Associate Professor Jess Nithianantharajah
BSc (Hons), PhD

Associate Professor Jess Nithianantharajah is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and heads the Synapse Biology and Cognition laboratory. She completed her doctorate in behavioural neuroscience at the University of Melbourne examining synaptic changes following learning and experience then commenced postdoctoral training at the Howard Florey Institute to further investigate gene-environment interactions modulating experience-dependent synaptic plasticity. She was recruited as a postdoctoral fellow by Prof. Seth Grant at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK during which time she also held a joint appointment at the University of Cambridge working with Prof. Tim Bussey and Prof. Lisa Saksida on the development of the rodent touchscreen cognitive tests - an innovative behavioural tool for mice that has advanced how we model complex learning and mental processes in animals. She then relocated to the University of Edinburgh before returning to Melbourne to the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health as an Independent group leader. 

Associate Professor Nithianantharajah’s research interests lie in understanding the role of synaptic genes in cognition and disease. Employing the rodent touchscreen assays to probe distinct cognitive components, Jess’s work provided the first evidence of dissecting the cognitive repertoire in mice to show that these cognitive components are differentially regulated by a family of postsynaptic scaffold proteins, providing novel insights into the evolution of cognition. Moreover, her research has been the first to showcase the translational capacity of the touchscreens in assessing cognition in mice and humans carrying mutations in the same gene, providing a novel approach for how to bridge the divide from animal to human studies towards delivering precision medicine for cognitive disorders.

  • Location

    Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
    30 Royal Parade


Research Papers

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Showing 10 of 40. VIEW ALL

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