Neuroscience

Neuroscience

Honours Supervisors » Affiliated Institutes

This page is currently under review to be updated, projects may not be current. Please refer to the Potential Research Projects for 2022 (Honours, Masters, PhD)   document for 2022 additional projects.

 

Primary supervisors of Honours students from the below Institutes must have a conjoint academic appointment in the School of Medical Sciences or the School of Psychology. If the supervisor does not meet either of these requirements, a co-supervisor who is a member of staff within the School of Medical Sciences or the School of Psychology must be appointed.

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)

Group/Lab Name

Name

Research Area / Thesis topics

Contact details

Status
Laboratory of ImmunoPsychiatry Dr Adam Walker We invesitgate how the immune system hijacks the brain and causes symptoms of psychiatric illness, typically using animal models. Projects offered: 1. Using models of infection we are testing timecourses of behavioural responses and whether treatment with drugs that promote removal of excess gluatamate from the brain may be a novel treatment for inflamamtion-indcued depression. 2. Using mouse models of breast cancer and chemotherapy, we are investigating mechanisms and treatments for cancer-related cognitive impairment and anxiety disorders in cancer patients. 3. We are evaluating stress and inflamamtory markers biological samples from children with Autism to identify if there are subtypes of autism based on biological phenotype compared to diagnostic criteria.

Neuroscience Research Australia. Barker Street Randwick.

Email: a.walker@neura.edu.au;

Ph: 02 9399 1068

Current. Updated October 2021

Medicine/Psychiatry

Location: Schizophrenia Research Lab (SRL) within NeuRA
Prof Cynthia (Cyndi) Shannon Weickert Enhancing neurogenesis in adult primates brain.

Neuroscience Research Australia

Barker Street, Randwick

Email: cyndi@neura.edu.au

Current. Updated October 2021

Medicine/Psychiatry

Location: Schizophrenia Research Lab (SRL) within NeuRA
Prof Cynthia (Cyndi) Shannon Weickert Increased levels of midbrain immune-related transcripts in schizophrenia: relationship to changes in neurotransmitter systems.

Neuroscience Research Australia

Barker Street, Randwick

Email: cyndi@neura.edu.au

Current. Updated October 2021

Medicine/Psychiatry

Location: Schizophrenia Research Lab (SRL) within NeuRA

Prof Cynthia (Cyndi) Shannon Weickert

Dr Tertia Purves-Tyson

The role of the microbiome and metabolic syndrome in schizophrenia and related psychoses.

Neuroscience Research Australia

Barker Street, Randwick

Email: cyndi@neura.edu.au

Email:t.purves-tyson@neura.edu.au

Current. Updated October 2021

Medicine/Psychiatry

Location: Schizophrenia Research Lab (SRL) within NeuRA
Dr Tertia Purves-Tyson Role of neuroinflammation and neurotransmitter systems in the improved cognition induced by estrogen receptor modulation.

Neuroscience Research Australia

Barker Street, Randwick

Email:t.purves-tyson@neura.edu.au

Current. Updated October 2021
Psychiatric Genetics

A/Prof Jan Fullerton

Research Area: Bipolar Disorder is a severe and debilitating psychiatric condition, for which treatment is based on sequential trial-and-error of different medicines, which are only effective in a subset of patients. The biological predictors of treatment response remain largely obscure and will be the focus of this project.
 
Techniques: genomic risk profiling using polygenic risk scores; statistical analysis, bioinformatics; pharmacogenetics

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)

139 Barker St, Randwick

P: 9399 1836

NeuRA Supervisor profile

UNSW Researcher profile

 
Active and Healthy Ageing Prof Kim Delbaere, Dr Kylie Radford, Dr Kim van Schooten ,  Dr Louise Lavrencic & , Dr Adrienne Withall
Our group develops innovative approaches to promote healthy and active ageing. We focus on understanding physical, cognitive and psychological contributors to fall risk, dementia and inactivity. To address these contributors, we employ eHealth interventions to promote physical activity. Our target populations are: community-dwelling older people aged 65 years and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people aged 55 years and over, and a range of clinical populations (mild cognitive impairment, dementia, peripheral artery disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc). A few examples of topics of interest are:
  • The effect of app-based exercise programs on balance, cognition and fall risk
  • The effect of self-managed psychological intervention programs on fear of falling
  • The effect of depression and fear of falling on daily activity levels
  • Understanding the relation between cognitive decline and physical health
  • Factors associated with uptake and adherence to exercise interventions 
  • Development of novel wearable technologies to detect fall risk in daily life

Neuroscience Research Australia

School of Psychology / UNSW Science

School of Population Health / UNSW Health & Medicine

Current. October 2021
Brain Structure and Function

Scientia Prof George Paxinos

Dr Teri Furlong

Research project 1: The impact of high-calorie food on brain and behavior
Binge eating of high calorie foods results in a loss of control over food-seeking behavior. This project will investigate the neural mechanisms underlying this effect using a rodent model of binge eating. Pharmacological and microscopy techniques will be used to implicate the brain’s orexin system and to restore normal behavior. 
 
