Neuropharmacology, addiction and pain


This theme explores the effects of drugs on the nervous system and the neural mechanisms through which they influence behaviour.

Drugs play a key role in health and disease. This theme explores the role of drugs that effect the nervous system.  More specifically, we study the effects of drugs on the prevention and management of mental health, as well as the effects of drugs on behaviour. Our research involves studying animal models of addiction to try and understand the neurochemical basis of drug-seeking behaviour and relapse, a major universal health issue.

Our research interests also encompass understanding the role of genetics and environment on the development of other neurological disorders including dementia, schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. Another interest of this theme is to understand the subjective experience of pain during childbirth and the cognitive-evaluative and social determinants of the pain experience.

Research groups

Gene-environment interactions

Group leaders: Dr. Mark Jois and Dr. Jency Thomas
We are interested in understanding the role gene-environment interactions in the development of diseases relevant to public health.

Labour pain

Group leader: Dr. Laura Whitburn
Evaluating the experiences of labour pain in women birthing in Australia,and comparing findings to modern pain science.

Neuropharmacology of addiction

Group leader: Dr. Elvan Djouma
We are interested in the underlying mechanisms in the brain involved in drug-seeking behaviour and relapse to drugs of abuse.

Neurophysiology Group

Group leader: Dr. Joon (Kyungjoon) Lim
Our research centres on cardiovascular neuroscience and fills a niche between the clinic and basic research.