My interest in science and neuroscience was cultivated in high school, studying biology and chemistry. I completed my undergraduate degree at The University of Queensland majoring in neurobiology, psychology and philosophy. Having only little research experience in my undergraduate degree, I tackled an Honours project with Prof Linda Richards and Dr Michael Piper, working on developmental neuroscience. My project involved characterising the phenotype of a knockout mouse line using various molecular biology techniques, including immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridisation and tissue culture. I then continued my Honours work as a Research Technician in the Richards Lab for 18 months.
In July 2010 I joined the van Swinderen Lab. What drives my PhD project is a fundamental question that has not yet been answered by basic science: how do general anaesthetics work? To address this question, my work involves molecular biology, behavioural assays, genetics and electrophysiology, all working on the great model organism that is Drosophila. Our hypothesis is that the target of general anaesthetics is a synaptic machinery protein. We propose that the disruption of highly coordinated neuronal activity causes the loss of consciousness in general anaesthesia.
Kottler K, Bao H, Zalucki O, Imlach W, Troup M, van Alphen B, Paulk A, Zhang B, van Swinderen B. (2013) A sleep/wake circuit controls isoflurane sensitivity Drosophila. Current Biology: 23, 594-598.
Fothergill F, Donahoo A-L, Douglass A, Zalucki O, Yuan Y, Shu T, Goodhill G, Richards L. (2013) Netrin-DCC signaling regulates corpus callosum formation through attraction of pioneering axons and by modulating Slit2-mediated repulsion. Cerebral Cortex.
Piper M, Plachez C, Zalucki O, Fothergill T, Goudreau G, Erzurumlu R, Gu C, Richards LJ. (2009) Neuropilin1 regulates crossing of cingulate pioneering axons during development of the corpus callosum. Cerebral Cortex: 19, Suppl 1:11-21.