Dr Claire Shepherd trained in neuroscience and completed her PhD in Alzheimer’s disease at the University of Sheffield, UK. After completing her PhD she relocated to Sydney to pursue her interest in the role of inflammation in the neurodegenerative process. Soon after her move, Claire was awarded the prestigious Rolf Edgar Lake Fellowship from the University of Sydney and subsequently directed a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant as CIA. In 2000 Claire was awarded the inaugural Franz Nissl Young Investigator Prize in Neuroscience in recognition of achievements in her early post-doctoral years. Since that time, she has attracted over $1.6million in research funds and now manages the Sydney Brain Bank, which is a new research facility that collects, characterises and stores brain tissue for research into neurodegenerative disease. Claire is currently co-CI on an NHMRC project grant and continues to supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students within Professor Halliday’s laboratory.
Claire’s research investigating inflammatory processes in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease and frontotemporal dementia, has identified an association between inflammation and tau (microtubule binding protein), but not Aβ; a protein thought to be a primary stimulus for inflammation in AD. This research has also identified an association between inflammation and neuronal cell loss in these disorders. This work has received international recognition with invitations to speak at the International Congress of Neuroimmunology, International Brain Research Organisation meeting & the Australian Neuroscience Society. More recently, her research has lead to the discovery that increases in monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 drive the inflammatory process in Alzheimer’s disease and may be a target for therapeutic intervention. Claire continues to pursue her research investigating the role of inflammation in the neurodegenerative process, particularly what stimulates it, what drives it and what are the downstream consequences for neurons.
Click here to access Dr Shepherd's research papers: