Neuroplasticity – Brain changes & adaptations

One of our goals is to expand our understanding of neuroplasticity during ageing, and its application to rehabilitation therapies and/or technologies for those affected by ageing and neurological conditions.



The brain operates by nerve cells communicating with each other and forming complex neural circuits through their synaptic connections. Neural plasticity is fundamental to this process, by directing development of the neural circuitry, supporting learning and memory, preserving normal brain function through ageing, and repairing brain injury.

Impaired neuroplasticity is central to many neurological disorders, and promotion or rescue of neuroplasticity has enormous potential to reduce the burden of ageing-related neurological disorder, creating new hope for future treatments of a broad range of disorders, such as PD, HD, AD, stroke and sensory disorders.

The overarching objective of theme 3 is to develop a more complete understanding of neuroplasticity so that it can be manipulated to preserve brain function in healthy ageing, and restore brain function in ageing-related neurological disorders.

In this theme we will address how brain physiology is affected by ageing and ageing-related neurological disorders, and how treatments are best tailored to maintain optimal function throughout life. We will meet the challenge of harnessing and directing neuroplasticity by focusing on three main topic areas: brain injury, such as stroke; brain degeneration, such as AD, PD, HD diseases; and reduced sensory input to the brain, such as impaired vision, hearing and balance.

Our broad goal for each topic area is to understand, manipulate and translate to clinical treatment. Accordingly, research in each of the three areas will be underpinned by studies associated with three general experimental approaches to achieve these goals: understanding mechanisms; optimization of neuroplasticity; and promotion of brain health. 


Leadership Group

  • Assoc Prof John Reynolds
  • Prof Alan Barber
  • Dr Johanna Montgomery
  • Prof Peter Thorne
  • Assoc Prof Holger Regenbrecht

Clinical Leaders and Researchers: Prof Wickliffe Abraham, Assoc Prof Donna Rose Addis, Prof Tim Anderson, Prof Alan Barber, Dr Lubica Beňušková, Dr Ari Bok, Prof Winston Byblow, Dr Andrew Clarkson, Assoc Prof Bronwen Connor, Dr Maurice Curtis, Professor John Dalrymple-Alford, Professor Dirk De Ridder, Prof Mike Dragunow, Prof Richard Faull, Dr Stephanie Hughes, Prof Ian Kirk, Dr Liana Machado, Dr Johanna Montgomery, Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie, Prof Suzanne Purdy, Assoc Prof Holger Regenbrecht, Assoc Prof John Reynolds, Dr Grant Searchfield, Dr Jon Shemmell, Prof Paul Smith, Assoc Prof Barry Snow, Dr Cathy Stinear, Dr Ben Thompson, Prof Peter Thorne, Assoc Prof Deborah Young, Dr Yiwen Zheng.