Bosch Institute News 2015

Tall Poppy ……….

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Congratulations to Dr Daniel Johnstone, Postdoctoral Fellow, Retinal and Cerebral Neurobiology Laboratory, Bosch Institute, Discipline of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences - who last night received a prestigious Young Tall Poppy Science Award at a ceremony held at the Museum of Applied Arts and Science in Sydney.

The Young Tall Poppy program, run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS), aims to promote awareness and recognition of Australia’s outstanding intellectual achievers and to encourage younger generations to follow in their footsteps through undertaking further study and careers in the sciences. Applicants are assessed on both “excellence in research achievement in the sciences” and “excellence and passion in communication and community engagement to promote understanding and engagement in science”. Dan was nominated for the award by Assoc Prof Kay Double from the Discipline of Biomedical Sciences.

For more information on the award go to -

Bosch Institute Translational Meeting - 29th September 2015

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You are invited to attend the Bosch Institute Translational Meeting - 29th September - 9.00am - noon - New Law School Building Lecture Theatre 104. Come along and hear of the progress achieved with the support of a Bosch Institute Translational Grant-in-Aid.

For full program go to this link and to register for this event go to here.

Inaugural HL and PO Bishop Fellowship in Neuroscience Awarded

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The Bosch Institute is pleased to announce the award of the the inaugural HL and PO Bishop Fellowship in Neuroscience.

Made possible by a benefaction from Professor P.O. Bishop FAA FRS, Professor of Physiology (1955-67), the Fellowship is for work in neuroscience, with a preference for a member of the Bosch Institute.

The Fellowship will be awarded every two years by the Dean of Medicine on the recommendation of Executive Director of the Bosch Institute, following the advice of Committee convened to consider applications.

The inaugural Fellowship has been awarded to Dr. Elena Bagley (Pharmacology), for her project entitled Optogenetics, dopamine and endogenous opioids in the amygdala

Congratulations to Elena, and every good wish for the success of the project.

From Dr Bagley’s application:

Disturbance of the neural circuits involved in fear learning can result in prolonged and disproportionate responses to threatening stimuli and are thought to underlie a range of anxiety disorders in humans, including phobias, post traumatic stress disorder and panic disorders….

Endogenous opioids are significant modulators of amygdala function and through this may modulate the fear response. To fully understand the clinical potential of endogenous opioids it is critical to understand how opioid actions in the amygdala are regulated by synaptic inputs from other brain regions, such as the dopaminergic inputs from the ventral tegmental area. The major impediment to answering these questions has been lack of techniques for manipulation of specific groups of neurons and their synaptic projections to the amygdala. Optogenetics overcomes this impediment by allowing experimental control over neurons or their projections on physiologically relevant timescales. This project uses optogenetics to define how dopamingergic synaptic inputs from the ventral tegmental area regulate endogenous opioid actions in the amygdala.

Bosch Institute - Rebecca L Cooper Prize & Medal for Best Postdoctoral Publication Announced

At the Annual Bosch Scientific and Young Investigator’s conference held recently on the 16th-17th July, Dr. Michael Lovelace received the 2014 Rebecca Cooper Prize and Medal for best postdoctoral publication, for his manuscript entitled “P2X7 receptors mediate innate phagocytosis by human neural precursor cells and neuroblasts”.

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Left to right: Professor Jonathan Stone, Executive Director, Bosch Institute and Dr. Michael Lovelace, Rebecca L Cooper Prize and Medal recipient, 2014

This manuscript was published in the prestigious journal “Stem Cells” in February 2015. Dr. Lovelace performed this work in the Retinal and Developmental Neurobiology laboratory of Prof. Tailoi Chan-Ling (Discipline of Anatomy and Histology), and with collaborators from the Discipline of Physiology, along with external colleagues from Griffith University (Brisbane), and Florey Neuroscience Institutes (Melbourne).

Prize winning-image captured in the experiments for this study

Image of neural cells: One of Dr. Lovelace's prize winning-images which was captured in the experiments for this study

Development of precise neural circuitry in the pre-natal brain depends on a delicate balance of cell proliferation and differentiation versus clearance of excess apoptotic cells. Defects in apoptotic cell clearance can result in abnormal organ development. Although microglia/macrophages perform phagocytosis during neurodevelopment this is only in the later synaptic competition stage where neurons with aberrant synapses are eliminated. A significant gap in our understanding therefore exists in identifying the celltype(s) and scavenger receptors involved in phagocytosis in early developing human brain. The manuscript therefore makes several highly significant and fundamental advances in the field of developmental neurobiology, including that P2X7 is the active scavenger receptor expressed on undifferentiated human neural precursor cells (hNPCs), and highly on neuroblasts (differentiated immature neurons) (refer neural cells image). P2X7 was previously studied in hematopoietic and not neural cells. Neuroblasts had the highest phagocytic capability, challenging current thinking that neurons progressively acquire functional characteristics as they mature, and this finding also significantly expands our understanding of the functional capabilities of non-professional phagocytes.

