The Centre for Translational Neuroscience (CTN) is part of the Centre for Medical and Molecular Biosciences of SMAH, based at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, a joint initiative of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and University of Wollongong (UOW).
We aim to perform an international standard of medical research and have established a strong medical research network including scientists and collaborators from molecular biology (UOW Centre for Medical and Molecular Bioscience), clinical medicine (UOW Graduate School of Medicine), medical imaging (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation or ANSTO), chemistry (UOW Centre for Medicinal Chemistry), drug delivery (University of Sydney) and material science (Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials).
Our centre has 23 members including eight doctoral scientists. We use state-of-the-art technology to study altered genes, proteins and organs from the diseased state. CTN was established in 1997 and primarily funded by the project grants of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC, 10 NHMRC Project Grants since ), Australia Research Council (ARC) and Schizophrenia Research Institute (SRI).
Over the past five years we have published more than 100 international peer reviewed papers, >60 conference presentations, two books and have had seven PhD, two Masters and 12 Honours completions.
Our basic science/theory driven projects focus on understanding the pathophysiology, prevention and treatment of diseases such as schizophrenia, obesity and type 2 diabetes. We encourage and carry out translational research ranging from benchtop to bedside research and aim to build an international centre of excellence in medical research over the next three years.
Aims & Significance
We aim to build a centre of excellence in medical research at the international level and nationally, as medical research is a priority for Australia.
CTN’s expertise lies in the field of metabolism and mental health. Mental health is an important health issue. Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness and we still do not know the exact mechanisms of the aetiology, neuropathology and genes involved in the development of the disease. We need more research and provide a better treatment for patients. Overweight and obesity has reached epidemic worldwide including in the Australian population. The consequences of obesity are severe and include Type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers, such as bowel cancer. Body metabolism is primarily controlled by our central nervous system. We study how our brain regulates body metabolism.
We plan to promote the standard of our discovery research, increase commercialisation studies, attract major infrastructure funding and build up an expert network for medical research. In order to achieve these goals, we have invested a substantial amount of time and funding to:
- Establish new assays for the detection of diseased genes and proteins
- Build up a molecular neurobiology laboratory
- Establish animal models with specific gene knockouts to mimic diseased conditions.