QBI offers the public the opportunity to become involved in our research through volunteering in a wide range of our human studies. Your help may be vital to solving some of humanity's greatest ailments and answering some of the biggest questions we face.

Please see a list of studies, below, which need human participants. All studies have received Human Ethics clearances and comply with University and government policies and legislation.

If you are interested in participating, send an email to communications@qbi.uq.edu.au

If you are unable to take part in a study and still wish to offer support, please consider giving to QBI.

Boosting neuroplasticity in elderly participants


The central nervous system is remarkably adaptive and continually changing. These neuronal changes (neuroplasticity) allow for the acquisition of new skills, the retention of memories, and even the recovery from brain injury. This study will assess whether the artificial induction of sleep-related brain activity (activity thought critical to the consolidation process) modulates the consolidation of neuroplasticity in the motor region of the brain (the motor cortex). The results from this study may provide a novel means of improving neuroplasticity induction in the elderly brain, with implications for the future rehabilitation of those recovering from brain injury (e.g., stroke).

Requirements/time commitment

Participants will be asked to partake in two experimental sessions (with approximately one week between successive sessions). Each session will last approximately 2 hours. Within each session, participants can expect to receive transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial alternating current stimulation, and electroencephalography. Testing will take place at the Queensland Brain Institute (Building 79) at the University of Queensland, St Lucia. This experiment will continue to run until December 2018.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Ages 65+ years

  • No neurological conditions

  • No serious head injury/loss of consciousness

  • No implanted devices (e.g., pacemaker)

  • No personal/family history of seizure or epilepsy

  • No neuroactive medications


Dr Martin Sale

Concussion research study

Are you a person who plays competitive football or other contact sport? Would you be interested in helping us understand the consequences of concussion?

We are conducting a study to investigate the effect of concussion on the brain using MRI scans, cognitive testing, and biomarkers. Our goal is to develop methods that can better detect and monitor concussion.

We need volunteers to participate. Participation in the study may involve all or a combination of the following: MRI scans, cognitive testing, provision of blood and saliva samples and use of an actigraph (sleep and movement wristwatch monitor).


  • You are aged between 18 and 40 years
  • You are healthy and have no history of neurological symptoms or severe concussions that have led to unconsciousness for more than 30 minutes
  • You play competitive contact sports in Brisbane


The University of Queensland, Centre for Advanced Imaging, building 57

Will I get paid?

You will receive $50 for travel expenses for participation in all aspects of the study.

How will my data be used?

Your data will be anonymised. You will receive an image of your brain.


If you meet the requirements for the study and are interested in participating, send an email to communications@qbi.uq.edu.au or contact via phone at 07 3346 6300 for more information. Or complete an expression of interest form.

Expression of interest form

Download a printable recruitment flyer


Clinical Trial: Exploring the effect of exercise on cognitive function in older adults


It is well known that exercise has a positive influence on cognitive function during aging. However, the optimal dose, intensity and duration of exercise for improving cognitive function is not known, nor are the mechanisms by which exercise may prevent or even reverse cognitive decline.

Join our study to help identify the ‘sweet spot’ for exercise and memory. How much is enough? How much is too little?

Are you aged 65 – 85 and do you want to:

  • become more physically active?
  • participate in regular supervised exercise?
  • learn more about you brain health, learning and memory?
  • be part of supportive community?

Healthy men and women aged 65–85 are invited to participate in a six-month supervised exercise program. To be eligible participants must have no history of stroke or brain trauma, no diagnosed mental illness or cognitive function impairment, be free of significant cardiovascular disease, have a healthy BMI (< 30 kg/m2) and be able and willing to commit to the duration of the exercise program. Participation will include fitness tests, cognitive function testing, MRI scans of the brain, and small blood samples. 

Participants will be divided into three groups to complete either low-intensity (very easy), moderate-intensity (easy) exercise or aerobic-interval (hard) exercise three times per week for six months. All exercise will be supervised and monitored and we will measure cognitive function, fitness, blood hormones, genetic factors and brain volume before beginning exercise, at regular interval during the exercise program and six months following the conclusion of the exercise program. 


Contact the Healthy Brain-Ageing Team (healthybrains@uq.edu.au) for further details.

Expression of Interest form

The Healthy Brain-Ageing Team
The Stafford Fox Exercise and Healthy Brain-Ageing Centre
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences (Building 26B)
The University of Queensland | St Lucia, QLD, 4072 | Australia  
+61 7 3346 8770

About Professor Perry Bartlett

Corpus callosum dysgenesis database


Our aim is to collect information about adults and children who have been diagnosed with agenesis or dysgenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC). Malformations of the corpus callosum are relatively rare and most studies so far have involved smaller groups of people.

In this study we aim to survey the Australian population of ACC patients to assess the range of disorders associated with callosal malformations in Australia. If you or your child has been diagnosed with agenesis or dysgenesis of the corpus callosum we invite you to contact us and take part in this study.