In conclusion, this study provides significant evidence of previously unknown capabilities of neuroblasts and hNPCs. Serum-free and low extracellular ATP conditions present in neurodevelopment allow P2X7-phagocytosis to proceed, and the in vitro culture conditions used in the study resemble those of the developing brain microenvironment. As neurons with substantial phagocytic potential, neuroblasts may be a suitable candidate in cell replacement therapy to replace dead neurons in a variety of degenerative neuropathies.

Link to Manuscript – “

Harbour Cruise to Welcome New Young Investigators

The Bosch Young Investigators got their game on at the annual cruise. Clad in crazy costumes, we made our way to King Street Wharf averting perplexed looks from passers-by as we walked through the bustling city streets on this balmy Friday night.

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There were many creative interpretations of the "Games" theme. Some sought childhood memories for inspiration, dressing up as Pokemon characters or personifying their favourite games from Twister to Snakes and Ladders. Lara Croft took a break from raiding tombs, Vincent Valentine came out of hiding, Chun-Li stepped out of her street fights, Katnis left District 12, and Daenerys took her pet dragon out for a night of unlimited drinks, pizza and partying.

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As we cruised around the harbour, we played beer pong, danced and rapped like The Game but that wasn't it. The annual Bosch cruise was a truly fun way to make new friends; it was a night where Pacmans befriended ghosts and Tetris pieces assembled perfectly together. Join us next year... are you game?

Ms Daisy Shu

PhD Candidate

Bosch Young Investigators Retreat, Kioloa 2015

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Bosch Young Investigator Retreat- Kioloa Campus 17-19 Feb 2015

A report by Sharleen Menezes (PhD Candidate)

On the 17th of February 2015, 21 students and 5 academics hopped on board the bus to the serene and remote location of the Kioloa Coastal Campus. After hearing numerous stories and experiences of researchers before me, the Bosch Young Investigator Retreat did not disappoint!

Whether you were in the early stages of your candidature or nearing the end, the Retreat provided valuable and useful insights on CV writing, presentation skills and tips on succeeding after your PhD. Headed by a great group of post-doctoral researches, students were given the opportunity to reflect on their own careers and goals in a very open and relaxed manner.

Personally, the most enjoyable part of the retreat was being able to network and socialise with my fellow students. This included working together on group presentations, playing footy on the beach or sharing stories around the bonfire into the early hours of the morning.

Thank you to all the academics for imparting their wisdom and advice in a fun and entertaining way, with special thanks to Steve Assinder and the Young Investigators Committee for organising a fantastic couple of days. The Bosch Young Investigators Retreat- highly recommended!

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The Heart as an “Engine of Death” for the Brain | Ockham's Razor

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The Institute’s Executive Director (Prof Jonathan Stone) will stretch his vocal cords on Radio Nationals Ockham’s Razor Program, next Sunday morning (February 1). At 7.45am.

The talk, which is called A Tale of Two Organs, will be introduced by ABC Science’s Robyn Williams, concerns the cause of age-related dementia (Alzheimer’s disease).

It is the heart, he will argue, that destroys the brain and brings on the dementia. And, if the idea proves right, a new limit has been identified to human longevity.

The ABC has already put the audio and the text online, at

But – for the romance of radio – listen in on Sunday:

Radio National, 7.45am – the program is called Ockham’s Razor

Transcript of JS’ Ockham’s Razor talk: a tale of two organs can also be downloaded here.

Bosch Young Investigator Retreat, Kioloa 2015

The Annual Bosch Young Investigator Retreat is just around the corner!! The retreat will take place from Tuesday 17th to Thursday 19th February 2015 at Kioloa Coastal Campus, just north of Bateman's Bay.

The retreat is for all postgraduate students and postdoctoral trainees who want to:

  • network with their peers
  • gain advice on career development/pathways
  • learn how to effectively present both oral and poster presentations and write effectively

The casual atmosphere of the retreat is also intended to provide a means of easy interaction with approachable academics to allow discussions on any aspect of science or career development young investigators wish to address. A beach is a short walk away from the retreat, so there will also be free time to relax and socialise.

The registration fee for students and post-docs will be $30 (extended early bird price until Friday 30th January, late registration price is $50). Please note that the Bosch Institute is kindly subsidizing the remainder of the costs. The fee includes 2 nights accommodation, return coach transport, and all meals and drinks.

To register for the retreat, please complete the form and hand it to your Bosch Young Investigator Committee Representative along with payment. Spaces are strictly limited to only 40 people, so make sure you take advantage of the early-bird price before time runs out!

The Committee encourages lab heads and academics to highly recommend this retreat for any new students and early-career post-docs to attend.

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Bosch Young Investigator Committee

Anderson Stuart Bldg:
Shawna Foo (]])
Sam Downland ()
Rosita Pang ()
Kevin Danastas ()
Sadaf Kalam ()
Miranda Matthews () [also for Biomedical Sciences]

Blackburn Bldg:
Angelica Merlot ()
Ben Harris ()
Leyla Fouani ()
Sharleen Menezes ()

Medical Foundation Bldg:
Hannah Glover ()

Brain and Mind Research Institute:
David Clarke ()

Molecular and Microbiology Bldg:
Vicki Xie () [also for Biomedical Engineering]