Adam Hines, Research Assistant
B. Medical Science (Hons)
I completed by Bachelor of Medical Science Honours in 2016 at UNSW working with Prof. Jamie Vandenberg at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Darlinghurst, NSW.
My background is predominately in ion channel electrophysiology and pharmacology and am a highly experienced patch clamper. However, since moving to Brisbane to work in the van Swinderen lab at QBI I have developed skills in microscopy and biochemistry in order to understand the molecular mechanism of general anaethesia.
I'm interested in understanding how the vital protein machinery involved in neuronal communication (SNARE complexes) have altered function in the presence of general anaesthetics such as propofol or isoflurane, two commonly used clinical anaesthetics which currently have an unknown complete mechanism of action. Using primary cortical neurons from rats I probe for exocytic processes using fluorescence and super resolution TIRF microscopy as well as biochemistry to identify key protein-protein interactions which may be altered with these anaesthetics.
These images were taken by an inverted fluorescence microscope and are showing the neurons of rats in culture. We put proteins in the neurons to photolabel them with fluorescence so we can see them clearly. The photo on the left shows a neuronal cell body which contains all of its genetic material. The photo on the right shows the communicative structures called axons, which allows adjacent neurons to talk to one another. By doing this, we can visualise the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters which facilitates this communication (see below).
You can see here that at certain time points there series of green dots that light up. This is actual live neurotransmission occurring with a fluorescent protein called GFP. When we introduce a general anaesthetic, what happens is that the amount of fluorescence we see is decreased significantly.