Flinders University researchers have received significant grants from Dementia Australia to further their investigations into improving aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and childhood-onset dementia.
Dr Kristie Stefanoska, a research associate in Molecular Neuroscience and Dementia in the College of Medicine and Public Health, was successfully awarded the Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty Post-doctoral Fellowship, valued at $405,000 over 3 years.
Her project, “Master sites of tau phosphorylation as treatment targets for Alzheimer’s disease” is aimed at improving treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and has three primary aims – to define the protective effect of tau Master site ablation in AD mouse models; to elucidate the physiologic function of tau Master phospho-sites; and to introduce immunisation against Master site phosphorylation.
Early career researcher Dr Karissa Barthelson, a recent addition to Flinders University, has received the Race Against Dementia – Dementia Australia Research Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship to investigate the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat both Alzheimer’s disease and Sanfilippo syndrome (childhood dementia).
She will join the research group of Associate Professor Kim Hemsley at Flinders University’s College of Medicine and Public Health, benefitting from the mentorship and supervision of Associate Professor Hemsley who is a world leader with more than two decades in research of the pathobiology of Sanfilippo syndrome.
Dr Barthelson’s project – “Adult- and childhood-onset dementias: Related causes and related solutions?” – will investigate the function of the cellular endo-lysosomal pathway (ELP), which is essential for neural cell survival and plays a critical role in early- and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease genetics, although how its dysfunction leads to dementia remains unclear.
She will examine whether it is possible that ELP-targeted therapeutics developed in Sanfilippo models may show benefit for AD, in the hope that this research will set the scene for new treatment regimens for these dementias.
Funded by Dementia Australia Research Foundation and charity Race Against Dementia, the fellowships will begin this year.