Discovering the fundamental mechanisms of brain function
The Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) was established in 2003, with building of the existing site commissioned in 2007.
In the past decade, the Institute has achieved remarkable success, and is currently led by Professor Pankaj Sah. Underpinning this success are the major scientific discoveries that QBI researchers are making every day. Since inaugural Director Professor Perry Bartlett co-authored QBI’s first publication in the prestigious Nature journal, the Institute has published over 1,200 papers.
The quality of work produced by QBI researchers is demonstrated by the Institute’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australia Research Council (ARC) grant success, attracting over $110 million in competitive grant funding to date. These grants are awarded following a rigorous, competitive and open peer review, and QBI continually achieves a success rate far above the national average.
It is QBI's excellence in the field that has played a key role in The University of Queensland (UQ) attaining the highest possible score of five for neuroscience, "well above world standard", in both the 2010 and 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) reviews, one of only two universities in Australia to achieve this.
Above all, QBI aims to discover the fundamental mechanisms regulating brain function in health and disease, in particular understanding the brain circuitry underlying function. To achieve this QBI investigates key areas using a number of animal models, fruit fly, honey bee, worms and mice through to humans:
- Cognition and behaviour
- Computation and neuronal circuits
- Neurogenesis and neuronal survival
- Genetics and epigenetics
- Neuronal trafficking
- Neuronal development and connectivity
- Sensory systems
- Synaptic function
In collaborations with clinicians and commercial partners, new discoveries are used as the basis to develop new therapeutic approaches to ameliorate the effects of brain diseases such as dementia, schizophrenia, motor neuron disease (MND), and anxiety and depression.
To focus on important areas, QBI has established several Institute Centres:
- The Science of Learning Centre (SoLC) was established in 2010, with the objectives being to identify research and understand effective teaching and learning practices in the light of current knowledge about basic learning processes and factors that influence successful human learning.
- The Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research (CJCADR) was established in 2012 and is focused entirely on research into the prevention and treatment of dementia.
- The Centre for Neurogenetics and Statistical Genomics (CNSG) was established with the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in 2013 and brings together a team of researchers with expertise in neurogenetics, neuropsychiatric genetics, statistical genomics and computational biology working to make new discoveries in the genetic basis of psychiatric disorders, motor neuron disease and cognitive ageing.
- The Asia-Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation (APCN) is a world leader in using deep brain stimulation to revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases.