Going walkabout in the spinal cord: genetic approaches for unravelling the neural networks that control locomotion


Professor Martyn Goulding of the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute studies the early development of the nervous system. A New Zealand native, Professor Goulding received his doctorate in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Auckland. After completing post-doctoral research studies at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, and a short sojourn at the University of London, UK, he was recruited to the Salk Institute in La Jolla in 1993.

Professor Goulding pioneered the use of mouse genetics in combination with classical electrophysiological studies to reveal the identity and assign specific functions to neural networks in the spinal cord. His work led to a paradigm shift in spinal cord physiology and changed the way scientists study neural circuits in the spinal cord. These efforts grew out of earlier studies aimed at understanding how interneuron cell types are generated in the embryonic spinal cord.

In 2006 he was honoured with the Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award for his groundbreaking research on the neural circuitry that coordinates walking movements.

About Toshiya Yamada Memorial Lecture

The Toshiya Yamada Memorial lecture was established in memory of Dr Toshi Yamada, an internationally renowned research scientist from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. Dr Yamada's discovery of the molecules essential for regulating the correct wiring of the spinal cord and parts of the brain form much of the basis of modern neurobiology and was instrumental in the resurgence of Australia as a world leader in this field.

This free public lecture is held annually and is an opportunity to honour Dr Yamada's memory and to celebrate his scientific achievements. The Institute for Molecular Bioscience and the Queensland Brain Institute, both at The University of Queensland, jointly host this prestigious lecture.