Neurodevelopment in Health and Disease is a multidisciplinary research program established to identify the determinants of healthy brain development, and early origins of neurological disease.
We are a group of researchers with complementary skills and expertise in functional and structural examination of the brain and peripheral nervous system, using molecular, pharmacological, neurophysiological, and behavioural assessment techniques.
The aim of our research program is to discover the fundamental changes that occur in the brain and other key organs during development, and how these might be changed or disrupted by disease and environmental impacts such as stress.
Our research addresses fundamental neurobiological questions as well as important biomedical problems including poor fetal growth, cerebral palsy, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke, sleep disorders, and the origins of behavioural abnormalities such as epilepsy, autism, and schizophrenia.
The methodologies we use enable the investigation of oxidative stress, neurogenesis and myelination, mitochondrial function, regulation of brain energy supply, neuroendocrinology of stress, quantitative assessment of behaviour and cognition, and detailed evaluation of brain structure using MRI/MRS, electrophysiology, qPCR, Next-Gen sequencing, and immunohistochemistry.
Selected past and current research projects include the following.
- Fundamental development of the brain and peripheral nervous system
- Early origins of major disorders (e.g. cerebral palsy, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy)
- Impact of compromised pregnancy on fertility, cardiovascular, renal, lung and gastro-intestinal systems
- Perinatal programming of adult disease (e.g. stroke, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease)
- Influence of diet and the microbiome on brain development and behaviour
- Central nervous system and spinal cord plasticity after stroke, and injury
- Neuroendocrinology of pre- and post-pubertal development
- Impact of obstructive sleep apnoea on chronic neurological disorders such as dementia
- Nanotechnology for drug delivery in the neonate
Who we are
- Professor David Walker (Program Leader)
- Professor Emilio Badoer
- Dr Gayathri Balasuriya
- Dr Sara Baratchi
- Dr Paul Bertrand
- Dr Angela Cumberland
- Associate Professor Moshi Geso
- Dr Ronda Greaves
- Dr Elisa Hill
- Dr Melinda Jackson
- Dr Trisha Jenkins
- Dr Robin Laycock
- Dr Tamara Paravicini
- Dr Michelle Rank
- Dr Amy Reichelt
- Professor Stephen Robinson
- Dr Luba Sominsky
- Associate Professor Sarah Spencer
- Dr Mary Tolcos
Work with us
We are always interested in finding collaborators and recruiting Masters and PhD candidates for research in the following areas:
- fundamental development of the brain
- fetal and neonatal brain injury, neuroprotection and repair.
- early origins of major neurological disorders including autism, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s Disease
- impact of compromised pregnancy and perinatal programming on fertility, cardiovascular, renal, lung and the gut
- influence of diet, the microbiome, and the gut-brain axis on development and adult health
- effects of stroke on brain and spinal cord neuroplasticity in babies and the adult
- the origins of obstructive sleep apnoea and other sleep disorders, and their effect on the brain