Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology

Neuroscience

Further Information

Contact a supervisor for detailed information on student research projects

Professor Alan Harvey
Professor Alan Harvey

Assoc/Prof Stuart Hodgetts
Research Assoc/Prof Hodgetts


 

More Honours Neuroscience projects can be viewed on the neuroscience website

The School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology offers a diverse range of student research topics.


Cell and tissue transplantation, gene therapy and the repair of central nervous tissue damaged after injury

Project outline

The research by the neuroscience groups in Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology has a particular emphasis on cell and tissue transplantation, gene therapy and the repair of central nervous tissue damaged after injury. Ways are being tested for preventing nerve cells from dying after injury and promoting the regenerative growth of damaged axons. The specificity of axon/target cell reconnection after injury is of particular interest. The potential for replacing compromised cells with new healthy cells, including stem cells, is also under investigation. Studies are mostly carried out in the visual system and in the spinal cord.  Studies on visual system development are also a major interest of the Harvey lab.

Project is suitable for

Honours, Masters, PhD

Supervisor

Assoc/Prof Stuart Hodgetts

Other supervisors
W/Prof Alan Harvey
Essential qualifications

For Honours: An appropriate undergraduate degree with a biological science emphasis, and a minimum weighted average of 65% in the level 3 subjects that comprise the relevant major from an approved institution. Applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

For Masters or PhD: An appropriate Honours degree with a biological science emphasis or equivalent research experience from an approved institution. Applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Desirable skills/experience
Neuroscience emphasis. Cellular and Molecular Biology would be helpful.

The Brain Bioengineering and Imaging

Project outline

I have been working for some time with Karol Miller’s group in Engineering. This group is interested in modelling the deformation and movement of the brain in injury and during surgery. To do this modelling they need to know various parameters about the brain, e.g. how compressible it is, how fast liquid can travel through brain tissue, how elastic it is etc. etc.  Surprisingly many of these basic brain structural parameters are not know with any certainty.

This research would involve constructing apparatus, sometimes with the help of engineers to test and measure these parameters in post mortem brain tissue, usually from sheep.  We are also interested in imaging the brain and comparing the results from MRI/CT/ultrasound etc. to theoretical modelling results.  The engineers are good at constructing models of brain deformation but know little anatomy so will need your help in comparing the results.
Project is suitable for

Honours, Masters, PhD

Supervisor

Prof Stuart Bunt

Essential qualifications

For Honours: An appropriate undergraduate degree with a biological science emphasis, and a minimum weighted average of 65% in the level 3 subjects that comprise the relevant major from an approved institution. Applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

For Masters or PhD: An appropriate Honours degree with a biological science emphasis or equivalent research experience from an approved institution. Applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Fibre Pathways after Spinal Cord Regeneration

Project outline

Unlike humans and other mammals, fish can regenerate their spinal cords. This gives us the ability to examine what may happen when the mammalian researches eventually get good spinal cord regeneration in mammals.  Will the new axons make appropriate connections, will they get lost in scar tissue?

This experiment would involve severing the spinal cord of fish while they are anaesthetized, allowing the cord to regenerate, then labelling sub sets of axons with fibre tracers to examine where the regenerated axons have grown.  The spinal cords would then be examined

Project is suitable for

Honours, Masters, PhD

Supervisor

Prof Stuart Bunt

Essential qualifications

For Honours: An appropriate undergraduate degree with a biological science emphasis, and a minimum weighted average of 65% in the level 3 subjects that comprise the relevant major from an approved institution. Applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

For Masters or PhD: An appropriate Honours degree with a biological science emphasis or equivalent research experience from an approved institution. Applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Physical properties of nervous tissue

Project outline

Working with Karol Miller’s large research group in Mechanical engineering we are looking at various physical aspects of brain structure such as its elasticity, fluid permeability, and resistance to compression. These measurements are then used to model brain deformation in surgery and disease. Accurate modelling of brain movement during, for example, robotic guided surgery is necessary to ensure that electrodes or excisions are accurately placed in tumours or selected brain nuclei. Knowledge of the interface between the skull and brain define the edge effects of brain distortion in impact injuries. We are also interested in fluid flow through brain tissue as this can effect properties such as rigidity in the enclosed skull and responses to distortion of the brain ventricles by space filling lesions such as tumours and blood clots. The research will involve experimenting on sheep and human brain tissue, applying stresses and strains in finely calibrated apparatus to obtain the required parameters. For fluid flow we wish to investigate mass flow using gold nano particles followed by electron microscopy to study microflow in brain tissue.

Project is suitable for

Honours, Masters, PhD

Supervisor

Prof Stuart Bunt

Essential qualifications

For Honours: ANHB2217 preferred (other neuro units may suffice).

For Masters or PhD: A background in biology with some neuroanatomy/neuroscience