Director’s welcome

The Centre for Neural Engineering (CfNE) undertakes interdisciplinary neuroscience research aimed at furthering our understanding of brain related diseases.

Stan Skafidas

Prof Stan Skafidas
Clifford Chair of Neural Engineering and
Director of Centre for Neural Engineering

The CfNE will tackle some of the great challenges of the neurosciences and increase our understanding of neuronal and brain functioning.

We aim to deliver new biotechnologies, create next generation neural prostheses, and build better engineered systems that replicate biological networks and are resilient to faults.

Our research will have application to repairing vision and hearing, as well providing novel treatments for epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, spinal injuries and psychiatric disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Funded by the University of Melbourne, with generous support from the Australian Government through an Education Investment Fund grant, the CfNE is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and offers its researchers, students and collaborators a world-class research environment. The CfNE is an interdisciplinary centre, forming part of the Melbourne Neuroscience Institute.

The CfNE draws together leading neuroscientists, neurologists, psychiatrists, cell biologists, geneticists, electrophysiologists, chemists, physicists and engineers from the University of Melbourne and partner institutions including: Florey Neuroscience Institutes, NICTA, Bionic Vision Australia, Bionics Institute, Melbourne Brain Centre, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Austin Health, St Vincent’s Hospital and other Australian and overseas partner universities and industry.

Divided into several cutting-edge research laboratories, the CfNE will focus its research on:

Bionics: integrating electronic systems in the body to replace or assist function by directly stimulating neurons. This has direct application to vision, hearing, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and spinal injuries.

Computational Biology: Transforming the genetic discovery landscape. We create affordable, robust computing methodologies and tools for the detection of predictive and diagnostic genomic signatures of interlinked DNA mutations from existing and forthcoming genome wide databases.

Integrative Biological Psychiatry: Our goal is to characterise the underlying causes of psychiatric disorders, with a particular focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through incorporation of state of the art genetic, neurobiology and neural engineering techniques.

Computational Neurobiology: bridging the gap from molecular structure to human behaviour. We will use novel approaches for collecting data at different spatial and temporal scales to develop multi-scale models that help us understand brain function in health and diseases.

Sensors & Imaging: understanding the dynamics of neuronal networks to gain insight into the brain’s information processing. By creating novel sensors of neural function, we can detect the electrical and chemical states of neurons and neural ensembles that can be exploited for the creation of novel drug therapies.

Stem Cells & Disease Models: combining our expertise in human stem cell biology, neurobiology, and cell and tissue engineering to model diseases of the human brain. In particular, we are using human neural and pluripotent stem cells to study and find new treatments for illnesses such as schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy and stroke.

The CfNE has a commitment to research higher degree training, and will provide an opportunity for engineering, medicine and science students, with an interest in neuroscience, to undertake cross-disciplinary research training within its four research laboratories. The CfNE will also offer exciting scholarship opportunities to attract the best and brightest students.

We look forward to working with our partners towards answering important and challenging problems in the neurosciences.

Prof Stan Skafidas
Clifford Chair of Neural Engineering and Director of Centre for Neural Engineering