Research Field: Analytical Chemistry
Metal ions are essential for life. In particular, metal ions are important for a health brain and memory function, but too much or too little can be harmful. Understanding exactly how metal ions influence brain function is very difficult though, as scientists haven’t been able to “see” exactly where the metal ions were found in the brain.
Dr Mark Hackett has been developing new methods that use an incredibly powerful X-ray microscope (the ANSTO-Australian Synchrotron), to enable scientists to “see” where metal ions are found inside brain cells and tissues. These methods are currently being used by Dr Hackett and his interdisciplinary research team, to help understand how metal ions might enable memory formation. Such discoveries may then shed light on how imbalances of brain metals may drive memory loss in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Mark is actively involved in outreach to high schools through the RACI Bayliss Youth Lecturer series as well as the 2021 Hammond Park Science Outreach to primary and secondary school students shorthand title “make your own spectrometer”. Other outreach activities include public lectures through RACI and the Curtin University High School Outreach “meet the inventor program
Dr Hackett was awarded his PhD 2011 from The University of Sydney and is currently Senior Lecturer, ARC Future Fellow, Curtin University