Synaptic Neurobiology Group

Our group is interested in understanding the critical role zinc plays at the synapse, as it is critical in learning and memory. This has downstream relevance to a number of different research areas we focus on, including both normal and pathological ageing (e.g. age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia), as well as to other conditions that are characterised by a failure of normal zinc ion homeostasis such as head trauma. We also study other diseases, such as the zinc-mediated acrodermatitis enteropathica.

Research interests

  • Zinc in synapses
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Multielectrode arrays
  • Synaptic RNA profiling
  • Next-generation sequencing

About our research

Through close collaboration with Prana Biotechnology, as well as other local and international partners, we are exploring how zinc is involved in disease initiation and progression, and how it may itself be a therapeutic target. We hope to translate our basic science into effective therapeutics for these devastating conditions.

We use a number of techniques, including:

  • in vivo pre-clinical models (animal behaviour, surgery, microdialysis, controlled cortical impact TBI model etc)
  • multielectrode arrays (for high throughput electrophysiology)
  • cell culture (primary cultures, cell lines, microfluidic cultures)
  • synaptic RNA profiling using next-generation sequencing and other more standard methodologies such as western blotting and tissue histology, including stereological analysis.

Research team

Research team head

Selected publications

  • Juan SMA and Adlard PA (2019), ‘Ageing and cognition’, Subcellular Biochemistry, 91:107–122, doi:10.1007/978-981-13-3681-2_5
  • Rao SS, Lago L, Volitakis I, Shukla JJ, McColl G, Finkelstein DI and Adlard PA (2021), ‘Deferiprone treatment in aged transgenic tau mice improves Y-maze performance and alters tau pathology’, Neurotherapeutics: The Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 18(2):1081–1094, doi:10.1007/s13311-020-00972-w
  • Daglas M and Adlard PA (2018), ‘The involvement of iron in traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disease’, Frontiers in Neuroscience, 12:981, doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00981

Contact us

For more information about our group’s research you can contact us by submitting this form.

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