University of Melbourne

The Melbourne Neuroscience Institute (MNI) is the principal body for the promotion of cross disciplinary research in the Neurosciences at the University of Melbourne. The MNI sponsored themes continue to thrive

  • Stem Cells Australia. The harnessing of stem cell biology to study the function of neural networks in vitro keeps our neuroscientists at the cutting edge, for example those who are studying the pathogenesis of epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The Melbourne Brain Centre Imaging Unit. Research undertaken on the 7 Tesla MRI and PET‑CT scanners involves a mature synthesis of basic development work and clinical application.
  • The Centre for Neural Engineering. The team undertakes world leading research in the development of microsensor technology and its application to monitoring the activity of neurological disease. The commissioning of the Helium ion microscope within the CfNE has also provided our investigators with a rare opportunity to visualise the microstructure of the biological and physical systems they work with at unparalleled resolution.
  • Music, Mind and Wellbeing. This initiative has continued its successful partnership with the Melbourne Recital Centre to deliver the ‘Music on the Mind’ seminar series and continues to voice the importance of music to the general community, to education and to medical rehabilitation. The initiative also provides insights into how music education is optimised and how music is appreciated as a key cognitive process.

Important links with other academic institutions with prominent neuroscience programs have also been forged. Of note, MNI held a theme-based conjoint workshop with the University of Calgary/Hotchkiss Institute focusing on concussion. The workshop was highly successful and has led to the establishment of key partnerships focusing on paediatric trauma, diagnostic imaging, guidelines for management of concussion and discovery based research.

The Yulgilbar Foundation has generously provided the MNI in excess of $2 million in funding to be devoted to a young clinician’s research network. The MNI is using this funding to sponsor a cohort of young clinical investigators, on the basis that the promotion of clinical translation is a core responsibility of MNI that needs to be nurtured.

MNI also offers a series of interdisciplinary seed funding grants as well as postgraduate fellowships. We are pleased to report that our internal auditing has identified that a significant number of previous recipients of these awards have been successful in obtaining subsequent peer-reviewed funding for their work.

MNI continues to nurture strong and productive interactions with the commercial sector, including the pharmaceutical industry, imaging vendors and key partners of the University of Melbourne, such as IBM. It also nurtures our extant interactions with our international academic partners, for example the Hotchkiss Institute, Calgary and Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris. The MNI also actively promotes ongoing interactions with other University of Melbourne Institutes. We already interact with the Melbourne Social Equity Institute to promote disability oriented research and plan to interact substantively with the Melbourne Networked Society Institute in the area of technological developments for the elderly, in particular to reduce the impact of cognitive decline.

Our public seminar program incorporates these themes and enables interaction with a number of Hallmark Research Initiatives including the Ageing, Disability and Indigenous Research Initiatives.