Engage

You can help progress our research

You don't have to be a scientist to get involved with QBI. We offer a range of opportunities for everyday people to connect and progress our research and discoveries.

The foundation for all of our work is the funding we receive through a range of sources, including philanthropic donations from our generous supporters. There are many ways to give to QBI: directly, through planned giving, or holding fundraising events that entertain or challenge supporters as they dig deep to help us better understand the brain. 

We also offer opportunities for students to learn directly from our inspiring researchers through lab placements, and for community members to tour our facilities and attend events. Finally, you can give one of the greatest gifts of all by volunteering for studies to advance treatments and diagnostics for brain diseases and disorders.

What your donations fund

Through your support you are helping QBI solve the major neurological health challenges facing our community today

World leading research

Brightest scientific minds

Solutions to global health challenges

Brain Research Endowment Fund
 

Find out more        Donate to research

QBI’s Brain Research Endowment Fund supports scientists exploring the unknown, which will guide new research on finding cures for diseases or improving quality of life.

Community & school programs

 

Australian Brain Bee

The Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) is a competition for high school students in year 10 to learn about the brain and its functions, learn about neuroscience research, find out about careers in neuroscience and to dispel misconceptions about neurological and mental illnesses. 
 

Learn more


Participate in a research study

By being part of our human research studies you can make a valuable contribution to improving the lives of people living with brain disease and disorder.

 

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Research in action

  • 4 Nov 2020
    Dr Zhitao Hu
    Queensland Brain Institute
    University of Queensland
  • 3 Apr 2019
    Join us for an informative breakfast session highlighting MND research at the Queensland Brain Institute.
  • CNNE

    The SUSTech-UQ Joint Centre for Neuroscience and Neural Engineering (CNNE) was officially opened in Shenzhen, China, in January 2020. The mission of the CNNE is to combine multi-disciplinary research teams to foster advances in Neuroscience and Neural Engineering that will dramatically increase the understanding of neuronal circuit computations, drive the development of next-generation in silico computational devices, and enhance the quality of life of Chinese and Australians impacted by disease and damage of the nervous system.

    Co-Directors

    Professor Pankaj Sah

    Director
    Queensland Brain Institute
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    Professor Pankaj Sah is Director of the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at The University of Queensland (UQ). He is renowned for his work in understanding the neural circuitry of the amygdala, an area of the brain that plays a central role in learning and memory formation. Dysfunction of the amygdala leads to a host of anxiety-related disorders. His laboratory uses a combination of molecular tools, electrophysiology, anatomical reconstruction, calcium imaging and behavioural studies to examine the electrophysiological signatures of different brain regions and their impact on disease. Recently, his laboratory has been working with patients undergoing electrode implantation for deep brain stimulation, which is used to treat a variety of disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Tourette's syndrome and essential tremor. Professor Sah trained in medicine at The University of New South Wales and, after completing his internship, gained a PhD from the Australian National University. Following postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco, and UQ, he established his own laboratory at the University of Newcastle in 1994. He then joined the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University as a group leader in 1997. He was recruited to QBI as a founding member in 2003, and has been Director since July 2015. Professor Sah has published over 110 papers in international peer-reviewed journals. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Nature Partner Journal npj Science of Learning, the first journal to bring together the findings of neuroscientists, psychologists, and education researchers to understand how the brain learns.

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    Professor Pankaj Sah: Synaptic Plasticity

    The Sah laboratory uses electrophysiology and molecular techniques, in conjunction with behavioural studies, to understand the neural circuitry that underpins learning and memory formation. Using animal models, the laboratory focusses on the part of the brain called the amygdala, and a Pavlovian learning paradigm called fear conditioning. 

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    Professor Shengtao Hou

    School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology, SUSTech
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    Research Members

    Emeritus Professor Perry Bartlett

    Emeritus Professor
    Queensland Brain Institute
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    Emeritus Professor Perry Bartlett: Neurogenic regulation of cognition

    Professor Perry Bartlett’s laboratory is focussed on understanding the mechanisms that regulate the production and function of new neurons, generated from the resident population of stem/precursor cells in a region of the adult brain known as the hippocampus.

