Developmental Psychobiology Laboratory

We aim to understand the neurobiological mechanisms underlying emotional memory across development.

Memory and emotion both govern so much of how we feel, think, and act – and ultimately can decide the maladaptive motivations that drive mental disorders. Brain changes that are normally involved in our development from infancy through adolescence and into maturation contribute enormously to the onset, progression, and treatment of mental disorders such as anxiety and addiction. Our brain and memory also continue to change throughout ageing, hence, we are also examining ways to improve and maintain memory late in life. We will identify the mechanisms involved in pathological learning, memory, and behavior to design more effective treatment interventions. Our projects involve use of behavioural paradigms, transgenic models, and molecular/gene assays. By investigating the neural and the behavioural causes and consequences of youth susceptibility to mental health problems, and memory impairment in the aged, our lab aims to change understandings of mental health across the lifetime, and improve treatment outcomes for vulnerable populations.

Key Collaborations:

Professor Eric Nestler (Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai);

A/Professor Sarah Whittle (Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Center);

Professor Geoffrey Faulkner (Queensland Brain Institute);

A/Professor Marnie Blewitt (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute);

Professor Susan Rossell (Swinburne University);

Professor Steven Collins (The University of Melbourne);

A/Professor Haowei Shen (Peking University, China);

Dr Annabel Short (University of California, Irvine, USA);

A/Professor Benjamin Harrison (Melbrune Neuropsychiatry Center);

Professor Antonio Paolini (RMIT); A/Professor Yvonne Bonomo (St Vincent’s Hospital)

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