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Brain Plasticity

Our brain reorganises itself, forming new neural connections throughout our lifetime, this is known as brain plasticity or neural plasticity.

Perron Institute’s Brain Plasticity Research team, led by MSWA Senior Research Fellow in Brain Plasticity, Associate Professor Jennifer Rodger, works to understand the mechanisms of brain plasticity and apply this understanding to improve brain function in patients with neurotrauma, neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions as well as in healthy individuals.

Neurotrauma and neurological disease account for over a quarter of all chronic disability in Australia.

Research Focus

The Brain Plasticity group’s research led by Associate Professor Jennifer Rodger is developing interventions that promote healthy brain development and function throughout life, as well as repairing damaged brains after injury. A key goal of the lab is to provide insight into the causes and potential treatment of mental illness, a National Research Priority.

Exploring the physiological, cellular and molecular basis of brain plasticity, the Brain Plasticity lab’s research investigates the causes and potential treatments for neurological conditions, including depression, neurotrauma, multiple sclerosis and neurodegeneration.

The team do this by engaging in fundamental research into the development of brain circuitry and addressing the requirements for healthy maintenance and repair.

Treatments being investigated include therapeutic strategies to improve brain plasticity in patients, such as non-invasive brain stimulation techniques like repetitive transcranial stimulation (rTMS). Approaches include computational models of electromagnetic induction, preclinical approaches using optogenetics and live imaging techniques, as well as studies in healthy participants.

Outcomes of our research include clinical trials in patient populations and the development of innovative brain stimulation devices.

Awards

  • 2021 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards (Dr Alex Tang)
  • 2021 Early Career Scientist of the Year Finalist, Premiers Science Awards (Dr Alex Tang)
  • 2021 Western Australian Young Leader of the Year Finalist (Dr Alex Tang)
  • 2018, 2019, 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award, UWA (A/Prof Jennifer Rodger)
  • 2020 Western Australian Department of Health New Investigator Award for Biomedical Research (Dr Alex Tang)
  • 2020 Western Australian Young Leader of the Year Semi-Finalist (Dr Alex Tang)
  • 2019 Western Australian Department of Health Merit Award (Dr Alex Tang)

Grants

  • Tang. Raine Medical Research Foundation Priming Grant for "Harnessing neuroplasticity in the young and old brain with brain stimulation" (2020-2022)
  • Business Events Perth Aspire Awards for Dr Alex Tang (2020)
  • Tang, Rodger, Fujiyama, Reynolds, Beros, King. Neurotrauma Research Program for "Targeting the axon initial segment for the treatment of stroke" (2021)
  • Raine Medical Research Foundation Healy Collaboration Award (2021)
  • Perpetual Philanthropy (Helen Leech Endowment) (2021)
  • MSWA Project Funding (2021)

Your donation will help us find answers for people with neurological disorders and give them hope.

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