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    Professor Helen Cooper

    Deputy Director (Research)
    Queensland Brain Institute
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    Professor Helen Cooper: Neural migration

    Current research in the Cooper laboratory explores the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms governing the development of the neocortex. The group has identified unexpected, novel roles for the axon guidance receptors Neogenin (a netrin receptor) and Ryk (a Wnt receptor) in neural stem cell biology, neurogenesis, dendrite outgrowth and synaptogenesis. The Cooper group has shown that loss of these receptors in the mouse leads to cortical malformations which are equivalent to those seen in humans.

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    Professor Frederic Meunier

    Professor and Academic Senior Group/Unit Leader/Supervisor
    Queensland Brain Institute
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    Professor Frederic Meunier obtained his Masters degree in Neurophysiology at the Paris XI University, France in 1992 and completed his Ph.D in Neurobiology at the CNRS in Gif-sur-Yvette, France in 1996. He was the recipient of a European Biotechnology Fellowship and went on to postgraduate work at the Department of Biochemistry at Imperial College (1997-1999) and at Cancer Research UK (2000-2002) in London, UK. After a short sabbatical at the LMB-MRC in Cambridge (UK), he became a group leader at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2003. He joined the Queensland Brain Institute of the University of Queensland in 2007 and obtained an NHMRC senior research fellowship in 2009 renewed in 2014 with promotion. He became Professor in 2014 at the Queensland Brain Institute and is currently part of the Centre for Ageing Dementia Research.

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    Professor Frederic Meunier: Single Molecule Neuroscience Laboratory

    The overall goal of our research is to determine how brain cells communicate and survive in health and disease. Our lab focuses on the molecular events that govern vesicular trafficking within presynaptic nerve terminals and neurosecretory cells. Our discoveries have led to a deep understanding of how secretory vesicles interact with the cortical actin network prior to fusing with the plasma membrane to release the neurotransmitter. 

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    Selected recent publications

    Visualizing endocytic recycling and trafficking in live neurons by subdiffractional tracking of internalized molecules 
    Joensuu, Merja, Martinez-Marmol, Ramon, Padmanabhan, Pranesh, Glass, Nick R., Durisic, Nela, Pelekanos, Matthew, Mollazade, Mahdie, Balistreri, Giuseppe, Amor, Rumelo, Cooper-White, Justin J., Goodhill, Geoffrey J. and Meunier, Frederic A. (2017) Nature Protocols12 12:2590-2622. doi:10.1038/nprot.2017.116

    In vivo single-molecule imaging of syntaxin1A reveals polyphosphoinositide- and activity-dependent trapping in presynaptic nanoclusters
    Bademosi, Adekunle T., Lauwers, Elsa, Padmanabhan, Pranesh, Odierna, Lorenzo, Chai, Ye Jin, Papadopulos, Andreas, Goodhill, Geoffrey J., Verstreken, Patrik, Van Swinderen, Bruno and Meunier, Frederic A. (2017) Nature Communications8 . doi:10.1038/ncomms13660

    Subdiffractional tracking of internalized molecules reveals heterogeneous motion states of synaptic vesicles
    Joensuu, Merja, Padmanabhan, Pranesh, Durisic, Nela, Bademosi, Adekunle T. D., Cooper-Williams, Elizabeth, Morrow, Isabel C., Harper, Callista B., Jung, WooRam, Parton, Robert G., Goodhill, Geoffrey J., Papadopulos, Andreas and Meunier, Frederic A. (2016)  Journal of Cell Biology215 2: 277-292. doi:10.1083/jcb.201604001

    Flux of signalling endosomes undergoing axonal retrograde transport is encoded by presynaptic activity and TrkB
    Wang, Tong, Martin, Sally, Nguyen, Tam H., Harper, Callista B., Gormal, Rachel S., Martinez-Marmol, Ramon, Karunanithi, Shanker, Coulson, Elizabeth J., Glass, Nick R., Cooper-White, Justin J., Van Swinderen, Bruno and Meunier, Frederic A. (2016)  Nature Communications7 . doi:10.1038/ncomms12976

