Stephanie Plummer, PhD Candidate
University of Adelaide, NRF Chair of Neurosurgical research 2017 Student
Plummer's PhD focuses on the investigation of a peptide derived from the amyloid precursor protein (APP), as a novel therapeutic agent against traumatic brain injury.
"It is estimated that between 54 and 60 million people worldwide suffer from a TBI each year. While several candidate therapeutic compounds having been identified in preclinical TBI studies, to date none have translated into successful pharmacological treatments for severe clinical TBI. Our recently published series of studies convincingly demonstrates that a protein found naturally within the brain cells, the amyloid precursor protein (APP), has a protective role against TBI. We, in collaboration with our colleagues at the University of Melbourne who are experts in APP biology, have also identified the specific region in APP that is responsible for this protective activity. Our work has established APP to be a viable and novel therapeutic agent for treating TBI. We now plan to improve the protective activity of APP in order to make it a better therapeutic molecule for the treatment of TBI."
Honours Thesis: Evaluating the role of APP96-110 as a novel therapeutic agent following traumatic brain injury .
2016 – Fresh Science finalist – Australia’s best young scientists.
2014 – Adelaide Research and Innovation (ARI) prize for PhD project with commercial potential.
Why Neurosurgical Research?
I have always had a strong interest in science and medicine, which fuelled my decision to undertake a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree. It wasn’t until 3rd year where my interest in the areas of pathology and neuroscience was sparked. With encouragement from my lecturers, I undertook an honours degree looking at novel treatments for traumatic brain injury. Since then, my curiosity and love for the brain and how it functions has continued to grow. My passion has been continuously reinforced throughout my PhD where I am still focused on finding novel treatments for TBI. I feel privileged that I am able to make new discoveries about the brain and develop strategies and treatments that may hopefully help many people in the years to come. There is something truly fascinating about the brain that makes it such an exciting and interesting area to work in.
Plummer S, Van Den Heuvel C, Thornton E, Corrifan F, Cappai R (2016). The neuroprotective properties of the amyloid precursor protein following traumatic brain injury. Aging and disease 7 (2), 163.