Research project 2: treating cognitive and motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
A preclinical model of Parkinson’s disease will be used to investigate methods to reverse deficits that result from striatal dopamine loss. This could include deficits in motor performance, habitual actions or brain neurochemistry. Techniques may include DREADDS, behaviour, and/or immunohistochemistry/microscopy.
 
There is also a similar project available centred on brain and/or behaviour in an autism model. 
Neuroscience Research Australia

Barker Street, Randwick

P: 9399 1096
 

Falls, Injury and Balance Research Centre

 

Prof Stephen LordDr Jasmine Menant and Dr Daina Sturnieks
Research area: Fall prevention in older people
 
Topics: 
Evaluation of step training using actual slips and trips in older people and people with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. [We have new systems for training older adults to avoid slips and trips in a safe laboratory environment. The apparatus involves an overground slip/trip walkway and a slip/trip treadmill (i.e. sudden acceleration /deceleration).]
 
Evaluation of innovative exergames for feasibility and effectiveness using randomized clinical trial designs. 
 
Remote detection of Freezing of Gait in people with Parkinson's Disease
 
Visuo-spatial processing required for obstacle avoidance in young and older people, using motion capture to investigate behavioural outcomes and a freely-worn brain imaging device - functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to study neural outcomes (pre-determined cortical regions of interest).

Neuroscience Research Australia

Barker Street, Randwick

 

 

 

Neuroscience Research Australia &

School of Medical Sciences(SoMS)

 

Dr Annie Butler, Prof Simon Gandevia, Dr Martin Héroux

Projects: 

1. Dr Annie Butler, Prof Simon Gandevia, Dr Martin Héroux.

How the configuration of our upper limbs impacts how we perceive their location. 

2. Prof Simon Gandevia, Dr Annie Butler, Dr Martin Héroux, Dr. David Kennedy (UTS)

Using tablet-based technology to test human body representation in the clinical setting

Neuroscience Research Australia

Barker Street, Randwick

a.butler@neura.edu.au (project 1)

s.gandevia@neura.edu.au (project 2)

Current. October 2021

Sensorimotor control.
Neural code, bionics.

 

A/Prof Birznieks We offer wide variety of human research projects related to sensorimotor control, hand function. tactile sensory system, psychophysics, neural code, computational neuroscience machine learnining of neural signals, bionics.
We use some very sophisticated electronic equipment and robotic manipulators.. We have projects for students with various skills regardless whether you have basic neuroscience, psychology, engineering or computer science background.

Neuroscience Research Australia

Barker Street, Randwick

P: 9399 1672

i.birznieks@neura.edu.au  

Current. Updated October 2021
Peters Group Dr Ruth Peters Does intergenerational practice, bringing prefrail older adults and preschool children together in mutual activities, reduce older adult frailty and improve quality of life?

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)

Barker Street, Randwick

P: 9399 1015

Current. Updated October 2021
Peters Group Dr Ruth Peters Intergenerational practice, bringing older adults and young children together for mutual benefit? Psychology/NeuRA Current. Updated October 2021

Other Institutions

Group/Lab Name

Name

Research Area / Thesis topics

Contact details

Status

Academic Unit of Child Psychiatry South West Sydney

Prof Valsamma Eapen Research topics: Autism, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, genotypes, neurocognitive predictors of treatment response in autism; genotypes and link with stimulant response in ADHD; genetic and neurophysiological underpinnings of Tourette Syndrome

ICAMHS, Mental Health Centre, L1

Liverpool Hospital, Elizabeth Street

Liverpool, NSW 2170

P: 96164364

 
Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA)

Dr Nady Braidy

Prof Henry Brodaty

Dr John Crawford

Dr Karen Croot

Dr Jiyang Jiang

Dr Nicole Kochan

Dr Ben Lam

Dr Darren Lipnicki

Dr Karen Mather

Dr Katya Numbers

Dr Anne Poljak

Dr Suraj Samtani

Dr Anbu Thalamuthu

A/Prof Wei Wen

All topics in relation to cognitive brain ageing and dementia including neuropsychology, epidemiology, neuroimaging, genetics & genomics, proteomics and statistics.

