22 January 2004

The University of Queensland’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Hay, has welcomed the Premier’s commitment of $20 million to establish the Queensland Brain Institute.

“Peter Beattie’s Smart State policy has already enabled major research institutes to be developed at UQ, including the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, part of the Queensland Bioscience Precinct that was opened last May,” Professor Hay said.

“These institutes have transformed Queensland’s standing as a national and international centre for biotech research.

“The Premier’s commitment of $20 million for the new Queensland Brain Institute will ensure that construction will commence in the near future on this exciting $60 million project.”

Professor Perry Bartlett, Foundation Chair in Molecular Neuroscience and the inaugural Director of the Queensland Brain Institute, said he was delighted by the Government’s commitment.

“This Institute will be dedicated to understanding how the brain functions,” Professor Bartlett said.

“Once we understand how the brain works at a cellular and molecular level we can use these discoveries to address problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and look at mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.

“This work will provide, for the first time, a real opportunity to develop new therapeutics to treat mental and neurological diseases.

“The Institute will have around 240 scientists when fully established. We are recruiting the best national and international researchers to build on the excellent work already underway at UQ.”

The Institute will develop new molecular, genetic and imaging technologies to drive discovery in the neurosciences. These technologies permit a greater understanding of the regulation and function of the nervous system, and will also increase understanding of more complex areas such as behaviour, cognition, and ageing.

The Queensland Brain Institute, together with the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, now becomes one of the largest concentrations of biological scientists in the world.

“This great step forward could not have happened without the Smart State policies of the Queensland Government.”
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