We have experienced another few months of success and discovery at QBI that I am delighted to share with you.

Firstly, I would like to extend my congratulations to Professor Mandyam Srinivasan, who has received two prestigious awards recently including a top honour from the Royal Institute of Navigation in a ceremony presented by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, along with local recognition by the Queensland Government as a ‘Science Champion’. Professor Srinivasan’s unique research applies biology to engineering and involves designing robotic aircrafts based on the flight behaviour of bees and birds. Among Professor Srinivasan’s many awards and honours, the value of his work is being recognised by aerospace leader, Boeing.

Research featured in this edition of Neuroscience News showcases the true breadth of our work, including a study led by Dr Tim Bredy identifying the genes that control fear memories. Learning how to regulate these genes will assist in controlling fear through therapeutics, and help ease the crippling effects of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias.

Professor Linda Richards’ lab uncovered the significance of sensory input from both sides of the brain during development to ensure optimum wiring between the left and right hemispheres. The study, published in Neuron, found that when neurons in the corpus callosum – which acts as a bridge between the two halves of the brain – were deprived of sensory or endogenous activity in one brain hemisphere, they wired themselves incorrectly in the opposite brain hemisphere.

Additionally, work in Associate Professor Bruno van Swinderen’s lab placed bees in a virtual environment to measure their brain recordings when presented with visual stimuli. The focus of the laboratory is to understand the mechanisms in our brain that pertain to our ability to pay attention, but also to how we are able to suppress stimuli during sleep, or how this can be induced with drugs such as general anaesthetics. The study, published in PNAS, provides valuable insights into the selective attention and key components of consciousness that bees display.

These remarkable insights would not be possible without our supporters. You enable QBI to maintain its leading position as a hub for neuroscience knowledge and breakthroughs, and I look forward to the next opportunity we have to share our latest research findings with you.

In particular, I would like to thank the Maclean family and their network of friends, family and business associates for their unwavering support to QBI. The recent Ross Maclean Fellowship Cup at Caloundra raised over $25,000 to fund motor neuron disease research, helping to maintain the critical work conducted into MND research at QBI.

Thank you as always for your continuing support.

Professor Perry Bartlett FAA
Director, Queensland Brain Institute