Neuroart image created by a scientist at QBI. The image shows cortical neurons derived from a three-month-old rat (nucleus stained in blue; axons and dendrites stained in green). The image shows extensive projections of the axons reaching target cells aiding in processing and transmission of cellular signals.

Join us to hear from Queensland Brain Institute researchers, Dr Steven Zuryn and Professor Massimo Hilliard, on how fundamental neuroscience could lead to the next medical breakthrough.

Despite their initial complexity, many major breakthroughs in medicine that have paved the way for the development of novel treatments and cures for diseases have come from fundamental science. For neuroscientists, examining the interactions and underlying molecular mechanisms of the brain’s basic cellular elements is crucial to understanding how the brain works.

This presentation will discuss how focusing on major unsolved questions in neurobiology is necessary to understand how the brain functions and how it can be repaired when something goes wrong. Focusing on the basics may lead to the next big scientific discoveries – all with the potential to have an enormous impact on solving major health issues, including dementia, depression, anxiety, and stroke.


Meet the speakers

Dr Steven Zuryn

Steven Zuryn obtained his PhD at the University of Queensland, studying mitochondrial physiology. He then pursued postdoctoral research at the Institut Génétique Biologie Moléculaire Cellulaire (IGBMC) in Strasbourg, France, where he worked on epigenetic mechanisms that ensure the robustness of changes in cell identity. In late 2015, Steven opened his own laboratory at the Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland. His lab combines its expertise in mitochondrial biology and epigenetics to uncover fundamental genetic principles of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA). Throughout his research career, Steven has capitalised on the powerful genetic model system of C. elegans to address complex biological questions. His group now uses this elegant organism to probe deep underlying principles of mtDNA quality control, mosaicism, and inheritance.

Professor Massimo Hilliard

Professor Massimo Hilliard received his PhD in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Biology in 2001 from the University of Naples, Italy. Following his postdoctoral training in 2007, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute. Here he established his independent laboratory that focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate neuronal development, maintenance, and repair.

His laboratory has made a number of key discoveries, which have been published in top tier journals, including Nature and Science. Professor Hilliard discusses recent research developments in axonal repair and how these can contribute to medical advancements, specifically in the context of spinal cord injuries.

If you have any questions about this event, or the 3T Event program, please contact the Alumni Relations and Engagement team at or 07 3346 3166.

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