Neuromodulation and homeostatic processes

The brain is inarguably the most complex organ in the body, and disruption to brain activity can have fatal consequences for the organism.

The brain’s resilience relies on high levels of redundancy to ensure continued function under most circumstances, as well as built-in homeostatic mechanisms to stabilise neural activity and maintain interhemispheric and excitatory/inhibitory balance.

Following stroke, direct tissue damage and disconnection of remote brain areas causes functional disruption that can span multiple domains. Inhibitory neurons have a primary role in post stroke recovery for their ability to modulate brain plasticity in both the perilesional region and remote areas. Our recent work shows that optogenetically induced gamma frequency entrainment, targeting interneurons, offers neuroprotection after stroke.

    Meet our newest stroke researcher: Dr Matilde Balbi

    Group leader

    Dr Matilde Balbi

    Dr Matilde Balbi

    Group Leader, Neuromodulation and homeostatic processes

    Senior Research Fellow

      +61 (0)432 202 911
      m.balbi@uq.edu.au
      @matildebalbi
      balbilab.com
      UQ Researcher Profile

    Our mission is to make an impact on the field of stroke recovery and other pathological conditions by using a multi-level approach that includes neuronal, systems and behavioural analysis. We aim to recruit and enhance the intrinsic neuroprotective mechanisms of the brain through recovery paradigms tailored individually by automated assessment and AI-controlled feedback. To do that we need to test our hypothesis by performing well-designed experiments that will lead to new discoveries and disseminate those newly generated knowledge to the scientific community, and to the general population to educate about neuroscience.

    PhD Projects:

    Students will learn how to use two photon imaging and mesoscale imaging tools together with optogenetic manipulation and other form of brain stimulation to understand the neuronal mechanisms involved in neuroprotection. Machine learning will also be implemented in our approach. Candidates with a degree in biology, neuroscience or related fields such as engineering, mathematics or physics are encouraged to apply.  We encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, LGBTIAQ+ students and others from backgrounds underrepresented in STEMM

    • Mechanisms by which cortical oscillations mediate neuroprotection

     

    Honour projects:

    Students will learn how to use cutting edge techniques related to their projects. Candidates with a degree in biology, neuroscience or related fields such as engineering, mathematics or physics are encouraged to apply. We encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, LGBTIAQ+ students and others from backgrounds underrepresented in STEMM.

    • Metabolic changes underlying neuroprotection
    • Closed-loop joystick navigation for mice
    • Implication of cortical spreading depolarizations following stroke

    View all publications

    Our approach

    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.

    Research areas

    • Stroke recovery
    • Neurodegeneration and protection
    • Interneurons
    • Brain oscillations
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Imaging
    • Behaviour
    • Brain stimulation
    • Homeostatic processes

    Our team

    Group Leader

    Students

    Research members

    • Dr Cong Wang

      Postdoctoral Research Fellow & Postdoctoral Research Fellow
      Queensland Brain Institute
    • Miss Montana Samantzis

      Casual Research Assistant & Research Assistant & Casual Research Assistant
      Queensland Brain Institute
    • Mr Jamil Boashash

      Casual Research Assistant
      Queensland Brain Institute