The Bourne group is at the forefront of understanding visual brain development and plasticity, as well as studying pathology states such as stroke.

The laboratory uses the visual system of the non-human primate (marmoset monkey) brain as a research model to address how the complex visual cortex is established. The non-human primate visual brain’s protracted development allows for greater understanding of how different brain areas establish connections and ultimately mature, with implications for diseases such as schizophrenia and autism.

The marmoset serves as an invaluable model in stroke research as the nonhuman primate brain has a high degree of anatomical and physiological similarity with the human brain – a similarity that is not evident in other species. Lessons learned from brain injury in the monkey have given the group greater capacity to translate the results, providing significant hope for stroke victims.


  • The group has three primary focuses that are studied in parallel. These are:
  • to explore the development and maturation of the visual brain in nonhuman primates
  • to determine which brain areas enable residual vision following significant brain injury
  • to understand the cellular and systemic effects that occur following stroke.


The cerebral cortex of an adult is an intricate system of interconnected areas. How these areas emerge and mature seamlessly and establish connections with other parts of the brain is not yet known. Through molecular biology techniques, magnetic resonance imaging and neural tracing, the Bourne group has made many great findings and discoveries in neurobiology.


It is now accepted that early in life, the brain is in its most plastic state and is more amenable to repair following injury. The Bourne group is beginning to uncover what molecules are present in the neonatal brain and which ones are responsible for greater permissibility of functional recovery following brain injury compared to an adult brain that has suffered an identical injury. The laboratory has developed a novel model of stroke that will translate to the clinic and enables the researchers to explore how the brain responds to injury early and late in life. The researchers have used this model in conjunction with molecular biology techniques and live multiphoton imaging to shortlist some candidate molecules that may prove to be beneficial to patients who have had a stroke.

Group Members

Research Themes

  • The development and maturation of the cerebral cortex of primates and other mammals, with a focus towards the visual cortex, which is responsible for visual perception and visual guidance of behaviour
  • Clarifying the functional bases of disturbances of visual perception that emerge as a consequence of perinatal lesions
  • How the mechanism of neuroplasticity could aid in brain injury rehabilitation
  • Using cultures of cells and organ tissues in situ hybridisation and RNA expression profiling.

More Publications

Authors Title Published In

Boghdadi AG, Teo L, Bourne JA.

The involvement of the myelin-associated inhibitors and their receptors in CNS plasticity and injury.

Mol Neurobiol. 2018 Mar;55(3):1831-1846. doi: 10.1007/s12035-017-0433-6. Epub 2017 Feb 22.

Penner J, Osuch EA, Schaefer B, Théberge J, Neufeld RWJ, Menon RS, Rajakumar N, Bourne JA, Williamson PC.

Higher order thalamic nuclei resting network connectivity in early schizophrenia and major depressive disorder.

Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging. 2018 Feb 28;272:7-16. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2017.12.002. Epub 2017 Dec 8.

Mundinano IC, Fox DM, Kwan WC, Vidaurre D, Teo L, Homman-Ludiye J, Goodale MA, Leopold DA, Bourne JA. 

Transient visual pathway critical for normal development of primate grasping behavior.

PNAS 2018. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1717016115. Epub 2018 Jan 3.

Mundinano IC, Chen J, de Souza M, Sarossy MG, Joanisse MF, Goodale MA, Bourne JA.

More than blindsight: Case report of a child with extraordinary visual capacity following perinatal bilateral occipital lobe injury.

Neuropsychologia. 2017 Nov 13. pii: S0028-3932(17)30430-X. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.11.017. Epub 2017 Nov 13.

Homman-Ludiye J, Kwan WC, De Souza MJ, Rodger J, Bourne JA.

Ephrin-A2 regulates excitatory neuron differentiation and interneuron migration in the developing neocortex.

Scientific Reports 2017 September 18;7(1):11813. doi: 10.1038/s41598- 017-12185-x.

Homman-Ludiye J, Bourne JA.

The marmoset: An emerging model to unravel the evolution and development of the primate neocortex.

Dev Neurobiol. 2017 Mar;77(3):263-272. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22425. Epub 2016 Sep 4.

Mundinano IC, Flecknell PA, Bourne JA.

MRI-guided stereotaxic brain surgery in the infant and adult common marmoset.

Nat Protoc. 2016 Jul;11(7):1299-308. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2016.076. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

Bourne JA, Morrone MC.

Plasticity of Visual Pathways and Function in the Developing Brain: Is the Pulvinar a Crucial Player?

Front Syst Neurosci. 2017 Feb 8;11:3. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2017.00003. eCollection 2017.

Huang L, Merson TD, Bourne JA.

In vivo whole brain, cellular and molecular imaging in nonhuman primate models of neuropathology.

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2016 Jul;66:104-18. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.04.009. Epub 2016 May 2.

Price N, Bourne JA, Rosa M.

Animal research: Australians rush to reject primate bill.

Nature. 2016 Mar 3;531(7592):35. doi: 10.1038/531035c.

Bridge H, Leopold DA, Bourne JA.

Adaptive pulvinar circuitry supports visual cognition.

Trends Cogn Sci. 2016 Feb;20(2):146-57. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.10.003. Epub 2015 Nov 6.

Mundinano IC, Kwan WC, Bourne JA.

Mapping the mosaic sequence of primate visual cortical development.

Front Neuroanat. 2015 Oct 20;9:132. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2015.00132. eCollection 2015. Impact Factor: 3.544 Ranking: 3/21.

Jackson J, Canty AJ, Huang L, De Paola V.

Laser-mediated microlesions in mouse neocortex to investigate neuronal degeneration and regeneration.

Curr Protoc Neurosci. 2015 Oct 1;73:2.24.1-17. doi: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0224s73.

Warner CE, Kwan WC, Wright D, Johnston LA, Egan GF, Bourne JA.

Preservation of vision by the pulvinar following early-life primary visual cortex lesions.

Curr Biol. 2015 Feb 16;25(4):424-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.12.028. Epub 2015 Jan 15. Impact Factor: 9.571 Ranking: 15/289.

Hendrickson A, Warner CE, Possin D, Huang J, Kwan WC, Bourne JA.

Retrograde transneuronal degeneration in the retina and lateral geniculate nucleus of the V1 lesioned marmoset monkey.

Brain Struct Funct Jan 2015;220(1):351-360. doi: 10.1007/s00429-013-0659-7. Epub 2013 Oct 31.

Homman-Ludiye J, Bourne JA.

The guidance molecule Semaphorin3A is differentially involved in the arealization of the mouse and primate neocortex.

Cereb Cortex. 2014 Nov;24(11):2884-98. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht141. Epub 2013 May 24.

Merson TD, Bourne JA.

Endogenous neurogenesis following ischaemic brain injury: insights for therapeutic strategies.

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2014 Nov;56:4-19. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2014.08.003. Epub 2014 Aug 14.

Teo L, Bourne JA.

A reproducible and translatable model of focal ischema in the visual cortex of infant and adult marmoset monkeys.

Brain Path 2014 Sept;24(5):459-474. doi: 10.1111/bpa.12129. Epub 2014 Feb 28.

Goldshmit Y, Homman-Ludiye J, Bourne JA.

EphA4 is associated with multiple cell types in the marmoset monkey primary visual cortex throughout the lifespan.

Eur J Neurosci. 2014 May;39(9):1419-28. doi: 10.1111/ejn.12514. Epub 2014 Mar 11.