Synaptic Neurobiology Laboratory

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.

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

We utilize a number of techniques within the lab, such as 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.

“We invite outstanding PhD candidates to meet and discuss potential projects”.

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