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UQ research delves further into the mysteries of the brain

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Researchers from UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute will delve further into the mysteries of how our brains works thanks to more than $7.5 million in funding.

The grant, totalling $7,627,200, is part of National Health and Medical Research Council Program Grant funding announced today and is aimed at understanding how new cells are generated in the adult brain and how they produce functional changes.

A team led by QBI’s Professor Perry Barrtlett FAA will use advanced imaging techniques to better understand how neurons integrate into the brain.

Professor Pankaj Sah, one of four chief investigators, said the funding was a renewal of an existing project that had already unlocked many secrets of our most vital organ. Other chief investigators are Professors Seong-Seng Tan and Trevor Kilpatrick from the Howard Florey Institute.

“Our understanding of the brain has come a fair way in the past few years,” Professor Sah said.

“We have identified how new cells are born in our brain as adults and how they integrate into the neural circuitry.

“Our new focus is looking at behavioural outcomes and how those new cells become parts of our learning and memory functions.”

He described the work as trying to find out how new cogs can be added to an existing machine without “throwing a spanner in the works.”

“This will not only help us understand how the brain develops and how we learn and remember, but also how the brain recovers after disruptions such as stroke and dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease affect those processes,” he said.

Professor David Siddle, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), said the funding would take UQ research to another level.

“Understanding the brain and how it functions is one of the last frontiers of medical science,” Professor Siddle said.

“This research will bring us a step closer to learning what it is that makes this organ unique among the many in our amazingly complex bodies.

(Source: University of Queensland: November 2008.)

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Posted On: 12 November, 2008
Modified On: 16 January, 2014

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