JCU joins Australian effort to crack the brain’s code
James Cook University has put itself at the forefront of brain research and the battle against high rates of mental illness in North Queensland.
JCU has joined the Australian Brain Alliance (ABA), which is an initiative of the Australian Academy of Science. It brings together the nation’s pre-eminent brain research institutions in an effort to coordinate and boost strategic brain research across Australia.
JCU’s Associate Professor Zoltan Sarnyai, said through the membership, JCU will be in a position to help shape the future of brain research in Australia.
“Better understanding the brain will transform our lives. It will lead to the successful treatment of devastating diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease; it will ease the grip of depression and anxiety; will transform education, and will certainly lead to the growth of new industries based on the knowledge learned from neural networks,” he said.
The ABA is currently working on a proposal for the Australian Brain Initiative, a nationwide, multi-year, multi-million dollar effort to deliver better treatment, more effective education and new industries through understanding the brain.
Dr Sarnyai said this fits well with JCU’s strategic focus on the Tropics, where brain diseases are a major source of disease burden.
“To eliminate the high rate of substance use, psychosis and youth suicide that devastate Indigenous communities in North Queensland we need to better understand how the brain interacts with the social and physical environment,” he said.
The recently formed virtual network, the Community of NeuroScientists at JCU (CNS@JCU), convened by A/Prof Zoltan Sarnyai, is ideally placed to foster the multi-disciplinary approach required to “crack the brain’s code” within the future Australian Brain Initiative.
Assoc. Prof Zoltan Sarnyai
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