    The Munc18-1 domain 3a hinge-loop controls syntaxin-1A nanodomain assembly and engagement with the SNARE complex during secretory vesicle priming
    Kasula, Ravikiran, Chai, Ye Jin, Bademosi, Adekunle T., Harper, Callista B., Gormal, Rachel S., Morrow, Isabel C., Hosy, Eric, Collins, Brett M., Choquet, Daniel, Papadopulos, Andreas and Meunier, Frederic A. (2016)  The Journal of Cell Biology214 7: 847-858. doi:10.1083/jcb.201508118

    Munc18-1 is a molecular chaperone for α-synuclein, controlling its self-replicating aggregation
    Chai, Ye Jin, Sierecki, Emma, Tomatis, Vanesa M., Gormal, Rachel S., Giles, Nichole, Morrow, Isabel C., Xia, Di, Götz, Jürgen, Parton, Robert G., Collins, Brett M., Gambin, Yann and Meunier, Frédéric A. (2016) The Journal of Cell Biology214 6: 705-718. doi:10.1083/jcb.201512016

    Profiling of free fatty acids using stable isotope tagging uncovers a role for saturated fatty acids in neuroexocytosis
    Narayana, Vinod K., Tomatis, Vanesa M., Wang, Tong, Kvaskoff, David and Meunier, Frederic A. (2015) Cell Chemistry and Biology22 11: 1552-1561. doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2015.09.010

    Control of autophagosome axonal retrograde flux by presynaptic activity unveiled using botulinum neurotoxin type A
    Wang, Tong, Martin, Sally, Papadopulos, Andreas, Harper, Callista B., Mavlyutov, Timur A., Niranjan, Dhevahi, Glass, Nick R., Cooper-White, Justin J., Sibarita, Jean-Baptiste, Choquet, Daniel, Davletov, Bazbek and Meunier, Frederic A. (2015) Journal of Neuroscience35 15: 6179-6194. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3757-14.2015

    Activity-driven relaxation of the cortical actomyosin II network synchronizes Munc18-1-dependent neurosecretory vesicle docking
    Papadopulos, Andreas, Gomez, Guillermo A., Martin, Sally, Jackson, Jade, Gormal, Rachel S., Keating, Damien J., Yap, Alpha S. and Meunier, Frederic A. (2015) Nature Communications6 6297: 1-11. doi:10.1038/ncomms7297

    An acto-myosin II constricting ring initiates the fission of activity-dependent bulk endosomes in neurosecretory cells
    Gormal, Rachel S, Nguyen, Tam H, Martin, Sally, Papadopulos, Andreas and Meunier, Frederic A (2015)  Journal of Neuroscience35 4: 1380-1389. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3228-14.2015

    Professor Timothy Bredy

    NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
    Professorial Research Fellow - Group Leader
    Queensland Brain Institute
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    Research in the Bredy laboratory is aimed at elucidating how the genome is connected to the environment through epigenetic modifications, and how this relationship shapes brain and behaviour throughout life. The group is particularly interested in how epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone modifications. the activity of non-coding RNAs, and RNA modification regulate the formation and maintenance of associative fear-related memory.

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    Professor Timothy Bredy: Cognitive neuroepigenetics

    Research in the Bredy laboratory is elucidating how the genome is connected to the environment through epigenetic modifications, and how this relationship shapes behaviour throughout life. The group is particularly interested in how epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and the activity of non-coding RNAs, regulate the formation and maintenance of memory.

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    Dr Tara Walker

    Research Fellow & Group Leader, Senior Research Fellow
    Queensland Brain Institute
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    Dr Tara Walker is a Senior Research Associate at the Queensland Brain Institute. Dr Walker's group is investigating the mechanisms governing the lifelong production of neurons in the adult brain (adult neurogenesis). Tara studied Biotechnology as an undergraduate at the Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane, Australia), before carrying out her PhD in the field of Plant Biotechnology. In 2003 she made the transition to neuroscience, joining the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and the group of Professor Perry Bartlett. Here she became interested in the field of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, particularly in its activity-dependent regulation. In 2010, she joined the group of Professor Gerd Kempermann at the Center for Regenerative Therapies in Dresden, Germany, where she was awarded a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship in 2011. In July 2018 she returned to QBI to take up a position in the newly developed Centre for Restorative Neurosciences as a Senior Research Associate, where she will apply her knowledge of neural stem cell biology to stroke research.

