Annabel Sorby-Adams, PhD Candidate image

Annabel Sorby-Adams, PhD Candidate

University of Adelaide, NRF Chair of Neurosurgical Research 2017 Student

Research Area:

Sorby-Adams' PhD studies focus on improving clinical translation in stroke through determining the clinical course of brain swelling and elevated pressure in a novel, pre-clinical model.

"Brain swelling and increased brain pressure are the leading cause of death and disability in the first week following stroke. Despite this, current treatments are limited and fail to address the underlying cause of swelling, highlighting the need for targeted treatments. When developing new treatments, it is first essential to determine the timeline of when brain swelling and elevated pressure evolves following stroke to guide therapeutic administration. We have shown that brain swelling and pressure rises over time and peaks at 5-6 days following stroke. This suggests that new therapeutic agents targeting brain swelling will likely be effective in reducing complications when administered prior to this time point. Our next investigations will examine the effect of a novel treatment, the NK1 tachykinin receptor antagonist, and whether it can prevent the development of brain swelling and life threatening elevations in brain pressure."


Bachelor of Health Sciences, First Class, Australian Postgraduate Award, Peter Couche Foundation Scholarship, Outstanding Academic Achievement in Majors Pathology and Physiology, Deans Certificate of Merit.

Why neurosurgery / neurosurgical research?
My fascination with neurology began following a minor stroke in my late teens while undertaking my bachelor degree. Fortunately, I fully recovered, but the experience significantly influenced my curiosity in neurological diseases and their repercussions. In pursuit of my interests, I completed majors in neuroscience and pathology, which ultimately led me into an honours degree with the translational neuropathology laboratory enabling me to pursue my PhD.

My doctoral studies have provided me with an understanding of the complexity of the human brain, along with an appreciation of the devastating consequences of injury and disease. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be involved in the development of therapies that target post-stroke complications to significantly reduce death and disability and improve the quality of life for those who have suffered a cerebrovascular event.

Following completion of my doctorate, I hope to undergo postgraduate medical training so that I can work actively in the field and determine areas that need to be addressed through pre-clinical research. I hope that one day I will be able to make a difference to the lives of people suffering from crippling neurological diseases.

‘Neuroscience is by far the most exciting (and rewarding) branch of science because the brain is the most fascinating object in the universe. Every human brain is different - the brain makes each human unique and defines who he or she is.’ Stanley B. Prusiner

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