Unlocking the brain’s secrets

Photo of Professor Bryce Vissel with his team at the Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine

Pictured: Professor Bryce Vissel with his team at the Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine.

Backing for innovative research at the Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM) into the brain and mind has major impact.

CNRM director and leading neuroscientist, Professor Bryce Vissel, wants to develop new insights into how the brain encodes memory and controls movement, and discover ways to solve diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s that occur when things in the brain go wrong.

“There are currently no effective treatments for disorders of memory, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia; and nothing that prevents the ultimate decline in Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.” says Professor Vissel. “It’s because we know so little about the nervous system. It’s also, in some cases, because neuroscientists have been constrained by particular ways of thinking.”

“Having that support from the University and our donors is the reason we can do experiments that might be different.” - Professor Bryce Vissel

“However with the backing of generous supporters, we are making an impact on understanding and developing new treatments for these devastating disorders through a new approach at the CNRM. The support allows us to step outside the box and pursue new ways forward that would otherwise not be possible.”

Professor Vissel is building a transdisciplinary team of biologists, as well as engineers, psychologists, mathematicians, and more. Together, they will work outside their respective boxes to develop the knowledge needed to find solutions. This new approach is possible because of UTS’s ethos of bringing multiple approaches together to help solve some of the biggest challenges of humanity.

“We are extremely interested in solving the biology of the brain, and we are also willing and able to bring together technology, health, and science from across the university to bear on the problems we’re facing,” says Professor Vissel. “This ability to bring different disciplines and technology to problems distinguishes UTS from many other research efforts worldwide.”

Professor Vissel reports that philanthropic support for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research at the CNRM has already led to new ideas for therapeutic strategies being explored. This work builds on more than a decade of research directed towards understanding and solving conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

“When a donor has someone affected by a disease, they’re really looking to us to go into our laboratory and make discoveries that will make a difference. That’s something we carry with us all the time,” says Professor Vissel. “We have come to a clear view of a way forward to solve these diseases.”