Dr Kaylene Young

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Neural Stem Cells
Menzies Institute for Medical Research

Dr Young’s research investigates the behaviour and function of brain stem cells, and identifies ways to modulate their activity to achieve brain repair. She uses a variety of techniques to listen in on stem cell activity and, using a new technique called optogenetics, to change stem cell communication and activity using particular wavelength light. The ultimate goal of her work is to harness the regenerative capacity of these cells for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, mental health disorders, and traumatic brain injury.

Recently Dr Young has shown that a novel brain stem cell known as the OPCs continue to divide and generate large numbers of new cells throughout life, primarily making new oligodendrocytes, She is now developing a treatment that will push these OPCs to protect the brain against Multiple Sclerosis.

Each year Kaylene gives a number of public presentations about her research, visiting high schools for National Brain Week, and accepting invitations to speak to community groups including the Lions Club of Tasmania. As the Tasmanian State Representative of the Australian Brain Bee Competition, she hosts the participating students and runs the State Final of the competition.