Place of work / study:
Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland
Area of Research:
Cognition in Dementia.
How is your work funded?
Australian Research Council.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a final year PhD student at the Queensland Brain Institute in Brisbane, Australia. My research is in cognitive test development for neurodegenerative diseases. I aim to align functional neural changes with the patient cognitive profile. I have developed a series of tests to measure visuoperceptual impairments in patients with Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body pathology – in fact, my tests have already identified subtle impairments in early disease stages that current clinical tests have missed! An early diagnosis is crucial for dementia patients – both in terms of their disease management and access to relevant support. Clinically, early diagnosis means we understand more about these diseases, can track change over time, and measure the real impact of clinical trials.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
I actually played college level basketball in the USA for a few years before moving back to Australia.
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
I think our memories are an important component of what makes us who we are – dementia is a disease that can unfairly take that away. Dementia is such a multi-faceted disease and if we can bring people together from a range of different fields to better understand, treat, and hopefully someday cure, the world will be a better place. I would love to be able to contribute and to connect patients back to their memories, and to what makes them who they are.
What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?
Say yes to every opportunity – you have no idea where the next idea, collaboration, or connection will come. Researchers are always happy to help so always say yes!
What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
I am currently finishing “Everyone in my family has killed someone” by Benjamin Stevenson. It is a hilarious murder-mystery book written by a comedian and set in Australia. It is a fun, entertaining read compared to the stack of journal articles that I still need to read!