Watch the event recording below:

Sleep. We can't live or learn without it, but how much do we know about what's happening in our brains while we snooze? In Brain Awareness Week 2024 and on the eve of World Sleep Day, join us for an engaging evening with our scientific panel as we explore questions like:

  • Why do our brain and body need sleep?
  • What are the different functions of sleep?
  • How does sleep impact a child's brain development?
  • What happens to our brains when we don't get enough sleep?
  • Can we replicate sleep to improve brain function? 
  • How did human consciousness evolve?

Doors open at 6pm. The lecture commences at 6:30pm and includes an interactive Q&A session, so bring your questions! Light refreshments served between 7:30 and 8pm. 


Register here 



Professor Roly SussexEmeritus Professor Roland (Roly) Sussex

Roland (Roly) Sussex (OAM, FQA, Chevalier des Palmes Académiques) is an Emeritus Professor of UQ. He has a PhD in Russian and general linguistics from the University of London. He was Professor of Russian at the University of Melbourne (1974-1989), and Professor of Applied Language Studies at UQ from 1989 to 2010.




Expert Speakers

Professor Bruno van Swinderen

Professor Bruno van Swinderen
Bruno has been running a cognitive neuroscience lab at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute since 2008. His lab uses invertebrate models, such as flies and worms to understand how the brain is able to block or prioritise sensory stimuli, as happens during sleep and attention.He is particualrly interested in how sleep and attention may have co-evolved to optimise adaptive behaviour, and is keen to promote research in simpler animal models to understand complex brain processes. 



Professor Jason Mattingley

Professor Karen Thorpe

Karen is an Australian Research Council Laureate Professor and Group Leader in Child Development, Education and Care at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute. Her research is grounded in the understanding that early learning experiences shape brain development and are critical in establishing trajectories of health, social inclusion and learning across the lifespan. A particular focus of her work is early care and education environments including parenting, parent work, quality of care, and education, and the early years workforce.


Professor Dhanisha Jhavheri

Professor Simon Smith

Simon leads the vibrant Sleep & Health group at UQ's Institute for Social Science Research. He is a registered psychologist (clinical neuropsychology), but most of his recent work has been in the areas of sleep and wellbeing of children and young people. He is passionate about the role of sleep in health, wellbeing, education, social participation, and work. 



Professor Dhanisha Jhavheri

Associate Professor Martin Sale

Martin is a neurophysiologist and physiotherapist who is currently Head of Physiotherapy at UQ.  His research uses non-invasive brain stimulation to both investigate brain function, but also to modify brain activity.  More specifically, he is interested to see whether the beneficial aspects of sleep can be gained artificially using brain stimulation to mimic sleep rhythms.  In essence, he is trying to answer the question “Do we need sleep, or can we harness the beneficial aspects of sleep with brain stimulation?"



More details


Parking is available under State Library and the Queensland Art Gallery, accessible via Stanley Place. A flat fee of $17 per entry, per day. Payment to be made on entry by credit card only (Visa or MasterCard).

Public transport

The Edge at the State Library of Queensland is very well serviced by public transport. Please visit the TransLink website for specific information regarding the best route from your location.


The Edge is located approximately 150 m from the Cultural Centre bus stop. Walk down the river-side of the Queensland Art Gallery. The Edge is located 100m on the right.


The closest CityCat ferry stop is Southbank. After disembarking from the ferry, turn right and walk along the river for approximately 600 m. To enter The Edge walk up the stairs on the left located 100m past the Victoria bridge.


South Brisbane train station is located on Grey Street, approximately 250m from The Edge. Exit South Brisbane Train Station on to Grey Street and turn left. Walk down Grey Street to the Melbourne Street intersection and cross both streets to the Queensland Museum. Walk down Melbourne Street past the Queensland Museum and turn left to walk down the river-side of the Queensland Art Gallery. After 100m, The Edge will be on the right.

About Brain Awareness Week 2024

Brain Awareness Week aims to increase public awareness of and support for brain research. As part of this global campaign, the Queensland Brain Institute is hosting its second public lecture to inspire the community to learn more about their brain and how understanding this complex organ can help us improve our lives.


The Edge, State Library Queensland
Stanley Street, South Bank