Damien investigates how the cells in our body, in particular the cells in our brain, communicate with each other through the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters and hormones. The release of these chemicals controls all bodily functions including memory, appetite, emotions and movement. His research investigates the role of genes controlling the release of neurotransmitters and hormones and what role they might play in different human disorders. Using this approach, novel discoveries have been made in the control of cell communication for genes related to Diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, Down Syndrome and Huntington’s Disease. Understanding the process of cell communication is very important as it affects a large proportion of the community. Diabetes, for example, currently costs more than $10 billion annually to support and affects more than two million Australians with this number expected to double in the next 20 years.