Professor Paul Adlard

Parkville Campus
30 Royal Parade
Parkville Victoria 3052

Research group
Synaptic Neurobiology Group

Florey researcher Professor Paul Adlard


During his PhD, Professor Adlard characterised the early cellular changes that occur following brain injury, using both in vitro and in vivo animal models, and also those found in the pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease brain, using post-mortem human brain tissue. Through these studies, he was able to identify key proteins and cellular pathways that were similarly affected across both conditions and which may be involved in the pathogenesis of both indications. The in vitro and in vivo studies created a platform on which to test novel therapeutic approaches that may be efficacious for both brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease. A number of different therapeutic approaches were tested, identifying a number of candidate compounds that targeted different aspects of the cellular responses that were common between head injury and Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Adlard then completed a postdoctorate at The Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia at The University of California at Irvine, where the focus was on understanding how voluntary exercise could affect the central nervous system and help promote successful brain ageing. Key outcomes included a characterisation of how exercise impacted BDNF gene and protein expression across lifespan and how exercise could limit stress responses, improve outcomes across age, promote learning and memory and interact on Alzheimer’s disease-related cellular pathways to limit the development of AD-like pathology in animal models of disease.

Following a relocation to Melbourne, Professor Adlard has continued his research into age-related neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as head trauma. He has focused on the role of metals (such as zinc and iron) in both the initiation and potentiation of disease (and also their role in normal learning and memory and cellular function) and further, on their utility as a target for small molecule approaches to improve disease outcomes. Most recently, Professor Adlard has been leveraging novel technologies for developing in vitro platforms for modelling human brain development and disease.

Professor Adlard’s laboratory has utilised a number of techniques, such as in vivo mouse models (animal behaviour, surgery, in vivo microdialysis, controlled cortical impact TBI models etc), multielectrode arrays (for high throughput electrophysiology), cell culture (primary cultures, cell lines, microfluidic cultures, human stem cells and 3D culture models), synaptic RNA profiling using next generation sequencing and other more standard methodologies such as western blot and histological work (stereological analysis using both animal and human tissues).

Career highlights

Current roles

  • Synaptic Neurobiology Group Head, The Florey
  • Chief Scientific Officer,Tessara Therapeutics
  • Chair, Scientific Advisory Board,Tessara Therapeutics
  • Senior Scientific Consultant, Alterity Therapeutics
  • Executive Chair, The only Florey Animal Ethics Committee
  • Chair, AEC#1 , The Florey
  • Member of the International Society for Zinc Biology Membership Committee
  • Editorial Board member for several international journals
  • Peer reviewer for various international journals and granting bodies

Past roles

  • Chair, Seminar committee, The Florey
  • Chair, Melbourne Dementia Research Centre Seminar Series
  • Member, Bioresources committee, The Florey
  • Member, Faculty, The Florey
  • Member, Grant Assist Program, The Florey
  • Scientific consultant to various organisations

Awards and achievements

  • 2017 — NHMRC Ten of the Best Research Projects
  • 2016 — Top 20 most accessed article in Metallomics
  • 2016 — Editor’s choice article in Metallomics
  • 2012 — ARC Future Fellowship (Level 2)
  • 2011 — AAICAD Travel Fellowship
  • 2010 — Fujihara Foundation Travel Award
  • 2006 — NHMRC Howard Florey Centenary Research Fellowship
  • 2002 — Royal Society of Tasmania Doctoral Award for making significant advances in my field at an early-career stage
  • 1998 — Gerontology Association Best Poster prize, Australian Society for Medical Research

Research publications


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