Research into the nervous system, senses & movement

Theme Leader: William Phillips

banner image

This is the largest and most diverse group of researchers within the Bosch Institute. It includes over 30 laboratories and more than 150 active scientists, including students. Their research interests fall into three broad groups.

Group 1 is exploring many aspects of mammalian brain function, including vision, hearing, the regulation of the cardiovascular system and pain perception. Other approaches include the study of glia, synapses and the properties of the transmitters and their receptors, which are the basis of most current neurally active drugs. Many groups are trying to identify the details of neurons, their connections and the transmitters, growth factors and circulating hormones that modulate their function.

Group 2 are focused on a wide range of diseases of the nervous system and use both model systems and, where possible, human samples to further our understanding of the disease process.

Group 3 studies movement at a variety of levels, nervous, skeletal and muscular.

Every laboratory in this Research Theme has collaborations with other groups, with other Research Themes within the Bosch Institute and with other scientists nationally and internationally. There also is a range of interactions with the health services and with industry.

The development of the Bosch Institute and its integration into the Central Research Hub will facilitate research in the "Nervous system, senses & movement" Research Theme in a variety of ways. The improved administration of the Institute will increase communication and set in place pathways for increased collaboration. The further development of core facilities will improve access to modern research techniques, allow students to acquire new skills more rapidly, and provide improved infrastructure for research.

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. The NSM groups are at the forefront of many of these technologies; for instance, the Leamy group is focusing on the role of a novel protein in the development of visual pathways and the Luke Henderson group uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore the site of pain perception. The further development of our central molecular biology facility and collaborations with the Brain & Mind Institute, who are developing a functional MRI facility, will assist developments in these two laboratories.

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 NSM group 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. The Allen laboratory has identified a novel channel that seems to play a key role in muscular dystrophies; when the activity of the channel is inhibited, the muscle damage is ameliorated.

Development of drugs for treatment of nervous system disorders also is a major activity, for example in the Johnston, Vandenberg and Allan laboratories.

Studies of movement are a third major area, with laboratories focused on the motor neuron, the neuromuscular junction and muscle function. A major cause of loss of independence in our ageing population is the loss of mobility related to neuromuscular decline. Improved understanding of this issue is a precondition for the improved health of the elderly. Bone is also the focus of some laboratories, particularly regulation of bone turnover in the Mason laboratory and its relation to the prevalent condition of osteoporosis. The Donlon laboratory brings diversity with studies of bones in forensic and anthropological settings.

Desired impact on knowledge and/or practice

Group 1

  • Basic Sciences: To develop, through molecular and integrative research approaches, a detailed understanding of the normal functioning of the central nervous system.
  • Innovation: To facilitate invention of innovative research techniques by scientifically "cross-cultural" collaboration, enabled by (1) links generated within the Research Theme and (2) links generated with members of other Research Themes.
  • Translation: To enable an informed approach to the clinical abrogation, treatment or palliation of diseases of the nervous system.

Group 2

  • Basic Sciences: To develop, through molecular and integrative research approaches, a detailed understanding of how disturbances to the normal functioning of the central nervous system lead to disease.
  • Innovation: To facilitate invention of innovative research techniques by scientifically "cross-cultural" collaboration, enabled by (1) links generated within the Research Theme and (2) links generated with members of other Research Themes.
  • Translation: To enable (1) an informed approach to the clinical abrogation, treatment or palliation of diseases of the nervous system; (2) application of new approaches to clinical problems of cognition and sensory impairment.

Group 3

  • Basic Sciences: To develop, through molecular and integrative research approaches, a detailed understanding of how movement is controlled and carried out under normal physiological circumstances.
  • Innovation: To facilitate invention of innovative research techniques by scientifically "cross-cultural" collaboration, enabled by (1) links generated within the Research Theme and (2) links generated with members of other Research Themes.
  • Translation: To enable (1) an informed approach to the clinical abrogation, treatment or palliation of movement disorders; (2) to apply new approaches to management of clinical problems of the nervous system, skeleton and muscle.

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 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 Max Bennett
Publications
E: max.bennett@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 0872
F: +61 2 9351 0731
Neurobiology Laboratory
A/Prof Michael Buckland
Publications
E: mbuc9464@usyd.edu.au
T: 91141148
F: 93513429
Molecular Neuropathology 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

A/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 Michelle Gerke
Publications
E: michelle.gerke@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9351 4703
F: +61 2 9351 2813
Laboratory of Neuroglycobiology and Sensation
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

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
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 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 Atomu Sawatari
Publications
E: atomu@medsci.usyd.edu.au
T: +61 2 9036 7127
F: +61 2 9351 8400
Systems Neuroscience Laboratory
Dr Samuel Solomon
Publications
E: samuel.solomon@bosch.org.au
T: +61 2 9036 9926
F: +61 2 9351 2058
Laboratory of Vision and Cognition
Prof Jonathan Stone
Publications
E: jonstone@physiol.usyd.edu.au
T: +61 2 9351 5664
Retinal and Cerebral Neurobiology

Dr Greg Sutherland
Publications
E: g.sutherland@sydney.edu.au
T: +61 2 9036 7233

Neuropathogenesis Laboratory

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