroke Research Programme is a collaboration between the University of Adelaide (UA), The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH) and The Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Medicine. Their major aims in Stroke research are: Repairing the Brain after a Stroke, The Molecular Pathology of Stroke, Genes and proteins involved in Stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA).

The Lysosomal Diseases Research Unit (LDRU) has led a world-class and highly successful research programme to understand the role and function of the lysosome in health and disease for more than 25 years.


The importance of lysosomal biology to human health was first recognised in a group of inherited disorders known collectively as Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSDs). The LDRU has a proud track record of researching these disorders, from basic biology through to the development and commercialisation of treatment. Through these efforts, the LDRU has been privileged to help improve the lives of individuals and families affected by these disorders.


As well as LSD's, increasing scientific evidence is implicating abnormal lysosomal function with major areas of community health concern, for instance some forms of heart disease, stroke, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders (dementia). Building on its years of experience in lysosomal biology, the LDRU is breaking new ground in these important areas of health research.

Dr. Hemsley’s team of seven scientists and one PhD student is interested in determining the neuropathogenic basis of symptom generation in, and devising/testing treatments for, the childhood-onset neurodegenerative disorder, MPS IIIA (a lysosomal storage disorder). She is also exploring the concept of using the retina as a ‘window’ to the brain for this and other more common neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. Further interests include the role of the endosomal/lysosomal system in autism spectrum disorders.

Dr. Sargeant’s current research focuses on the role of the lysosomal network in common neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. The lysosomal network manages quality control and recycling of machinery within the cell. Clear links now exist between lysosomal dysfunction and late-onset neurodegenerative diseases that cause conditions such as dementia. Research projects within this group investigate how complex genetic heterogeneity within the lysosomal network contributes to late-onset neurodegenerative disease. The long-term goal of this research is to use this information to develop prognostics and therapeutics for dementia.

The Centre for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience's mission is to understand the neurobiological basis of human cognition across the lifespan.


The Neurobiology of Language

Among human cognitive abilities, language is singular in its diversity: approximately 7000 living languages are in use in the world today. We aim to understand how the human brain processes these diverse structures and use emerging cross-linguistic generalisations to inform the development of a neurobiologically grounded model of language processing (eADM). In addition to drawing on insights from language comparative research, the current version of the eADM is based on neurobiological design principles gleaned from animal models of the auditory system.


The importance of sleep for memory

Why we sleep is an intriguing question that is increasingly the focus of research in the cognitive neurosciences. Recent evidence suggests brain activity during sleep plays an active role in the formation of memories. In addition to this, the emotional valence of things we experience (whether negative, positive or neutral) also interacts with sleep-dependent memory. Deficits in cognitive and behavioural performance in people with a sleep disorder or mental health condition known to affect sleep (such as depression) may be explained by this interaction between sleep and memory. Work has begun in the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory investigating these processes in children and adults in order to characterise the importance of sleep for cognitive processes.

The Personalised Psychiatry and Genomics Group is interested in personalised psychiatry, which can be achieved by using integrating biological and clinical markers to identify what is required to individualise the diagnosis and treatment of patients with psychiatric disorders. Our approach has three areas of focus.


Firstly, we want to identify disease trajectory to show the importance of taking a long-term perspective on illness development. Trajectories help to group people for their likelihood of disease and functional development. This approach goes far beyond the standard view of an at-risk stage of a developing disease, or beyond understanding, diagnosing and treating individual stages of disease

This prospective approach for clinical characteristics can be also applied to biological markers. Therefore, our second focus is to identify biomarkers at the genetic and genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenomic levels. Blood-based biomarkers may also have an important role in illness prevention and the prediction of treatment response. A longitudinal perspective model in personalised psychiatry that considers both clinical and biological markers is likely to provide more accurate disease development prediction, regardless whether these are early or later stages of illness. This may also help to avoid unnecessary potentially harmful interventions at any disease stage. 


Our third research focus is to take the scientific information yielded from prospective biomarker and clinical marker investigations and translate them into clinical practice. Our studies are aimed at validating the biomarker findings with the overarching goal to personalise diagnostics and interventions in mental illness.

The Neuroimmunopharmacology Laboratory investigates how immune-like cells called 'glia' function in a normal, healthy brain. This enables us to understand when they go bad and contribute to health conditions such as chronic pain, drug addiction and epilepsy.


Our research aims to prevent and cure illness through the discovery of new mechanisms of disease and subsequent development of drugs or treatment methods to regain control of immune cells.

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