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    All publications

    Research interest

    We are interested in understanding the fundamental mechanisms governing the lifelong production of neurons in the adult brain. Adult neurogenesis, as this process is termed, decreases with age and this age-related decline in neurogenesis results in an associated decline in learning processes that are controlled by the hippocampus.

    In previous work, together with Professor Perry Bartlett, we provided the first evidence of a true, but normally latent, hippocampal stem cell population and identified a mechanism through which the production of new neurons could be stimulated to replace or repair damaged cells in neurodegenerative diseases. More recently our focus has been on the systemic regulation of adult neurogenesis. We use the physical exercise model of increased neurogenesis to investigate cross-talk between the brain and the peripheral immune system, and in this context have investigated the interaction between T cells, mast cells and platelets and the neural stem cell niche.

    The control of cell death provides a key mechanism in the regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis. We have demonstrated that ferroptosis, a recently identified, caspase-3-independent mode of programmed cell death, is a fundamental mechanism underlying the regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis. This form of cell death is mediated by the dietary trace element selenium. We have shown that selenium supplementation results in increased neural progenitor cell survival and neuronal-lineage differentiation in the hippocampus of young adult and aged mice. Ferroptotic cell death has been linked to the cell death that occurs in a number of neurodegenerative diseases and stroke. A key aspect of our future research program will be to investigate whether blocking ferroptotic cell death via dietary or environmental interventions can rescue the behavioural and cognitive decline observed in an animal model of stroke.

    Dr Zhaoyu Li

    Group Leader
    Queensland Brain Institute
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    Dr Zhaoyu Li: Neural circuit and behaviour

    The Li group uses C. elegans, currently the only organism with a completely mapped connectome, to address these questions. We employ multifaceted approaches including calcium imaging, optogenetics, behavioural genetic screen and molecular genetics to study the function and dysfunction of neural network in healthy and diseased animals.

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    Dr Matilde Balbi

    Senior Research Fellow
    Queensland Brain Institute
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    Dr. Matilde Balbi is a neuroscientist within the Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland. After receiving her bachelor and master's degree in Medical Biotechnology from the University of Naples,Italy, she spent a year working on traumatic brain injury at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland as a research assistant. Dr. Balbi earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, working on the regulation of cerebral blood flow in health (ageing) and disease (small vessel disease and subarachnoid haemorrhage). She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where she received support and fellowships from the Leducq Foundation, CPSR, MSFHR. She now leads her laboratory which aims to make an impact on the field of stroke recovery and other pathological conditions by combining imaging techniques, brain stimulation and individually tailored recovery paradigms in behaving rodents.

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    Dr Matilde Balbi: Neuromodulation and homeostatic processes

    The Balbi lab employs a multi-level approach, combining in vivo imaging techniques, brain stimulation—including but not exclusively optogenetics—and AI driven, individually tailored recovery paradigms in behaving rodents, to investigate intrinsic neuroprotective mechanisms of the brain under pathological conditions such as stroke.

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    Dr Chen Fangyi

    Research Scientist
    Department of Biomedical Engineering, SUSTech
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    Professor Chen Wei

    School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology, SUSTech
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    Assistant Professor Xiaojing Chen

    School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology, SUSTech
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    Assistant Professor Longzhen Cheng

    School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology, SUSTech
    Researcher profile is public: 
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    Associate Professor Sheng-Jian Ji

    School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology, SUSTech
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    1
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    Dr Quanying Liu

    Department of Biomedical Engineering, SUSTech
    Researcher profile is public: 
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    Dr Kun Song

    School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology, SUSTech
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    Assistant Professor Xiaoying Tang

    Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, SUStech
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    Associate Professor Zhiyi Wei

    School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology, SUSTech
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    Professor Bo Xiao

    School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology, SUSTech
    Researcher profile is public: 
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    Dr Mingming Zhang

    Department of Biomedical Engineering, SUSTech
    Researcher profile is public: 
    1
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    Associate Professor Dong Liu

    School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology, SUSTech
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    Students

    Yiran Zhao, PhD Student, SUSTech. UQ Supervisor: Dr Zhaoyu Li

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