Requirements/time commitment

We are asking for your participation by filling out a questionnaire and sharing with us information about you or your child’s diagnosis, implications and family history. Any copies of documentation such as digital copies of MRI scans would be very much appreciated. No active participation in any further research is needed at this stage. You will be asked to sign a consent form that will allow us to store your or your child’s information in our database. In the questionnaire you will have the option to indicate if you wish to be informed of further studies. At any given time you have the right to retract your participation and remove your information from the database.

Eligibility criteria

  • Individuals who have been diagnosed with malformations of the corpus callosum


Professor Linda Richards AO
E: corpuscallosumresearch@uq.edu.au
07 3346 6355

Queensland Twin Adolescent Brain Project (QTAB)

What changes occur in the brain during the critical period of early adolescence?  Would your family like to take part in our journey to explore this very important period of development?

Our team is using advanced imaging techniques to see inside the brain and to track developmental changes through early and mid-adolescence in a large sample of twins from Brisbane and South-East Queensland.  Concurrently, we are assessing cognition, social behaviour, and mental health, as well as collecting blood and saliva samples.

This will provide vital new knowledge of the structural and functional changes in the adolescent brain – how the healthy teenage brain develops, and to help us understand how developmental processes in the brain may go awry during adolescence.  This study will help to explain why adolescence is not an equally vulnerable period for all individuals.


  • Healthy twins aged from 9 to 12 years 

  • Living locally (i.e. in Brisbane or South East Queensland)


The University of Queensland, Centre for Advanced Imaging, building 57


This is a longitudinal study.  We hope you will be able to visit us on three occasions over 3 to 5 years so that we can track developmental changes in your brain.


You will receive an honorarium to cover travel expenses and for participation in all aspects of the study.  

How will my data be used?

Your data will be anonymised and stored securely for use in ongoing research.


If you are interested in participating, please register your interest using the form below.

Expression of Interest form

Sleep apnoea study

One of the most common reasons for sleep disruption is sleep apnoea – when upper airways collapse during sleep, resulting in sporadic pauses in breathing that require the person to momentarily wake up to breathe.

People who suffer from sleep apnoea are two to three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, says Professor Elizabeth Coulson, from the Queensland Brain Institute and the School of Biomedical Sciences at UQ.

“This could be because hypoxia – lower levels of oxygen in the blood from poor breathing – causes nerve cell death,” she says.

Prof Coulson’s team is beginning a study that will follow patients aged 55 to 75 with sleep apnoea over an extended period, to determine whether using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) ventilator, which keeps airways open during sleep, protects against brain degeneration and lowers the risk of dementia. 

To find out more about the study, email coulsontrials@uq.edu.au

Movement disorder research project

Longitudinal Study of Movement Disorders

We are looking to establish a quantitative assessment of the symptoms associated with different types of movement disorders. We will collect data from patients with a history of any movement disorder and also from the age matched healthy controls (35 – 75 years).

Why is the research being conducted?

Better understanding is needed into the nature and cause of movement disorders in order  to  identify the pathway of the disease progression.  This in-depth study will ultimately help in better and more timely treatments to improve the quality of life of people with movement disorders.  

What will you be asked to do?

The project involves collecting information at Queensland Brain Institute in University of Queensland St. Lucia. The session may take around and 1.5 – 2 hours. You will be required to perform some simple movement tasks and voice and handwriting samples will also be taken.  An experienced researcher will be present at all times to guide your through these assessments


If you are in Brisbane and are interested in contributing towards the research then please contact the following person:

Dr Francois Windels

Phone 04 36 428 774

Email apcn@uq.edu.au

This project has been approved by the University of Queensland Human Research Ethics Committee (EC00456).



Cognitive Test Development

The Cognitive Neurology Group (Professor Peter Nestor) at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) conducts research on improving early detection and accurate diagnosis for different types of dementia.

Part of this involves developing better tests of memory, language and thinking abilities. In order to develop new tests and interpret performance of people with dementia, we also need the help of healthy people. This is where we need your help!


  • Be over the age of 50 years.
  • Have English as your first language.
  • Be in reasonably good health with no previous history of significant brain diseases.
  • Be available for three hours (maximum) to attend an appointment at the QBI, UQ (St Lucia).


Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) (Building #79), The University of Queensland, St Lucia Qld.


You will be asked to complete a series of pen-and-paper and computerised tests that are designed to assess mental abilities, such as memory, thinking, language and how our eyes scan the world.


There is no payment for participating.


If you meet the requirements and are interested in participating, or you would like further information, please email Dr Soo Lee (nestor.research@uq.edu.au), phone (07) 3443 2615, or visit the Nestor Lab website.

The FLAG Study

Are you from a family that has been affected by a genetic form of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and would like to help with research? The Cognitive Neurology Group (Prof. Peter Nestor) is running a research project trying to better understand these genetic forms of FTD—such as those due to the C9ORF72, progranulin (PGRN) or tau genes—by studying the relatives of affected individuals.

If you would like further information, please email Soo Lee or phone on (07) 3443 2615.