Large data sets available for analysis in relation to brain imaging, genetics of dementia, blood biomarkers of dementia, epidemiology of cognitive decline.

Neuroimaging and brain ageing laboratories are also available.

All topics in relation to neuropsychiatry and behavioural neurology.
Special interest in drug-induced movement disorders, epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, cognitive disorders.

 

visit the CHEeBA website for more info: https://cheba.unsw.edu.au/
 
All topics in relation to neuropsychiatry and behavioural neurology.
Special interest in drug-induced movement disorders, epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, cognitive disorders.

Psychiatry / CHeBA

P: (02) 9065 0398  E: s.dean@unsw.edu.au
Current. Updated November 2021
Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) Dr Suraj Samtani Psychosocial research: Role of positive and negative social interactions in cognitive ageing. Assessment of psychological processes related to the mental health of older adults.  Psychiatry / Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) Current.  November 2021
Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) Dr Jiyang Jiang Changes in cerebrovascular burdens in ageing Psychiatry / Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) Current.  November 2021
Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) Prof Henry Brodaty
  1. MEMORY AND AGEING STUDY (MAS)
    https://cheba.unsw.edu.au/research-projects/sydney-memory-and-ageing-study
    1. What is the psychological health over time of MAS participants aged 70-90yo. We have data longitudinally for up to 14 years on depression, anxiety, K10/PHQ9, apathy, positive mental health, satisfaction with life
  1. Correlations
  2. Psychotropics
  3. Course
  4. Outcomes e.g. association with dementia, death
    1. Mild behavioural impairment (MBI) (Ismail Z et al). Does MBI in cognitively normal older people predict cognitive decline over time? Examine data from 1037 MAS participants had Neuropsychiatric Inventory ratings at T1 and have been followed up over 14 years.
    2. Progression of behavioural symptoms in population of cognitively normal people? 
      What is the natural history of behaviours and psychological symptoms associated with dementia (BPSD) over 14 years? 
    3. c) & d) could be separate or combined into one project
  1. COGNISANCE – Codesigning Diagnostic process and post-diagnostic care
    https://cheba.unsw.edu.au/consortia/cognisance
    1. Interviewing participants (people diagnosed with dementia in last 12 months and their family members) about their experience with receiving the diagnosis and about what advice they had about how to live well with diagnosis 
Qualitative study of Sydney older people with dementia and their family members and their doctors/health care practitioners
Psychiatry / Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) Current.  November 2021
Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry (3DN) Dr Samuel Arnold & Dr Jacqueline Rushby 

The Australian Longitudinal Study of Autistic Adults (ALSAA) is a nation-wide study of autistic adults (aged 25+ years), their carers / family members, and a community comparison sample.  Now in the midst of time 2 data gathering, multiple project opportunities exist for motivated students with interest in the area of autism.  In combination with our sister Study of Australian School-leavers with Autism (SASLA) a large existing sample covering ages 15-80 years is available.  Particular areas of interest that could be explored by potential scholars include:

  •  Love, relationships and happiness
  •  Social anxiety measurement
  •  Longitudinal loneliness and personality
  •  Physical activities and mental health

Many further data points are also available.  Data gathered is well-suited to add-on mixed methods investigations.  ALSAA utilises an inclusive research approach with guidance from a group of autistic advisors.

School of Psychiatry

P: 9385 0620

 
Eating Disorders Prof Herbert Herzog, Dr Yan Shi, Dr Lei Zhang & Dr Nicola Lee Our laboratory's major goal is to understand how the brain, notably the hypothalamus, regulates appetite and body weight. Defects in the brain pathways that regulate these processes may be responsible for wasting conditions such as anorexia nervosa and cancer cachexia as well as the metabolic resistance to weight loss that often occurs when people try to shed excess weight. We use state of the art molecular biology and physiology technologies to address these questions.

Neuroscience Division

Garvan Institute of Medical Research

384 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst

P: 9295 8296

 
Genetics & Neuroscience of Psychosis

A/Prof Melissa Green

Dr Yann Quide

Our group conducts multi-disciplinary research of psychotic disorders that bridges the complementary disciplines of epidemiology and neuroscience. Our neuroscience work integrates systems-level biology (genetics, epigenetics, neural, cognitive, stress and immune systems) with clues from epidemiology about environmental risk factors (mostly stress-related), to determine processes involved in the development of psychosis that are common among different diagnoses (e.g., schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and/or bipolar disorder). We collaborate with researchers at the Black Dog Institute and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA).

