Dr Lezanne Ooi
"I am investigating the use of induced stem cells in disease modelling and new drug discoveries - something that will make a real difference to patients."
Lezanne joined UOW in 2012 as Lecturer in Biological Sciences and research group leader at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI). She completed out her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of York, UK and following a research post in Neuroscience at GlaxoSmithKline, carried out her PhD at the University of Leeds, UK, studying gene regulation in neurodegenerative disease.
She has used advanced imaging, molecular and cellular biology and physiological experiments to understand how brain cells function in health and disease. She was the winner of the American Association of Anatomists postdoctoral prize (USA), the Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Research Centre Young Investigator Prize, Leeds (UK), the Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology postdoctoral prize, Leeds (UK) and the Bioscience Young Entrepreneurs Scheme competition (UK). Her research now uses "reprogrammed" skin cells (that are donated by patients) for disease modelling and drug discovery.
Since 2012 she has been awarded a New Investigator grant from the National Health and Medical Research Ccouncil (NHMRC), a Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia grant-in-aid and a research grant from The Medical Advances Without Animals Trust. Lezanne was on the American Association of Anatomists Advisory Committee for Young Anatomists (2009-2012) and she is currently involved in the International Brain Bee Challenge (neuroscience competition for high school students) and the Scientists in Schools program.
Her talk: 'How skin cells are changing the face of medical research' will highlight her research into using reprogrammed cells to learn more about disease.
Ooi L, Sidhu K, Poljak A, Sutherland G, O'Connor MD, Sachdev P, Münch G (2013) Induced pluripotent stem cells as tools for disease modelling and drug discovery in Alzheimer's disease.