Research into the nervous system, senses & movement.

Theme Leader: William Phillips

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Neuroscience is one of the largest and most active areas of scientific research worldwide. This is strongly reflected in the diverse, multidisciplinary group of neuroscience researchers within the Bosch Institute. The Theme includes over 30 laboratories and more than 150 active scientists, including students. Our research interests fall into two broad and overlapping groups.

Fundamental Neurosciences group: these are laboratories revealing new insights into how the brain develops and functions to support healthy, productive lives. Their work includes investigations of how we perceive the world through vision, hearing, and the phenomenon of pain, as well as neural control of blood pressure.

Many laboratories in the Theme are investigating the interactions between nerve and glial cells that underlie formation and retention of skills and memories, shaping our behaviours. Other laboratories study how synaptic connections develop in early life and are affected by disease, drugs and hormones. Several groups study how our interaction with the external world depends upon motor neurons that control muscles to animate the skeleton within each of us when walk, run, jump and write.

Neuroscience of disease group: these laboratories are focused on specific diseases of the nervous system. They apply our current understanding of normal nervous system function, using the best available model systems and clinical samples to advance our understanding of specific disease processes, and therapeutic approaches to effectively counter them.

Every laboratory in the Nervous System, Senses And Movement Theme has collaborations with other groups, with other research themes within the Bosch Institute, and with other scientists nationally and internationally. This includes interactions with the health services and with industry.

Studies of brain function are the most rapidly growing area of biomedical research, triggered by the explosion of new methods, in particular molecular and imaging techniques. Theme groups are at the forefront of many of these technologies. For instance, the Leamey group is focusing on the role of a novel protein in the development of visual pathways while Luke Henderson’s group uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore the neural centres underlying chronic pain. The further development of our Bosch Molecular Biology Facility and collaborations with the Brain & Mind Centre (functional MRI facility), will help advance this research.

A second reason for the acceleration of research on the brain is the huge impact of neurological disease on the community. As understanding of brain function improves, the tools to understand neurological disease are emerging and nearly every laboratory in the Theme has interests in disease. Some laboratories have abnormal function as their main focus. For instance, the Harper / Matsumoto laboratory maintains a bank of human brains and studies the effects of alcoholism and schizophrenia on brain structure. The Cullen laboratory has developed a new theory of the causation of Alzheimer's disease in which the central pathological event is capillary microhaemorrhage. If the new aetiology is established it will have a major impact on our understanding of the causes and treatment of the disease. Simon Carlisle’s group is working with an international hearing aid company to apply what they have learnt about the cues for spatial hearing, with the aim of improving the conversations and social interactions of the hearing-impaired. Development and testing of new therapeutic drug treatments for nervous system disorders is another major activity, for example in the Johnston and Vandenberg laboratories.

Impaired mobility is a particular concern, given the growing elderly population. Several Bosch laboratories are focused on multiple weak links that can lead to the loss of mobility and personal independence. These weak links include the control of muscle by motor neurons (Phillips Laboratory), problems with the vestibular organ of the inner ear (essential for balance; The Camp Laboratory) and bone and muscle health, which is a focus of the Mason and Speranza labs. The Donlon laboratory extends bone health to forensic and anthropological studies of bones.

Desired impact on knowledge and/or practice

The Nervous system, senses and movement theme has two core goals:

  1. a clearer understanding of the fundamental mechanisms in the brain and nervous system through which we perceive and act upon the world. This new knowledge is essential for us to develop new therapeutic approaches to diseases of the nervous system.
  2. applying our fundamental knowledge with clues from model systems and patient samples to try to understand precisely what is going wrong in diverse diseases of the nervous system, and how these diseases might be overcome.

Neuroscience, tackles complex problems and increasingly demands large-scale collaborative, multidisciplinary approaches. The great scientific tools and facilities of the Bosch Institute draw together hundreds of fundamental and disease-focused researchers and clinicians, helping us to talk to each other and to share diverse insights and ideas. This has already fostered new collaborations to address some big problems of fundamental and applied neuroscience.

Another distinguishing feature of the Bosch Institute is that many of our active researchers are also active teachers of the next generation of biomedical scientists and clinicians. This integration of research and teaching represents our robust commitment to turning new science into improved awareness and better practice.

Laboratory Heads & Senior Researchers

Contact Details Laboratory
Dr Haydn Allbutt
Publications
E: haydn.allbutt@sydney.edu.au
T: 9351 2515
F: 9351 2058
Laboratory of Motor and Sensory Systems
Prof David G Allen
Publications
E: david.allen@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 4602
F: +61 2 9351 2058
Muscle Cell Function Laboratory
Dr Jonathon Arnold
Publications
E: jonathon.arnold@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9036 5361
F: +61 2 9351 7328
Cannabinoid Science Research Group
A/Prof Elena Bagley
Publications
E: elena.bagley@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 4895
Synaptic Physiology and Plasticity Laboratory
A/Prof Vladimir Balcar
Publications
E: vladimir.balcar@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 2837
F: +61 2 9552 2026/ 9351 2813
Chemical Neuroanatomy Laboratory
Prof Maria Byrne
Publications
E: maria.byrne@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 5166
F: +61 2 9351 2813
Animal Development Group
Dr Aaron Camp
Publications
E: aaron.camp@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 9140
F: +61 2 9351 2058
Sensory Systems and Integration Lab
A/Prof Simon Carlile
Publications
E: simon.carlile@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 3205
F: +61 2 9351 6877
Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory

