Simon Brookes was awarded his PhD in 1984 for studies on the nervous system of insects. From this he developed a continuing interest in simple neural circuits. He did post-doctoral research in the Royal London Hospital, then moved to Flinders University in 1988. He has been funded by senior research fellowships from the Gastroenterological Society and NHMRC of Australia. In 2005, he was appointed Professor and Head of Human Physiology at Flinders University. Simon's research focusses on how nerve cells work together to give coordinated control of the organs of the body and how they go wrong in disease. His interests range from the molecular level through to the whole organism. He has worked extensively on 'simple' autonomic and sensory pathways to the gut and has published over 110 papers, chapters and reviews. He is convenor of the Centre for Neuroscience
Simon's research interests focus on how nerve cells give rise to sensation and how they control the organs of the body, especially the gastrointestinal tract, ranging from the molecular level through to the behaviour of the whole organism. He has worked extensively on autonomic control of the gut, especially the enteric nervous system and the extrinsic sensory innervation of the bowel. Since his PhD studies, his interests have focussed on "simple" parts of the nervous system where it is possible to understand at the cellular level, how nerve cells work within circuits to give rise to coordinated behaviour. His group has identified the endings of a major class of neurons that mediate pain from the bowel and is attempting to characterise systematically the types of sensory neurons that mediate sensation from the gastrointestinal tract. Simon has a growing interest in how diseases of the Central Nervous System, such as Parkinson's Disease, affect the simpler, more accessible nerves in the periphery.