I am delighted that after many years of planning we celebrated the opening of the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research (CJCADR) on 28 February.

The Centre was named in recognition of the late Dr Clem Jones AO, whose prescient philanthropic donation directed toward supporting research to find a cure for brain damage and diseases such as dementia has underpinned CADR’s establishment. The Queensland Premier, the Honourable Campbell Newman MP, officially opened the Centre. His moving address highlighted how he, like many Australians, understands first-hand the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease, and I appreciate his commitment to the belief that there is a cure to be found. I am also grateful to our other major donors: John T. Reid Charitable Trusts, The Helpful Foundation and G. James Pty Ltd, for their continuing support. The CADR team, under the leadership of the inaugural Director, Professor Jürgen Götz, has already made a number of significant discoveries, leading to the development of small compounds and antibodies with the potential to prevent disease onset or progression.

Associate Professor Elizabeth Coulson has recently made great progress in identifying changes in the Alzheimer’s diseased brain in a non-invasive way. She and her team have used a method of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) on a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease to identify early structural changes in an area of the brain known to deteriorate in the disease. They have also identified that degeneration in this area is associated with impaired ability in idiothetic navigation, and has been involved in the development of an online test to assess these same navigation abilities in humans. 

In other exciting news, the Federal Government has announced $31 million to support a new Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) focussed on Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Our congratulations to QBI’s Associate Professor Charles Claudianos who is part of the CRC and will be focussing on the genetic and biochemical profiling of people with ASD.

Professor Perry Bartlett FAA
Director, Queensland Brain Institute