The Queensland Brain Bank (QBB) was started in the early 1990’s by Dr Anthony Tannenberg, a neuropathologist working at the Mater hospital, and Dr Peter Dodd, who was then the head of the Neuroscience Unit at the Royal Brisbane Hospital’s research foundation. In 1998, the bank moved to the University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus with Dr Dodd where he became a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Principal Research Fellow and Lecturer.
In 2003 various brain banks from around Australia decided that it would be more efficient to pool resources and create the Australian Brain Bank Network. The consortium of brain banks from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia applied to the NHMRC for a grant to enable this consortium to proceed. This application was successful, and is now in its second round of funding. This funding is supplemented by personal grants and institutional funding, depending on the state. In Queensland, Dr Dodd’s personal grants supply half the QBB funding.
The QBB is now located at the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland and is part of the neuroscience laboratory run by Dr Dodd, who is also the Director of the QBB. The coordinator, Dr Naomi Etheridge, looks after the QBB’s day to day requirements. When required, another member of Dr Dodd’s lab, Dr Rudi Tannenberg, assists.
Dr Dodd began his career in scientific research with an undergraduate degree and honours at the University of Sydney. He continued his interest in neuroscience at Imperial College, University of London, where he finished his PhD in 1973. Dr Dodd continued his research in the UK for another 10 years at various institutions including Imperial College, St George’s Hospital Medical School (London), and the Medical Research Council Neuroendocrinology Unit (Newcastle upon Tyne). When he returned to Australia in 1983, Dr Dodd worked at the University of Sydney, the Royal Brisbane Hospital Research Foundation, and then at the University of Queensland. Over his career Dr Dodd has had many students – undergraduate, honours, masters and PhD – and continues to take an active teaching role that he accomplishes alongside his very active research program. Dr Dodd’s primary research focus is analysing neurodegenerative diseases of the brain to identify why and how the cells of the brain are damaged and destroyed.
Dr Etheridge completed her PhD in molecular biology in 2002 at the University of Queensland, after which she worked as a researcher in the United States of America for four years. Upon returning to Australia in 2006 Dr Etheridge began research work in Dr Dodd’s Neuroscience laboratory at the University of Queensland. In 2010, Dr Etheridge took over the duties of the coordinator of the QBB.
Dr Tannenberg studies Alzheimer’s disease and has worked with Dr Dodd for many years. He completed his PhD in Dr Dodd’s Neuroscience laboratory in 2005, and has continued working on the molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease in Dr Dodd’s laboratory since then.