Sleep. We can't live or learn without it, but how much do we know about what's happening in our brains while we snooze? In Brain Awareness Week 2024 and on the eve of World Sleep Day, join us for an engaging evening with our scientific panel as we explore questions like:
Why do our brain and body need sleep?
What are the different functions of sleep?
How does sleep impact a child's brain development?
What happens to our brains when we don't get enough sleep?
Can we replicate sleep to improve brain function?
How did human consciousness evolve?
Doors open at 6pm. The lecture commences at 6:30pm and includes an interactive Q&A session, so bring your questions! Light refreshments served between 7:30 and 8pm.
Chair: Emeritus Professor Roland (Roly) Sussex
Roland (Roly) Sussex (OAM, FQA, Chevalier des Palmes Académiques) is an Emeritus Professor of UQ. He has a PhD in Russian and general linguistics from the University of London. He was Professor of Russian at the University of Melbourne (1974-1989), and Professor of Applied Language Studies at UQ from 1989 to 2010.
Expert Speakers
Professor Bruno van Swinderen
Bruno has been running a cognitive neuroscience lab at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute since 2008. His lab uses invertebrate models, such as flies and worms to understand how the brain is able to block or prioritise sensory stimuli, as happens during sleep and attention.He is particualrly interested in how sleep and attention may have co-evolved to optimise adaptive behaviour, and is keen to promote research in simpler animal models to understand complex brain processes.
Professor Karen Thorpe
Karen is an Australian Research Council Laureate Professor and Group Leader in Child Development, Education and Care at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute. Her research is grounded in the understanding that early learning experiences shape brain development and are critical in establishing trajectories of health, social inclusion and learning across the lifespan. A particular focus of her work is early care and education environments including parenting, parent work, quality of care, and education, and the early years workforce.
Professor Simon Smith
Simon leads the vibrant Sleep & Health group at UQ's Institute for Social Science Research. He is a registered psychologist (clinical neuropsychology), but most of his recent work has been in the areas of sleep and wellbeing of children and young people. He is passionate about the role of sleep in health, wellbeing, education, social participation, and work.
Associate Professor Martin Sale
Martin is a neurophysiologist and physiotherapist who is currently Head of Physiotherapy at UQ. His research uses non-invasive brain stimulation to both investigate brain function, but also to modify brain activity. More specifically, he is interested to see whether the beneficial aspects of sleep can be gained artificially using brain stimulation to mimic sleep rhythms. In essence, he is trying to answer the question “Do we need sleep, or can we harness the beneficial aspects of sleep with brain stimulation?"

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