Our research

NCNED is a world-class research facility focusing on the etiology and pathomechanisms of ME/CFS. Our research is focused towards identifying biomarkers of ME/CFS for translation into the clinical environment.

Key focus areas

Epidemiology and Health Economics

In collaboration with the Centre for Applied Health Economics, NCNED has investigated and continues to investigate epidemiological and demographical data of ME/CFS patients in Australia. NCNED is undertaking health economics investigation in collaboration with the Centre and patients from across Australia.


NCNED is the first to identify longitudinal changes in immune cells and their functional changes with ion channels that mediate calcium entry into cells.

Ion Channel Research

  • The NCNED is the first to have developed a whole-cell, patch-clamp technique on isolated NK cells from ME/CFS patients to characterise ion channels function.
  • The NCNED research team has identified a loss of TRPM3 ion channel function to be associated with ME/CFS.
  • Using flow cytometry techniques, the impaired TRPM3 ion channel has been reported to be involved in immune system changes, characteristics of ME/CFS patients. These new world-first findings establish ion channels as prognostic markers and/or potential therapeutic target for ME/CFS.
  • The NCNED research team is currently undertaking pharmaceutical investigations for benefiting ME/CFS patients by restoring ion channels function impacting the immune system.

Neuro Imaging

NCNED is the first to report in CFS:

  • a reduction in white matter in the brainstem and a compensatory increase in white matter in the cortex – the action part of the brain;
  • raised activity in critical brain regions but decreased communication between them resulting in recruitment of more brain regions to perform a cognitive task;
  • correlation between the information potential in brain activity and measures of physical and mental wellbeing.

Our focus now is to investigate differences in brainstem function in CFS, in particular within an important network of small centres in the brainstem called the reticular activation system. This system influences arousal levels of the brain as a whole, the sleep-wake cycle, learning, memory and problem solving.

A discussion with the Co-Directors

Conferences and Research publications

Conferences and Publications organised by NCNED.

Contact us

National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases