Associate Professor Guozhen Liu
Associate Professor Guozhen Liu

Developing novel nano-tools to better understand the brain

Understanding how the brain works is one of the greatest challenges of modern science. With its incredibly complex structure, encompassing billions of neuronal and other cells, many of the dynamics of the living brain remain to date, uncertain or entirely unknown to medical science.

What is becoming clear however, is that cell signaling in the brain (the way in which cells process information and communicate with their environment at a molecular level) impacts many functional aspects of the nervous system. Changes in the molecules released as part of the signaling process are now implicated in drug abuse, and in diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and in aging and memory loss.

Dr Guozhen Liu at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) at Macquarie University, is undertaking world-leading research to better understand how these changes in electrical and chemical signaling, influence the processes of both body and mind. To do this, she is creating a suite of novel biomolecular nano-formulations capable of adaptive responses to the rapidly evolving environment inside of the body.

Applicable in vitro and in vivo, they will expose previously unmeasurable cellular events and help to establish their physiological effects. This will lead to revolutionary insights into the complex dynamics in the living brain and transform leading edge neuroscience and analytical chemistry. Key neuroscience discoveries will be enabled, placing Australia at the forefront of international innovation and research excellence.

Associate Professor Guozhen Liu was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship commencing in 2017 and continuing for 4 years.