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23 October 2007

The Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Auckland this week, initiating significant exchanges of neuroscience expertise across the Tasman.

The Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Auckland this week, initiating significant exchanges of neuroscience expertise across the Tasman.

Speaking at an official ceremony to mark the agreement, QBI Director Perry Bartlett said the two organisations planned to work together to translate cellular discoveries in neuroscience into the human context.

“Together, we plan to be a dominant force in neuroscience in the Asia–Pacific region," Professor Bartlett said.

According to Professor Tom Barnes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Auckland, the MOU helps to recognise and develop a critical mass of neuroscience expertise.

“Interest in neuroscience is growing strongly in New Zealand and the new agreement will encourage the exchange of ideas … as research in this field has doubled in the past five years.”

The two organisations had a unique set of resources unrivalled almost anywhere in the world, he said.

This included a 700 MHz animal MRI, the world’s only neuroscience-dedicated flow cytometry facility, a unique tissue bank and access to animal models of several human diseases.

Professor Richard Faull, head of the University of Auckland’s Anatomy Department, said the collaboration represented an exciting new direction for neuroscience.

“We’re committed to doing the best neuroscience in the world and this agreement will result in PhD students and post-docs exchanging ideas with leaders in the field,” Professor Faull said.

“I’m convinced something exciting and different will emerge from this agreement – we should have done it years ago!”

Professor Bartlett and Professor Faull later spoke at a QBI public seminar about neurogenesis and new approaches to treating brain disease, which was attended by about 150 people.

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Notes to the Editor
QUEENSLAND BRAIN INSTITUTE
The Queensland Brain Institute was formed in 2003 as part of the Queensland Government’s Smart State Initiative, building on a long history of neuroscience at The University of Queensland. QBI is dedicated to understanding the molecular basis of brain function and applying this knowledge to the development of new therapeutics to treat brain and mental health disorders.