Pharmacology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry Research
Head of laboratory
Microglia are the resident immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS) that are ubiquitously distributed across brain regions and constitute a network of surveillance and defence cells. Upon detection of any insult to brain tissue, microglial cells undergo a process of activation to ultimately decrease inflammation and destroy any infectious agents. The peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (PBR) is one of the earliest and most commonly expressed molecules during microglial activation in inflammatory, degenerative, vascular and infective CNS diseases, and can be used as an early indicator of tissue damage. This lab investiages the diagnostic applications of PBR expression in neuro-oncology.
The research is conducted in interdisciplinary teams of experts in cellular and molecular biology, chemistry, physics, medical imaging, data modeling and various areas of the health and medical sciences. The application of fundamental nuclear science and advanced nuclear technology (i.e. radioisotope-labelled molecular probes and positron emission tomography - PET) to the life sciences is an important part of this research program. In association with Australian Nuclear Sciences and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), the Bragg Institute (neo.ansto.gov.au/bragg) and the Australian Synchrotron (www.synchrotron.vic.gov.au), there are unique opportunities to gain broader access to some of the most advanced nuclear technologies, reaching from in vivo imaging to accelerator mass-spectrometric analysis of drug distribution in biological tissue or the study of proteins by x-ray and neutron reflectometry. There is an active program to improve the access for women and young professionals to the broad field of nuclear science with its applications in the material, environmental and life sciences.
Supervised by Professor Richard Banati