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 meet the criteria and would like to be involved in a study at QBI, please contact the chief investigator listed in the study description. 

If you are interested in participating in research at QBI, please contact communications@qbi.uq.edu.au to find out about current studies that may not be listed on the website. 

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.

Download a printable recruitment flyer


Clinical Trial: OCD Deep Brain Stimulation Trial

Researchers at QBI are looking for participants diagnosed with treatment-resistant Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If you are you between 18 and 70 years of age and live within reasonable travelling distance to Brisbane, you may be eligible to participate in a study designed to alleviate the symptoms of severe treatment-resistant-OCD through the use of deep brain stimulation.

About the trial

Deep Brain Stimulation has been successfully used to treat patients with movement disorders but is a relatively new treatment for patients with treatment-resistant Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This project aims to identify electrical activity in the brain that may guide future management of the severe form of OCD using a brain pacemaker.

Following psychiatric referral, initial screening and enrolment, participants will undergo DBS surgery followed by a two-year program of care by a neurologist, neurosurgeon, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.

Key Inclusion Criteria

We are looking for participants who:

  • are males and females
are between ages 18–70

  • have a diagnosis of severe OCD according to the DSM-V criteria

  • score above 24 on the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale

  • have tried the best available medical and psychological treatments for OCD, including:
    • Clomipramine

    • A course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

  • Reside within reasonable travelling distance of Brisbane

What is Treatment-Resistant OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that affects 1-2% of the population. People with OCD suffer with intrusive, anxiety- provoking thoughts (obsessions) that they try to resist. These obsessions may be accompanied by mental acts or behaviours (compulsions), which must be carried out to neutralise the obsessions, or to reduce anxiety associated with them. Treatment resistance usually refers to a lack of significant improvement to appropriate treatment.

What is DBS?

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) involves positioning one or more stimulating electrodes into the brain, which are connected to a pulse generator – or ‘brain pacemaker’ – attached to the chest wall. Brain activity in regions close to the electrode are altered by the small field of electricity produced by the electrodes. The process of implanting the electrode and delivering stimulation has been shown to be quite safe and the electrodes can be removed if necessary.

DBS has proven to be an effective and safe treatment for neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease and is widely employed throughout the world. In recent years, DBS has also being investigated for the treatment of psychiatric conditions that have failed to respond to other therapies.


If you are interested in participating in this trial, please contact Sara Gottliebsen:
+61 7 334 66353 (Mon, Tue, Thu Fri) or apcn.ocd.trial@uq.edu.au


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
07 3346 6355

Brain activity and human behaviour

Researchers are seeking healthy volunteers with no known neurological conditions to participate in a study to investigate brain activity response to various stimuli. This study will be held at the University of Queensland’s St Lucia Campus. 

About the study 

Participants will be required to complete the following two tasks: 

  • An image rating task where you will be asked to rate images (some of which can be confronting, e.g. car crash, war scene, nudity etc) 
  • A gambling task where you will respond to stimuli to win money 

The above two tasks will be completed over two sessions under the following conditions: 

  • EEG (participants will perform both tasks) 
  • MRI (participants perform both tasks and one scan at rest) 

Inclusion Criteria 

  • Male and female 
  • Between ages 30-61
  • Reside within reasonable traveling distance to Brisbane 

Exclusion Criteria

  • Pre-existing mental illness 
  • Claustrophobia 
  • Tattoos older than 20 years may exclude 
  • Cardiac pacemakers, metal plates etc in the body 


Participants will be reimbursed up to $215 on completion of both sessions. Parking can also be arranged. 


If you are interested in participating in this trial, please contact Sara Gottliebsen:
+61 7 334 66353 (Mon, Tue, Thu Fri) or apcn.ocd.trial@uq.edu.au

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