Researcher biography

Queensland Brain Institute

Dr Massimo A. Hilliard received his PhD in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Biology in 2001 from the University of Naples, Italy. His experimental work, performed at the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics of the CNR (Italian National Council of Research), was aimed at understanding the neuronal and genetic basis of aversive taste behavior (bitter taste) in C. elegans.

During his first postdoc at the University of California, San Diego, using the Ca2+ indicator Cameleon he published the first direct visualisation of chemosensory activity in C. elegans neurons. In his second postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco and at The Rockefeller University, he switched from neuronal function to neuronal development, focusing in particular on how neurons establish and orient their polarity with respect to extracellular cues.

From September 2007, he is at the Queensland Brain Institute where he established an independent laboratory.