I am a neuroscientist with a broad background in genetics, neuroscience, and molecular cell biology. My research seeks to establish innovative new gene therapies for the group of devastating neurodegenerative disorders termed leukodystrophies - genetic diseases of the central nervous system white matter associated with an early onset, substantial mortality, and a lack of effective treatment options. My research has significantly advanced the understanding of these diseases and successfully utilised refined CNS-targeted gene therapy to rescue disease pathology in mice. I have over 14 years of experience in translational neuroscience including in vivo disease modelling and the development of targeted gene therapies.
Commencing in 2023, my group is supported through two new research grants from the NHMRC and MRFF. This funding will expand the spectrum of neurological diseases investigated by my research program to include dementias, specifically globular glial tauopathies, as well as hereditary spastic paraplegias. Employing the refined pre-clinical modelling and gene therapy platforms, developed through my leukodystrophy research, will help to uncover the pathophysiology underlying these currently incurable conditions and guide the development of tailored treatment strategies.
At UNSW Sydney, I lead the CNS Gene Therapy group, which is part of the Translational Neuroscience Facility in the School of Biomedical Sciences. I contribute to the discipline in my roles as committee member of the UNSW Animal Care and Ethics Committee and as editorial board member of the Rare Disease and Orphan Drugs journal and Frontiers in Neuroscience. I also engage with the non-scientific community through my work for two not-for-profit organisations. I am the Vice President and Scientific Advisor of Leukodystrophy Australia, an organisation that provides information, support, and advocacy to those affected by leukodystrophies. I am also Scientific Advisory Board Member to the Mission Massimo Foundation, aimed at accelerating the discovery of genetic variations responsible for childhood leukodystrophies and to translate these findings into clinical treatments.
I have established a comprehensive research program focused on developing innovative new gene therapy strategies for a neurodegenerative disorders with a focus on leukodystrophies. My research program can be split into two main activities:
My Research Supervision
I currently supervise one PhD student and one Neuroscience Honours student:
I contribute to teaching and student supervision into Science and Medicine courses, including lecturing Current Trends in Biotechnology, facilitating in the phase 1 medicine program, tutoring, and demonstrating.