Synaptic Neurobiology Group

Our laboratory 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 foci within the lab, including both normal and pathological ageing (e.g. age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and Frontotemporal dementia), as well as to other conditions (such as head trauma) that are characterized by a failure of normal zinc ion homeostasis. Other diseases, such as the zinc-mediated Acrodermatitis enteropathica, are also studied within the lab.

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 interests

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


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



Research team

Research team head


  • Juan, S.M.A. and Adlard, P.A. (2019). Ageing and Cognition. Subcellular Biochemistry, 91, pp.107–122. doi:
  • Rao, S.S., Lago, L., Volitakis, I., Shukla, J.J., McColl, G., Finkelstein, D.I. and Adlard, P.A. (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, [online] 18(2), pp.1081–1094. doi:
  • Daglas, M. and Adlard, P.A. (2018). The Involvement of Iron in Traumatic Brain Injury and Neurodegenerative Disease. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 12. doi:

Contact us

Professor Paul Adlard

Group Head
[email protected]