19 May 2009

A unique China-Australian collaboration in neuroscience has been formed between UQ's Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and The Institute of Biophysics (IBP), Chinese Academy of Sciences.

A delegation of seven leading Chinese neuroscientists this week visited QBI to finalise arrangements for a joint research laboratory in neuroscience and cognition, which will involve more than 100 top neuroscientists working in the vital areas of brain function and cognition.

QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett FAA said more than three years of discussions lay behind the joint facility initiative with IBP.

"In February 2006 the Minister of Science and Technology from the People's Republic of China, Professor Xu Guanhua came to UQ, which initiated a series of high-level talks regarding the importance of fundamental neuroscience to both countries."

"As a result, we have identified areas of mutual research strength that offer tremendous opportunities for collaboration with the Institute of Biophysics in Beijing," Professor Bartlett said.

"We are bringing together complementary expertise in cellular and molecular systems to create a critical mass of scientific expertise never before assembled.

"Key research questions – such as the development of the brain; how the neural circuitry functions and how dysfunction leads to mental disorder – will figure prominently at the joint facility.

"Both QBI and IBP are focused on finding therapeutic solutions to tackle the increasing burden of disease resulting from conditions such as ageing dementia and Alzheimer's disease," he said.

The Institute of Biophysics (IBP), Chinese Academy of Sciences is China’s national centre for basic life sciences and was established in 1958.

The Queensland Brain Institute was established in 2003 with the specific aim of discovering the fundamental mechanisms that control higher brain functions such as learning and memory.

QBI Communications: 3346 6414.

Media note: Professor Perry Bartlett is available for interview.