Digitally created image of brain in skull

ForeFront

RESEARCH CENTRE

About us

ForeFront provides a unique combination of clinical and laboratory-based research which together aim to unravel the mechanisms behind frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and motor neurone disease (MND) and help to develop effective treatments.

ForeFront comprises two government funded research groups across four themes:

FTD and MND NHMRC Program grant

  1. Neuropathology
  2. Animal modelling and cellular/molecular biology
  3. Neurological research clinics

Memory node of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders

  1. Cognition and neuroimaging

Who’s involved?

Neuropathology

What regions and cell types are vulnerable? What proteins are affected?

Prof Glenda Halliday and Professor Jillian Kril

Animal modelling and cellular/molecular biology

What proteins are toxic and how do they cause pathogenesis? What cells are vulnerability and how can we prevent this?
Professor Jürgen Götz and Assoc. Professor Lars Ittner

Clinical

How does the disease spread through the brain? How can we develop identification tools and test symptomatic treatments?

Prof John Hodges and Prof Matthew Kiernan

Cognition and neuroimaging

What brain functions are impaired? What brain areas are impaired and which functions do they subserve?

Assoc Professor Olivier Piguet and Dr Michael Hornberger

For more information on the clinical aspects of these disease click here

For more information on the laboratory-based research on these diseases click here

 

See what’s going on at NeuRA

FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

During three decades on Australian television, two simple words brought us to attention.

‘Hello daaaahling’. Outrageous, flamboyant, iconic – Jeanne Little captivated Australians everywhere with her unique style, cockatoo shrill voice and fashion sense. "Mum wasn't just the life of the party, she was the party.” Katie Little, Jeanne’s daughter remembers. This icon of Australian television brought a smile into Australian homes. Tragically, today Jeanne can't walk, talk or feed herself. She doesn't recognise anyone, with a random sound or laugh the only glimpse of who she truly is. Jeanne Little has Alzheimer's disease. The 1,000 Brains Study NeuRA is very excited to announce the 1,000 Brains Study, a ground-breaking research project to identify the elements in our brains that cause life-changing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other dementias. This study will focus on the key unresolved question: why do some of us develop devastating neurodegenerative diseases, while others retain good brain health? The study will compare the genomes of people who have reached old age with healthy brains against the genomes of those who have died from neurodegenerative diseases, with post mortem examination of brain tissue taking place at NeuRA’s Sydney Brain Bank. More information on the study can be found here. Will you please support dementia research and the 1,000 Brains Study and help drive the future of genetics research in Australia? https://youtu.be/q7fTZIisgAY
APPEAL

Cortical activity during balance tasks in ageing and clinical groups using functional near-infrared spectroscopy

Prof Stephen Lord, Dr Jasmine Menant Walking is not automatic and requires attention and brain processing to maintain balance and prevent falling over. Brain structure and function deteriorate with ageing and neurodegenerative disorders, in turn impacting both cognitive and motor functions.   This series of studies will investigate: How do age and/or disease- associated declines in cognitive functions affect balance control? How is this further impacted by psychological, physiological and medical factors (eg. fear, pain, medications)? How does the brain control these balance tasks?     Approach The experiments involve experimental paradigms that challenge cognitive functions of interest (eg.visuo-spatial working memory, inhibitory function). I use functional near-infrared spectroscopy to study activation in superficial cortical regions of interest (eg. prefrontal cortex, supplementary motor area…). The studies involve young and older people as well as clinical groups (eg.Parkinson’s disease).   Studies Cortical activity during stepping and gait adaptability tasks Effects of age, posture and task condition on cortical activity during reaction time tasks Influence of balance challenge and concern about falling on brain activity during walking Influence of lower limb pain/discomfort on brain activity during stepping   This research will greatly improve our understanding of the interactions between brain capacity, functions and balance control across ageing and diseases, psychological, physiological and medical factors, allows to identify targets for rehabilitation. It will also help identifying whether exercise-based interventions improve neural efficiency for enhanced balance control.
PROJECT