Prof Tailoi Chan-Ling
Publications
E: tailoi@anatomy.usyd.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 2596
F: +61 2 9351 6556

Retinal, Stem Cell and Developmental Neurobiology
Dr Karen Cullen
Publications
E: karen.cullen@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 2696
F: +61 2 9351 2813
Cerebral Microvasculature & Inflammation Laboratory
Pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease
Dr Margot Day
Publications
E: margotd@physiol.usyd.edu.au
T: +61 2 9036 3312
F: +61 2 9036 3316
Developmental Physiology Laboratory
Dr Denise Donlon
Publications
E: denise.donlon@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 4529
F: +61 2 9351 2813
Physical Anthropology & Comparative Anatomy Group
Prof Bogdan Dreher
Publications
E: bogdan.dreher@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 4194
F: + 61 2 9552 2026
Functional organisation mammalian visual system
Dr Claire Goldsbury
Publications
E: claire.goldsbury@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 0878
F: +61 2 9351 0731
Cell Biology of Alzheimer's Disease Laboratory

Prof Manuel Graeber 
Publications 
E: manuel.graeber@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9114 4008
F: +61 2 9351 0731
Brain Tumour Research Laboratories
Dr Luke Henderson
Publications
E: luke.henderson@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 7063
F: +61 2 9351 6556
Neural Imaging Laboratory
Dr Tina Hinton
Publications
E: tina.hinton@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 3217
F: +61 2 9351 3868
Neuropharmacology Laboratory
Dr Daniel Johnstone
Publications
E: daniel.johnstone@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 5162
F: +61 2 9351 6470
Retinal and Cerebral Neurobiology
Prof Emeritus Graham Johnston
Publications
E: graham.johnston@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 6117
F: +61 2 9351 2891
Neuropharmacology Laboratory
A/Prof Kevin Keay
Publications
E: kevin.keay@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 4132
F: +61 2 9351 6556
Neural Structure and Function Laboratory
Prof Jillian Kril
Publications
E: jilliank@med.usyd.edu.au
T: +61 2 9036 7118
F: +61 2 9351 3429
Neuropathology Unit - Dementia, Neurodegeneration, Ageing
Dr Catherine Leamey
Publications
E: cathy@physiol.usyd.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 4352
F: +61 2 9351 2058
Developmental Neurobiology Laboratory
Dr Rita Machaalani
Publications
E: rita.machaalani@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 3851
SIDS and Sleep Apnea Group

Dr Slade Matthews
Publications
E: smatthews@usyd.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 6200

PharmacoInformatics Laboratory

Dr Bronwyn McAllan
Publications
E: bronwyn.mcallan@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9036 3615
F: +61 2 9351 2058

Environmental Control of Physiology Lab

Dr Brent McParland
Publications
E: brent.mcparland@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9036 6477
F: +61 2 9351 4717

Smooth Muscle Mechanics & Tick Borne Diseases Laboratory

Prof John Mitrofanis
Publications
E: john.mitrofanis@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 2500
F: +61 2 9351 2813

Neurosciences and Mental Health

A/Prof Leslie Nicholson
Publications
E: leslie.nicholson@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 9369
F: +61 2 9351 9520

Hypermobility and Performance Research Group

A/Prof Roger Pamphlett
Publications
E: roger.pamphlett@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 3318
F: +61 2 9351 3429

Motor Neuron Disease Research Laboratory

A/Prof William Phillips 
Publications
E: william.phillips@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 4598
F: +61 2 9351 2058

Molecular Neuroscience Laboratory
Dr Dario Protti
Publications
E: dario.protti@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 3928
F: +61 2 9351 2058
Vision Laboratory
A/Prof Renae Ryan
Publications
E: renae.ryan@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 2669
F: +61 2 9351 3868
Transporter Biology Group
Dr Tara Speranza
Publications
E: tara.speranza@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 4099
F: +61 2 9351 2510
Musculoskeletal Endocrine Laboratory
Dr Atomu Sawatari
Publications
E: atomu@medsci.usyd.edu.au
T: +61 2 9036 7127
F: +61 2 9351 8400
Systems Neuroscience Laboratory
Prof Jonathan Stone
Publications
E: jonstone@physiol.usyd.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 5664
Retinal and Cerebral Neurobiology

Prof Robert Vandenberg
Publications 
E: robert.vandenberg@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 6734
F: +61 2 9351 3868

Transporter Biology Group
Prof Karen Waters
Publications
E: karen.waters@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9845 3441
F: +61 2 9845 3396
SIDS & Sleep Apnoea Group