Associate Professor Marcus Meinzer
Group Head, Meinzer Group
My group is located at UQCCR and broadly interested in the way the nervous system supports cognitive function (e.g. language, memory, attention) and motor function across the life span.
We also investigate how different pathological conditions like stroke or dementia affect brain function. Our research uses state-of-the art behavioural, neuroimaging and brain stimulation techniques.
This information is used to develop novel therapies that are based on basic neuroscience to counteract functional decline in old age and to improve cognitive and motor impairment in patient populations. Here, our lab conducts both (a) proof-of-concept studies that investigate the neural mechanisms underlying potential treatment strategies, and (b) studies that aim to translate our basic research into clinical applications. The latter is accomplished in the context of national and international clinical trials.
This research requires a highly interdisciplinary approach and we collaborate with researchers from different fields (e.g. psychology, speech pathology, medicine, physics, engineering, sports science) in Australia and internationally (e.g., Germany, the United States, Finland). This research is currently funded by a number of organisations, including the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Figure (from Meinzer et al., 2013 J Neurosci) Illustrates results of a study that investigated if non-invasive transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can improve age-associated cognitive impairment and brain function.
Left Panel: Illustrates that healthy older individuals perform at lower levels during a word-finding tasks than younger individuals in their native state (i.e., during placebo stimulation, “sham”). Active (“anodal”) tDCS improved performance of the older group to the level of the younger group.
Right Panel: Illustrates that tDCS also normalises abnormal brain activation that can be found in the older group in their native state– importantly, active tDCS induced a pattern of brain activity that closely resembled that of the young group.