Research themes

BRIMS is one of Malaysia's leading research institutes in neuroscience research with highly advanced research facilities and equipment. We focus on the following five research areas:

Addiction

Drug abuse is a major health problem that impacts our society at multiple levels. Addiction is now considered to be psychologically dependent and emotional states are well known to trigger relapse. The negative emotional state of drug withdrawal and the emotional memories of protracted abstinence are hypothesized to exacerbate relapse and the addiction process. The Addiction Group aims to understand addiction by studying neuronal circuits linking negative emotion and addiction.

​Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. Genetic and environmental risk factors for ASD are suggested but its etiology is unknown. The Autism Group has identified several genes that may be genetic risk factors for ASD. We are now studying the interactions of genetic and environmental risk factors by various experiments using animal models.

Reproductive Neuroendocrinology

Professor Parhar and members in BRIMS have been studying how the brain regulates reproduction for many years. We have found novel mechanism of how neuropeptides such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) and kisspeptin regulate reproduction and reproductive behavior. The Reproductive Neuroendocrinology Group is especially interested in how neuropeptides integrate environmental information to regulate reproduction and related behavior.

Depression and Anxiety

The number of patients with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety keep increasing, which is a serious issue that impacts our social life. The Depression and Anxiety Group aims to understand the causes of depression and anxiety by using biochemical, physiological, pharmacological, genetic methods in addition to behavioural analyses considering genetic and social risk factors for these mental disorders.

Neurodegeneration (in Parkinson and Alzheimer ageing disease)

Age-related human neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases are major social and medical problems. Although the molecular mechanism of neurodegeneration remains unknown, oxidative stress may contribute to neural cell death. The Neurodegeneration Group utilizes genomics approaches such as genetic approach (transgenic and knock-out), single-cell gene expression analysis, DNA microarray, RNAi, and microRNA.

Glioma

Glioma is a tumor that stems from glial cells of the brain or the spine. Glioma is a major central nervous system tumor that is often malignant. The causes of gliomas are not known. The Glioma Group uses human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), which are capable of self-renewal and have the potential to differentiate into virtually any cell type, to understand the mechanism of glioma to overcome the limitations of animal models for human brain diseases.