Building components of the connectome for the urogenital nervous system

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Number of Master Places Available
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Janet Keast
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Peregrine Osborne

Summary Voiding and reproduction are important human functions that require complex reflexes to be coordinated at behaviourally appropriate times. Our goal is to help develop neuromodulation and other therapies to treat clinical conditions affecting these complex functions. This includes studies to provide high resolution maps of these neural circuits in rodents and human specimens, define how these peripheral, spinal and brain circuits develop; and how they might be manipulated to provide clinical treatments in diverse medical specialties including urology, gastroenterology, sexual medicine, neurology and pain medicine. We are supported by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) SPARC program and have also contributed to the NIH-funded GenitoUrinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project database (GUDMAP).

Project Details

A range of studies are available in this area and are especially suited to students with a strong background in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology or bioengineering. Development of devices to control urogenital function first needs a high-resolution map of neuronal connections with each tissue and region of the urogenital system, its relevant sensory and motor ganglia, the lumbosacral spinal cord and brainstem. Some elements of this map are known but there are many gaps. We are combining tract tracing approaches with combinatorial expression mapping and advanced microscopy (including light sheet microscopy) to precisely map and model connections of distinct nerve types at the macroscopic, mesoscopic and microscopic levels. We are also mapping activity of circuit components using immediate early gene expression patterns after conscious bladder activity, evoked by natural stimulation or activation of a miniaturised device built by our collaborators at the Bionics Institute. 

Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

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