top of page

Benjamin Lau

Post-Doctoral Research Associate


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Medicine), University of Sydney (2011)

  • Bachelor of Science (Pharmacology, Psychology, Hons I), University of Sydney (2006)

Ben Lau.tiff

Research interests

My research seeks to elucidate the memory processes in the brain involved in forming new goal-directed actions. Using behavioural paradigms in combination with in-vivo cell tagging and imaging techniques, I am examining the neural ensembles activated during the encoding and retrieval of action-outcome associations in the medial prefrontal cortex, a region our group has shown is implicated in the consolidation of this learning. The precise functional and temporal role of these “memory” ensembles will be dissected by manipulating their activity with optogenetic/chemogenetic tools, and the cellular mechanisms underlying their engagement probed using in-vitro electrophysiology.


  • Lau BK, Murphy-Royal C, Kaur M, Qiao M, Gordon GR, Bains JS, Borgland SL (2020) Obesity-induced astrocyte dysfunction impairs heterosynaptic plasticity in the orbitofrontal cortex. BioRxiv. Read More.

  • Lau BK, Winters BD, Mitchell VA, Vaughan CW (2020) Opioid presynaptic disinhibition of the midbrain periaqueductal grey descending analgesic patthway. B J Pharmacol. 177(10):2320-2332. Read More.

  • Konen LM, Wright AL, Royle GA, Morris GP, Lau BK, Seow PW, Zinn R, Milham LT, Vaughan CW, Vissel B (2020) A new mouse line with reduced GluA2 Q/R site RNA editing exhibits loss of dendritic spines, hippocampal CA1-neuron loss, learning and memory impairments and NMDA receptor-independent seizure vulnerability. Molecular Brain. 13(1):27. Read More.

  • Lau BK, Ambrose BP, Thomas CS, Qiao M, Borgland SL (2020) Mu-Opioids suppress GABAergic synaptic transmission onto orbitofrontal cortex pyramidal neurons with subregional selectivity. J Neurosci 31: 5894-5907. Read More.

  • Lau BK, Cota D, Cristino L, Borgland SL (2017) Endocannabinoid modulation of homeostatic and non-homeostatic feeding circuits. Neuropharmacology. 24:38-51. Read More.​

  • Baimel C, Lau BK, Qiao M, Borgland SL (2017) Projection-target-defined effects of Orexin and Dynorphin on VTA Dopamine neurons. Cell Reports. 18:1346-1355. Read More.

  • Aubrey KR, Drew GM, Jeong HJ, Lau BK, Vaughan CW (2016) Endocannabinoids control vesicle release mode at midbrain periaqueductal grey inhibitory synapses. J Physiol. 595:165-178. Read More.

  • Thompson JL, Lau B, Yang J, Liu S, Kerr LE, Liu F, Borgland SL (2015) Age-Dependent D1-D2 receptor coactivation in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex potentiates NMDA receptors and facilitates cognitive flexibility. Cereb Cortex. 26:4524-4539. Read More.

  • Lau BK, Drew GM, Mitchell VA, Vaughan CW (2014) Endocannabinoid modulation by FAAH and MAGL within the analgesic circuitry of the periaqueductal grey. Br J Pharmacol. 171:5225-36. Read More.

  • Lau BK, Vaughan CW (2014) Descending modulation of pain: the GABA disinhibition hypothesis of analgesia. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 29:159-164. Read More

  • Wilson-Poe AR, Lau BK, Vaughan CW (2014) Repeated morphine treatment alters cannabinoid modulation of GABAergic synaptic transmission within the rat periaqueductal grey. Br J Pharmacol. 172:681-90. Read More.

  • Lau BK, Vaughan CW (2014) Targeting the endogenous cannabinoid system to treat neuropathic pain. Front Pharmacol. Read More.​

  • Lau BK, Karim S, Goodchild AK, Vaughan CW, Drew GM (2014) Menthol enhances phasic and tonic GABA-A receptor-mediated currents in midbrain periaqueductal grey neurons. Br J Pharmacol 171:2803-2813. Read More.

  • Drew GM, Lau BK, Vaughan CW (2009) Substance P drives endocannabinoid-mediated disinhibition in a midbrain descending analgesic pathway. J Neurosci 29:7220-7229. Read More.

  • Lau BK, Vaughan CW (2008) Muscarinic modulation of synaptic transmission via endocannabinoid signalling in the rat midbrain periaqueductal gray. Mol Pharmacol 74:1392-1398. Read More.

bottom of page