The Queensland Brain Institute is a world-leading research facility that focusses on discovering the fundamental mechanisms that regulate brain function.

Professor Pankaj Sah
Professor Pankaj Sah is renowned for his work in understanding the physiology of excitatory synapses and synaptic plasticity in the amygdala, an area of the brain involved in emotional processing. His laboratory studies the amygdala using a combination of molecular tools, electrophysiology, anatomical reconstruction and calcium imaging. Recently, his laboratory has examined electrophysiological recordings in patients undergoing electrode implantation for deep brain stimulation, which is used to treat a variety of disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Tourette's syndrome and essential tremor.

He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Nature Partnership Journal npj Science of Learning, an international open-access journal that brings together the findings of neuroscientists, psychologists, and education researchers to understand how the brain learns.


Professor Linda Richards
Deputy Director (Research)
Professor Linda J Richards, FAA AAHMS is a Professor of Neuroscience at QBI. Professor Richards' laboratory focuses on the development of the cerebral cortex and cerebral connectivity, in particular, the development of the corpus callosum. Since 2011 Professor Richards has been a Principal Research Fellow with the National Health and Medical Research Council.  In 2015 she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and she is president-elect of the Australasian Neuroscience Society. She was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2016.

Professor Richards is passionate about the public awareness of science and in 2006 she founded the Australian Brain Bee Challenge, a competition for high school students to learn about the brain. More than 30,000 high school students have participated in the challenge.


John Kelly
Deputy Director (Strategic)
As DDS, John supports the Director on government, industry and senior UQ engagement for the Institute. At a university level, John has been responsible for the establishment of a number of strategic initiatives, including the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the Queensland Brain Institute and the Centre for Advanced Imaging. At a national level, he has been involved in the establishment of the National Imaging Facility, which has built research imaging capabilities in all states, culminating in the recent EIF Round 3 announcement of $40 million dollars as part of a $106 million enhancement of national imaging research capabilities.


Helen Weir
Deputy Director (Operations)
Helen is the Deputy Director (Operations) (DDO) reporting directly to the Institute Director. The DDO is responsible for the strategic management and high-level oversight of the administrative, scientific and technical infrastructure and staff of QBI. Helen leads and manages the functions of finance, human resources, research higher degree, infrastructure, occupational health and safety, and administrative support. The position ensures effective working relations with UQ’s central administration, other Institutes and Faculties and key external stakeholders.


Mikaeli Costello
Director, Advancement and Communications
Mikaeli has over 15 years’ experience in the communications and not-for-profit sector both nationally and internationally. At QBI, she works closely with business and the community to bring much-needed awareness and funds for brain research. In her role as Director of Advancement and Communications at QBI she oversees all marketing and engagement activity and has helped to raise over $12 million for health and medical research projects.

The inaugural Director of QBI was Professor Perry Bartlett (2003–2015), who holds the Foundation Chair in Molecular Neuroscience at The University of Queensland.

Leadership section

QBI Advisory Board
The Advisory Board provides strategic leadership advice to our Executive Management Team.
QBI Development Board
Community leaders get behind QBI's neuroscience. The Development Board provides support and leadership to help the Institute attract philanthropic gifts and raise awareness of the vital research at QBI.