Leanne is researching mitochondrial dynamics in iPSC-derived models of Motor Neurone Disease

Leanne graduated from the University of Western Australia in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Neuroscience (Honours). Her honours focused on NEAT1 and paraspeckles in a population of Alzheimer's disease and fronto-temporal dementia.

In 2018, she began her PhD under the inaugural BioZone program, identifying genetic risks of mitochondrial proteins in MND patients, and designing an antisense oligonucleotide therapeutic for a patient with ALS. She is supervised by Prof Jennifer Rodger (UWA), Prof Alan Harvey (UWA), Prof Anthony Akkari (Murdoch University), and Prof Merrilee Needham (WA Health Dept).

In 2021, through a collaboration with Dr Shyuan Ngo, Leanne began a year long research visit at the AIBN to investigate mitochondrial dynamics in iPSC-derived motor neurons. In particular, she is interested in how interactions between mitochondria and toxic protein clumps within neurons might lead to their death, and how this process can be manipulated to save neurons in MND