Brain and Mind Centre Symposium 2020

What's next - A vision for brain and mind sciences

International and national thought leaders consider ‘What’s next’ within brain and mind sciences, spanning basic, clinical and translational research.

The 2020 Brain and Mind Centre Symposium will be held virtually over two, half-day sessions, with a commencement speech from NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, and a keynote address' delivered by Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Thomas Sudhof, joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2013, and Professor Michael Breakspear, outstanding researcher in the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle.

Both days will close with panel discussions featuring Brain and Mind Centre key research leaders across our activities and strategic research teams.


Thursday, 3rd December - 9am to 1pm AEST - Click here to access the Zoom Webinar
Friday, 4th December - 1pm to 5pm AEST - Click here to access the Zoom Webinar


Zoom webinar details will be sent to all those who register to attend using the link on the right.


A current program of speakers across both half-day sessions is available to the right.

Poster Competition

Poster submissions eligible for marking and awards have closed, however you may still submit your poster to be published online as supplementary content. Please see the attached poster guidelines for more information on submissions, eligibility and poster specifications.

Please contact the Brain and Mind Centre for any queries in the interim.

Select speaker and panel details

Thomas Christian Südhof obtained his M.D. and doctoral degrees from the University of Göttingen in 1982. He performed his doctoral thesis work at the Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie in Göttingen with Prof. Victor P. Whittaker on the biophysical structure of secretory granules, and his internship in the University of Göttingen Hospitals from 1981 to 1982.

From 1983-1986, Südhof trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Drs. Mike Brown and Joe Goldstein at UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX, and elucidated the structure, expression and cholesterol-dependent regulation of the LDL receptor gene. Subsequently, Südhof served on the faculty of UT Southwestern in Dallas until 2008. At UT Southwestern, Südhof served as the founding chair of the Department of Neuroscience.

In 2008, Südhof moved to Stanford University, where he currently holds the position of Avram Goldstein Professor in the School of Medicine, and serves as a Professor of Molecular & Cellular Physiology, Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Psychiatry. In addition, Südhof has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1986. Südhof’s research interests focus on how synapses transmit and process information in neural circuits. Towards this goal, he is currently studying how synapses are formed to enable the establishment of the specific connections that constructs a neural circuit, how the properties of synapses -for example, their content of neurotransmitter receptors- are specified, and how synapses are modulated by plasticity.

Moreover, Südhof’s research aims to contribute to our understanding of how synapses become dysfunctional and degenerate in neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition to his academic research activities, Südhof has worked with multiple pharmaceutical companies, has co-founded four biotech companies, is a member of the Board of Directors for Sanofi, and serves on the advisory boards of multiple biomedical companies.

Südhof is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the Royal Society of the UK, Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Südhof is the recipient of several awards, including the Alden Spencer Award (1993), the National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology (1997), the Bristol-Myers Award in Neuroscience (2004), the Passano Award (2008), the Kavli Award in Neuroscience (2010), the Lasker-deBakey Medical Basic Research Award (2013), and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2013).

Michael is the group leader of the Systems Neuroscience Group with interests in computational neuroscience and translational neuroimaging. His contributions to the former focus on dynamic models of large-scale brain activity, toolbox development and the detection of nonlinear dynamics in empirical data. Michael's work in translational imaging encompasses healthy ageing, dementia, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, with a focus on connectomics and risk prediction. 

Michael grew up in Sydney and studied medicine, philosophy and mathematics. He undertook early career research training in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney before moving to the School of Psychiatry at UNSW as a mid-career researcher.

Michael has since formed the Systems Neuroscience Group at UNSW in Sydney in 2004, then moved to QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute from 2009. He relocated to Newcastle in 2019 and established the Systems Neuroscience Group, Newcastle with aspirations to integrate basic methods, bioinformatics and clinical translation.

Professor Maree Teesson AC is Director of the Matilda Centre, Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Prevention and Early Intervention in Mental Illness and Substance Use (PREMISE), and an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at the University of Sydney. Maree is a National Mental Health Commissioner, an Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences Fellow, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences and a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council. Maree was announced as a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2018 Honours List, awarded a Westpac/Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence (Innovation) in 2015, and awarded an Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers in 2014.

Maree has made a major contribution to Australia’s health and medical research effort in the field of mental health and substance use. In particular, she is known nationally and internationally for her research on the comorbidity between mental health and substance use disorders.

James is a theoretical neuroscientist working to understand the mechanisms of cognition and attention using functional brain imaging, both in health and disease. James is currently working as a Robinson and SOAR fellow at The University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Centre to understand the factors that drive the network-level reorganization of the human brain.

James completed his post-doc with Russell Poldrack at Stanford University, received his PhD from Sydney University in 2013 (PI: Simon JG Lewis), his MBBS from Sydney University in 2007 and his BSc from the University of Sydney in 2003.

Prof Sharon Naismith moderates a panel discussion on 5 leading and impactful researchers on Research Pathways to Impact.

Panel Members include:

Prof Fernando Calamante

Prof Leanne Togher

Prof Nadia Badawi

A/Prof Sally Gainsbury

A/Prof Michael Bowen

DVC Research Prof Duncan Ivison leads a panel discussion on our core theme for this year's symposium - "What's next - A vision for brain and mind sciences". Prof Ivison will discuss with Brain and Mind Centre team leaders their vision for progressive research directions in neuroscience and mental health across child, youth and ageing domains.

Panel Members include:

Prof Ian Hickie 

Prof Michael Barnett

Prof Sharon Naismith

Prof Adam Guastella

A/Prof Fabienne Brilot-Turville

A/Prof Jo-An Atkinson