Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

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Howard Florey Institute

The Howard Florey Institute, previously known as the Howard Florey Institute of Experimental Physiology and Medicine, is an Australian medical and research institute that undertakes clinical and applied research into treatments to combat brain and mind disorders and the cardiovascular system. The institute is based at the University of Melbourne and in 2007 employed 300 staff and students, including many scientists and postgraduate students from overseas.

Areas being researched by scientists include: Parkinson's disease, stroke, motor neuron disease, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, addiction, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, brain development in premature babies, Huntington's disease, depression, schizophrenia, brain function in health and disease, heart failure, and dementia.


The origins of the institute are based on the 1947 ground breaking work of the founder, Dr Derek Denton, and the investigation of the team of scientists, Prof R D Wright,Prof J P Coghlan and Prof Marelyn Wintour-Coghlan into the control of salt and water balance in health and disease. The Institute was formally established in 1971 by the Victorian State Government and named after Howard Florey, the Australian Nobel prize winning scientist who isolated the active principle that is penicillin and developed the first manufacturing process for penicillin. The Institute became a global leader in the scientific areas of: physiological control of body fluid and electrolyte balance, especially the regulation of the adrenal salt-retaining hormone, aldosterone;micro measurement of hormones; hybridization histochemistry; instincts that control ingestion; and the Relaxin hormone.

A neuroscience knowledge explosion occurred during the 1990s. In 1997 the Board made the strategic decision to change the Institute’s focus to brain disorders. Since 1997, eminent neuroscientist, Professor Frederick Mendelsohn AO, has steered the Florey to become one of Australia’s premiere brain research institutes.


On 1 July 2007, the legislation that created the Howard Florey Institute of Experimental Physiology and Medicine was repealed, paving the [1] way for the Florey to amalgamate with the Brain Research Institute and the National Stroke Research Institute to become collectively known as the Florey Neuroscience Institutes (FNI).

As part of the amalgamation process, two new research facilities will be constructed to house the FNI, the Mental Health Research Institute and researchers from the University of Melbourne. This will result in a group of researchers from different disciplines working on the brain.