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Neuroimmunopharmacology Laboratory

The Neuroimmunopharmacology Laboratory investigates how immune-like cells called 'glia' function in a normal, healthy brain. This enables us to understand when they go bad and contribute to health conditions such as chronic pain, drug addiction and epilepsy.

The common expression that we 'only use ten per cent of our brain' is a myth. The reality is that we just haven’t realised or appreciated what the other ninety per cent does.

The human brain is comprised of around ten per cent neurons and ninety per cent glia. Neurons are critical cells located in the brain and spinal cord. They relay fundamental information at astonishing speeds throughout our central nervous system. Glia are the central nervous system’s immune-like cells. Glia encompass cells such as microglia, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. These cells hold the brain together and ensure that the central nervous system is fed, cleaned and repaired.

Have you ever wondered how you know that you are getting sick? The brain and spinal cord’s immune cells help to convey some of this information from the peripheral immune system to the brain. This helps to change your behaviour when you have an infection.

The brain’s immune cells can also change behaviour in negative ways. Immune responses in the brain are implicated in almost every disease affecting the central nervous system, including depression and anxiety, through to epilepsy, stroke and drug addiction.

Our research aims to prevent and cure illness through the discovery of new mechanisms of disease and subsequent development of drugs or treatment methods to regain control of immune cells.

Lead researcher: Professor Mark Hutchinson

Research team

Research support
  • Jacob Thomas - PhD candidate
  • Jonathan Jacobsen - PhD candidate
  • Juliana Bajic - PhD candidate
  • Joshua Holmes - PhD candidate
  • Jaijun Liu - PhD candidate
  • Kelsi Dodds - PhD candidate
  • Krystal Iacopetta - PhD candidate
  • Azim Arman - PhD candidate
  • Stefan Musolino - PhD candidate
  • Sam Lee - PhD candidate
  • Sam Evans - PhD candidate


Interested in undertaking a postgraduate research degree with us?

We offer exciting opportunities for researchers at the honours, masters and PhD levels. Our research degrees are open to students from a broad range of backgrounds, and range from basic sciences to clinical research. If you are interested in human health, consider furthering your research career with us.