The Melbourne Neuroscience Institute was one of the original Melbourne Interdisciplinary Research Institutes and operated from 2010-2018. Its mission was to effect ground-breaking research via interdisciplinary partnerships, collaborations and new strategic initiatives with the view of translation of these outputs to improved health and teaching outcomes. Through the creation of interdisciplinary research opportunities and access to world-leading technologies and applications, the MNI contributed to the translation of neuroscience research into clinical outcomes for institutional, hospital and commercial partners. The Institute was led with distinction by Professor Trevor Kilpatrick.
Through stewardship of cross-faculty activities involving collaboration with researchers from areas such as Medicine, Mental Health, Engineering, Optometry and Vision Sciences, Ophthalmology, Law, Economics, Music, and Social Sciences, the Institute enhanced interdisciplinary neuroscience at the University.
The University of Melbourne has an outstanding international profile in many facets of the Neurosciences and has a cohort of eminent researchers in this field of endeavour. The Melbourne Neuroscience Institute supported neuroscience research and related disciplines at the University of Melbourne, acting as a conduit for collaborative research in the neurosciences.
The Melbourne Neuroscience Institute facilitated research that both enhanced the objectives of existing endeavors and optimised new, emergent and strategic opportunities. The following research initiatives were identified and supported by MNI as acknowledged major strengths of University-based neuroscience research and of key affiliates which would benefit from enhanced collaborative interactions.
Stem Cells Australia
Stem Cells Australia brings together Australia’s premier life scientists to tackle the big questions in stem cell science in a seven year Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative. Led by Professor Melissa Little, the initiative links Australia’s leading experts in bioengineering, nanotechnology, stem cell biology, advanced molecular analysis and clinical research.
We aim to explore the fundamental mechanisms involved in stem cell regulation and differentiation, and translate this knowledge into innovative biotechnological and therapeutic applications. Not only will this collaboration support excellence in stem cell research but we will also lead public debate and discussion about the important ethical, legal and societal issues associated with stem cell science.
The unique multidisciplinary approach of this initiative will also foster and train the next generation of Australian stem cell scientists, cementing Australia’s future position in the field.
Stem Cells Australia has been established by the University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. The University of Melbourne is the Administrating Institute.
Music, Mind and Wellbeing
The world-first Music, Mind & Wellbeing initiative (MMW) links neuroscience with music and social wellbeing through a unique set of collaborations spanning music, science, health, education, and industry.
MMW has three core research strands encompassing (i) music neuroscience, (II) music education, and (iii) health and wellbeing. Our music neuroscience program incorporates a range of projects relating to the neurobiological basis of hearing, sound recognition and music, as well as the genetic and environmental determinants of music abilities.
MMW continues to demonstrate that music is a powerful tool for changing the brain across the lifespan, both in response to training and after recovery from brain injury. Building on this, our music education program is investigating the key factors underlying student engagement in music learning and performance across primary, secondary and tertiary education settings, including the development of highly effective interventions for music performance anxiety in secondary school and conservatorium students.
Our health and wellbeing program investigates the use of music to promote the mental health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, and to facilitate recovery following physical or mental illness. These research projects determine the best ways for music to be applied therapeutically with people in hospitals, schools, aged and palliative care facilities, and the community, with important implications for building inclusive communities that embrace diverse and creative participation.
Melbourne Brain Centre Imaging Unit
In 2014, a 7Tesla MRI system (one of only two in Australia) was installed at the Melbourne Brain Centre Imaging Unit in Parkville. The MBCIU is a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. The scanner provides unprecedented image quality in human brain imaging and has the potential to image brain regions in unprecedented clarity. The machine helps researchers analyse and understand dementia, stroke, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress and other neurological disorders.
The Melbourne Neuroscience Institute built and supported a range of innovative research and educational neuroscience programs at the University. MNI's annual reports (2011-17) offer a comprehensive view of its programs and contribution to the University's interdisciplinary research landscape.