Neurotoxin Research Group
Neuroscience and neurological disorders
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease (MND) most often do not run in families. For 90% of patients, the causes are unknown and could result from a combination of environmental or lifestyle factors and susceptibility to those factors.
An example of an environmental factor that has been attracting media attention recently is exposure to chemical toxins release by algal blooms. In the USA, a positive link has been established between living close to lakes with frequent algal blooms and an increased risk of MND. In Australia there are areas with a much higher incidence of MND and these ‘hot spots’ are close to lakes or rivers with frequent algal blooms.
Our research is aimed at understanding how these toxins damage brain cells and devising ways to protect against them. We are also able to analyse levels of toxins in the environment to determine human exposure levels.