School of Psychiatry

St Vincent's Hospital/ NeuRA

P: 8382 1584

Current 2022
Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering (GSBmE)

Prof Nigel Lovell

Dr Amr Al Abed

Project: Light and optical-electrodes for electrophysiology sensing and modulation

Research area: Neurophysiology recording techniques, cardiac electrophysiology

Samuels Building, UNSW

P: 9385 3922

Current October 2021
Neurodegeneration and Neurogenomics A/Prof Antony Cooper

Our major focus is Parkinson's Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's Disease. The lack of knowledge of the underlying mechanisms responsible for causing Parkinson's Disease (PD) and its progression is the major impediment to therapeutic advances and a cure. To achieve earlier diagnoses, monitoring disease progression and the development of treatments, our research focuses uses multifaceted approaches to discover the cascade of molecular and cellular events that cause the loss of neurons in PD.

Neuroscience Division

Garvan Institute of Medical Research

384 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst

P: 9295 8238

 
Neuroendocrinology Dr Yanchuan Shi Research area/Thesis topic: My group’s primary interests centre on the neuroendocrine control of obesity and diabetes with a special focus on the NPY system. we aim to understand how centrally- and peripherally produced NPY and PYY affects appetite, fat metabolism, insulin secretion/action and energy/glucose homeostasis. By employing sophisticated transgenic animal models and cutting edge molecular techniques, we are able to uncover the critical functions of the NPY system in the brain as well as in the peripheral tissues including brown/white fat and pancreatic islets. Moreover, the key molecular pathways and neuronal circuitries underlying the functions will also be investigated.

Neuroscience Division

Garvan Institute of Medical Research

384 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst

P: 9295 8530 (office) or 9295 8301 (lab)

 

Neuro-inflammation

A/Prof David Brown

Neuro-inflammation:- CNS immunoregulation

Animal models of Multiple Sclerosis
Animal Models of Spinal Cord Injury
 

St Vincent’s Centre for Applied Medical Research

St Vincent’s Hospital Research Precinct

P: 8382 4952

 

Sydney Neurostimulation Centre

Dr Stevan Nikolin

Dr Donel Martin

Prof Colleen Loo

 

Projects:

1. Developing an individualised method of dosing for transcranial direct current stimulation

2. Developing an EEG-based dosing methodology for prefrontal transcranial magnetic stimulation

School of Psychiatry

Black Dog Institute, Randwick

P: 9382 3721 (Randwick)

W: http://www.sync.unsw.edu.au/

Current. October 2021.
Paediatric Neuromuscular Diseases  Dr Michelle Farrar

Research area: Neuromuscular diseases in children.

Studies include understanding  causes, measuring disease progression and improving the management of neuromuscular diseases in children.

School of Women's & Children's Health

Level 3, Sydney Children's Hopsital, Randwick

P: 9382 1799

 

Retinal Networks Laboratory

School of Optometry & Vision Science

Prof Michael Kalloniatis

We investigate the anatomical and functional characteristics of the retina including how retinal circuitry operates with regards to neurotransmitter release, neurotransmitter receptor localisation and receptor functionality. Using animal models for inherited retinal dystrophy or create metabolic insult (ischaemia/reperfusion), we can compare the retinal network of normal and diseased retinas and analyse the functional remodelling which occurs during retinal disease. 

Centre for Eye Health
 
Rupert Myers Building (south wing), UNSW
 
P: 8115 0710
 
School of Optometry and Vision Science & Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering Dr Lisa Nivison-Smith, Dr Mohit Shivadasani

Our group investigates the cellular mechanisms of memory formation. We aim to identify of novel mechanisms that modulate or preserve neuronal connections that may be translated into treatments for disorders of impaired or aberrant connectivity such as Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. Our approach includes patch-clamp electrophysiological recordings and live-cell high resolution fluorescence imaging.

Projects:

Does Neural Selectivity in the Retina Depend on the Extent of Retinal Degeneration – Implications for Bionic Eyes

Dr Lisa Nivison-Smith l.nivison-smith@unsw.edu.au  Current. October 2021
Sensory Neuroscience: Hearing Research

Prof David Ryugo

Dr Michael Muniak

We use electrophysiological methods where we characterize the response properties of auditory neurons, and then inject the recording site with a dye.  The dye stains local neurons and their axon projections, which permit us to study how specific neuron populations are interconnected.  This approach reveals neural circuits and when combined with immunocytochemistry, can uncover which neurotransmitters are involved.  The structure of the involved cells and their synapses is established by quantitative light and electron microscopic methods.  Knowledge about how groups of neurons are interconnected yields clues about the processing of neural information, and can suggest sequential versus parallel processing, signal amplification, feedback and/or lateral inhibition, coincidence detection, and so on.  In short, structure is one foundation of function.

Garvan Institute of Medical Research

384 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst

P: 9295 8288

Current. October 2021