Dr Carlie Cullen

University of Tasmania
Research Field: Neuroscience

In the brain, neurons connect via axons and communicate via the transfer of electrical impulses (action potentials). The wrapping of axons in insulating myelin, ensures that these impulses travel rapidly and reliably but we do not fully understand how myelin affects the timing of action potential arrival and myelin is lost early in the disease course of neurodegenerative conditions (e.g. Alzheimer’s and MS).

Carlie has discovered that myelin can subtly change shape to modulate action potential conduction speed, leading to better learning outcomes. She has also discovered that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), can increase the addition of new myelin to the brain leading to a collaborative clinical trial exploring the use of TMS as a brain repair therapy for people with MS. 

Dr Cullen engages with the community through the UTAS Consumer and Community Reference Committee and has given public talks to the wider MS community nationally. She is also the state coordinator for the Australian Brain Bee Challenge.

Dr Cullen received her PhD from The University of Queensland in 2014 and is currently a Senior Research Fellow and head of the Glia in cognition laboratory at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania.