Race Against Dementia and Dementia Australia Research Foundation Fellow
Flinders University, Australia
During her PhD studies at the University of Adelaide, Dr Karissa Barthelson used zebrafish as a model organism to study the early changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Karissa employed advanced genetic and computational technologies, discovering that alterations in energy production may play a crucial role in the development of this disease. Her remarkable work earned her the prestigious Harold Woolhouse Prize for the best PhD thesis.
In 2022, Karissa became a Race Against Dementia DARF Fellow with a focus on investigating the possibility of Alzheimer’s disease and Sanfilippo syndrome childhood dementia sharing a common pathological basis. Additionally, she is exploring the feasibility of targeting both conditions with similar treatment strategies.
“This Fellowship opportunity allows me to learn from the best minds in academia and industry, leading to new collaborations and accelerating my goal to discover innovative solutions to research dementia.”
Dr Karissa Barthelson
Around 700,000 children worldwide suffer from childhood-onset dementia. In contrast to Alzheimer’s disease, childhood dementias have well-defined genetic bases with reliable animal models available. This allows researchers to investigate shared disease mechanisms with Alzheimer’s disease.
Karissa aims to identify molecular level similarities between the pathologies of Alzheimer’s disease and Sanfilippo syndrome, a prevalent form of childhood dementia. Her ultimate objective is to develop therapeutic treatments to treat both conditions.