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19 September 2006

The Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and international technology company Zeiss Australasia have agreed to develop high-end microscopy at The University of Queensland.

The Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and international technology company Zeiss Australasia have agreed to develop high-end microscopy at The University of Queensland.

A Zeiss-equipped “Advanced Imaging Centre” – valued at more than $1.5 million – will be part of the new QBI neuroscience facilities which are due for completion by June 2007.

QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett said the new centre would enable QBI to become the focus for the development and application of new imaging technology within the Asia-Pacific region.

“It is also a pleasing recognition by a leading international scientific company of Australia`s central role in the burgeoning scientific development in the Asia–Pacific region,” Professor Bartlett said.

Zeiss Australasia Managing Director Tony Saliba said the new Advanced Imaging Centre was the first such arrangement in the Asia–Pacific region for his company.

“From our point of view, this is a long-term and strategic investment in partnership with a high-profile Institute that we think will become the hub of neuroscience in the Asia–Pacific,” Mr Saliba said.

The agreement includes installation of one confocal laser scanning microscope and two light-microscopy systems.

QBI's Professor Pankaj Sah said the imaging centre's state-of the-art microscopes would be used for research that seeks to understand the fundamental mechanisms that regulate brain function.

“It's anticipated that our increasingly detailed awareness of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying brain function will have a major impact on our understanding of more complex areas such as behaviour, cognition, ageing, neurological disease and mental illness,” Professor Sah said.

“Until now, neuroscientists who wanted to develop research techniques at the highest levels of microscopy were obligated to travel to the United States or Europe.”

“Instead of negotiating our technical requirements with sales representatives, we'll have a Zeiss specialist working with QBI neuroscientists, which means QBI gets the first ‘hit' in terms of developing new technologies.”

Under the agreement with Zeiss Australasia, the imaging centre will be staffed by a Zeiss-trained product specialist to work with scientists in the development and application of advanced imaging technologies.

In addition, Zeiss Australasia and QBI are developing travelling fellowships to encourage collaboration with early-mid career scientists, particularly from China.

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For more information, please contact:
QBI Communications Office
Tel: +61 7 3346 6434

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.