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A new age in brain research

Melbourne will become a magnet for the world's best and brightest brain researchers after the official opening of the Melbourne Brain Centre at The University of Melbourne Parkville by the Premier Ted Baillieu and Federal MP Michael Danby on Monday.

The $225M Melbourne Brain Centre is the largest neuroscience research centre in the Southern Hemisphere.

Across its three sites, it hosts 700 staff from around the globe who are working towards a better understanding of brain disorders.

The Melbourne Brain Centre will use a collaborative approach to improve understanding of disorders and conditions affecting the brain.

It is home to the Florey Neuroscience Institutes, the Mental Health Research Institute, and the University of Melbourne's neuroscientists. It also partners with Royal Melbourne Hospital and Austin Health to take neurosciences to the bedside.

Researchers working at the centre will investigate a broad range of conditions affecting the brain, including Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, trauma, depression and anxiety, epilepsy and Motor Neuron disease.

The Parkville facility, opened by Premier Ted Baillieu and Federal Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby, is the final centrepiece in a project that received major funding from the State and Federal governments.

Speaking after the ceremony, Mr Baillieu said the centre will strengthen Melbourne's and Victoria's reputations as first-rate career destinations for medical researchers.

"The Victorian Government invested $53 million in this project to reinforce Victoria's ability to attract and retain some of the best scientific minds in the world," Mr Baillieu said.

The Centre is playing a key role in attracting leading scientists to come to Australia or retaining talented Australian researchers who might have otherwise moved or stayed overseas.

Dr Ben Emery is an Australian neuroscience researcher who returned from Stanford University California to continue his research at the Melbourne Brain Centre.

Dr Emery's research focuses on the role of myelin in the brain and its role in Multiple Sclerosis.

"Being able to return to Australia and continue this important work in this fantastic Centre will assist me and my team to investigate myelin as a new treatment target to reverse the nerve damage done in MS."

Dr Rachel Hill is investigating the differences in males and females suffering Schizophrenia. She spent some time in the USA but returned to Australia to continue her research.

"The Melbourne Brain Centre offers fantastic opportunities for collaboration between researchers," she said.

"Just prior to working in the Centre, if I wanted to meet with a colleague from another laboratory it would involve quite a bit of coordination and travelling to another site. Now they might be working at the next bench in the same laboratory. Having such great access to so many talented researchers made it an easy choice to continue my research career in Melbourne," she said.

The Melbourne Brain Centre was co-funded by the Victorian Government ($53M), the Federal Government's Department ($76.8M), three project partners and philanthropy.


Contact: Rebecca Scott
University of Melbourne

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